Provided West Bengal promises suspension of anti-Maoist operations

The interlocutors appointed by the West Bengal government to bring Maoists to the negotiating table claimed on Tuesday that the left-wing extremists were willing to refrain from the use of arms for a month on the condition that the State government too suspended all forms of anti-Maoist operations in the Jangalmahal region for the same period.

In a joint statement, which was signed by secretary of the Communist Party of India (Maoist)'s State Committee Asim Ghosh alias Akash and two key State-appointed interlocutors — rights activists Sujato Bhadra and Chhoton Das — the Maoists demanded the restoration of peace in the Jangalmahal region and said that for an atmosphere conducive to dialogue, both parties must keep their promises.

The statement was reportedly prepared and signed subsequent to a meeting held on September 30 at an undisclosed location within the State.

“If the State government can assure suspension of security operations for one month and keeps to the promise in totality, we, too, promise to desist from the use of arms for a month and obey it in its entirety,” it said.

The agreement comes in the wake of the tough stand taken by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee against the Maoists and their “politics of violence” after rebels had killed three persons in the space of a month.

Ms. Banerjee had asked the Maoists to choose between talks and killings, saying the “two cannot go together”.

Apart from the suspension of anti-Maoist operations, the Maoists have also demanded that the government take immediate action against the various armed groups allegedly functioning in the region.

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