The Congress on Friday took a grim view of the conditions put forth by Maoists for accepting the government’s invitation for a dialogue to address their issues . In a recent statement, the Left extremists offered a ceasefire if the Centre gave up its precondition that they shun violence.

Reacting to the Maoists’ response, Congress spokesman Manish Tiwari described it as “very disappointing” and unacceptable to any democratically elected government.

Last Friday, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram had appealed to the Maoists to stop violence so that the Centre could facilitate talks between them and the State governments on issues of land, forests and employment. He had also drawn a distinction between halting violence and laying down arms which could happen in the future.

According to Mr. Tiwari, the kind of conditions the Maoists have put forth, will not facilitate constructive talks as no outlawed organisation could hope to enter into any kind of dialogue with the government without giving up violence. Pointing out that the Centre had not unleashed the full force of the State against them till date, Mr. Tiwari urged the Maoists to accept the government’s offer and begin discussions unconditionally.

A day after Mr. Chidambaram made the appeal, Congress leader Digvijay Singh had written to Dantewada-based Himanshu Kumar of the Vanwasi Chetna Ashram; urging him and other NGOs and civil society activists to convince the naxalite leadership to shun violence and accept the government’s offer for talks.

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