Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday appealed to the CPI (Maoist) to halt the violence so that the Centre could facilitate talks between the Maoists and the State governments on issues relating to land and forests and employment.

The Home Minister sought to make a distinction between halting the violence and laying down of arms by the Maoists which could happen in future.

While referring to the belief of the CPI (Maoist) in armed liberation struggle, he stressed that the offer was simple: halt the violence and come for talks.

“The violence must end. The Central and the State governments have a duty to end the violence. It is with that objective that we have made a simple and straight forward appeal to the CPI (Maoist): “Halt the violence.”

These are three simple words, and I do not see why they should be subjected to tortuous interpretation and analysis,” he told journalists.

Mr. Chidambaram said once the Maoists ended the violence, the Centre would persuade the State governments to talk to them on all matters, including their concerns on land acquisition, forest rights, industrialisation and development.

‘Disappointing’

“I regret to say that the response so far has been disappointing,” he said, adding that talks could not be held in an atmosphere of rampant violence.

He said if the Maoists were “serious champions of the poor,” they should come forward for talks.

He said that Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Andhra Pradesh had attempted to hold talks with the Maoists but the moves were “futile.”

Asked when the Centre would launch anti-naxalite operations, he said the Cabinet Committee on Security had decided to provide all help and assistance to the States affected by the naxalite violence.

“Quiet diplomacy”

On Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Chidambaram said the government intended to follow up on the promise of “quiet talks, quiet diplomacy” with all shades of political opinion.

He said the talks would be “quiet as opposed to a photo opportunity.”

As the move was in the early stages, the contours would be slowly discovered, common features would be worked out and then put down on paper. “All this will happen behind the scenes,” he added.

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