Notwithstanding the negative response of Maoists to its peace offers, Government is optimistic that the Left wing extremists would agree to talks once they “feel the heat” of the ongoing security operations.
“Once they (Naxals) feel the heat and pressure, they will talk,” Union Home Secretary G. K. Pillai said on Tuesday.
In an interview to a private news channel, he also said the governments of Naxal—affected states were cooperating with the Centre with regard to the ways and means to tackle the extremist menace.
The five states most affected by the menace — Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa and West Bengal — are ruled by non—Congress governments.
West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, whose state has been witnessing Maoist violence despite the ongoing joint security operations, has been advocating similar operations in Jharkhand on the grounds that the extremists, after committing a crime were taking shelter in the jungles of the neighbouring state.
While the central forces and those in some states are carrying out offensive against the extremists, the government has repeatedly asked the Maoists over the last few months to abjure violence and come forward for talks.
When Home Minister P. Chidambaram recently wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh offering to resign following the killing of 76 security personnel by Naxals in Dantewada, the opposition parties had opposed his move saying they wanted him to continue dealing with the Maoists.
Mr. Chidambaram had in February announced publicly a fax number of his Ministry saying the extremists could send their proposal by issuing a statement on abjuring violence.
This move by Mr. Chidambaram was in response to a truce offer by Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji.
Thee government has not received any written offer yet, but the Home Minister again renewed his offer while addressing students in Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University last week.
But Naxal experts say that the initial offer of the Maoists for a 72—day truce was “just to buy time” as it was during the period when tribals had to enter forests to cut fruits, ‘mahua’ and tobacco leaves, forcing the extremists to abandon their camps.
The Maoists want the ban on their outfit lifted, a ceasefire from security forces and the release of their cadres from jails among other things to start any talks.
However, the government has made it clear that there should not be any pre—conditions attached to starting talks other than abjuring violence.
The extremists, despite the peace offers, have only increased their level of violence. A month after the Dantewada massacre, the Naxals on Saturday set off an IED blast in Bijapur district killing eight CRPF personnel.