Top Maoist leader Kishenji on Wednesday turned down Union Home Minister P. Chidamabaram’s conditional offer of talks saying that the government should “first stop violence”.

“The government has initiated violence and should stop the violence first and then we will respond to its call,” Kishenji told PTI over phone from an undisclosed location.

Mr. Chidambaram had on Tuesday made a fresh offer to hold talks with the Maoists if they suspend violence even for just 72 hours.

“We want to tell the government and the people that we also don’t have faith in violence, but if the government is arrogant and kills not only us, but the common people mercilessly then we have no other alternative, but to resort to arms,” he claimed.

“Why is Chidambaram resorting to violence and killing people when Congress president Sonia Gandhi is in favour of the development model in tribal areas?” he questioned.

He said the Maoists had given the names of Arundhuti Roy, Kabir Suman and Dr B.D. Sharma to mediate in talks, but the government had turned down the offer which is also on the basis of the recommendations of the Debabrata Bandopadhyay Committee appointed by the Planning Commission.

He claimed responsibility for killing of CRPF personnel at Ramgarh near Lalgarh on Wednesday and at Dantewada in Chhattisgarh on Monday.

“This was the last day of our bandh and we congratulate the people for making it successful,” he said.

On the Dantewada killings he said “We are very sorry for death of the innocent people, but we request people not to travel with the police in the same vehicle. Our fight is not with the people, but with the government”.

Calling for observance of a ‘Black Week’ from May 26 to June 2, he accused the government of selling the country to multi-nationals and companies in the name of globalisation.

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