Faced with an impending security force operation, a top leader of the Maoists on Thursday said they were ready for talks with the Centre provided some of their conditions were met, including withdrawal of paramilitary forces deployed in Naxal-hit States.
Detailing the conditions, top Maoist leader Koteswar Rao alias Kishanji told PTI over phone that the Centre would have to first withdraw paramilitary forces deployed in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and parts of West Bengal and secondly the problems of tribals would have to be treated in a sympathetic way.
“Also both the Centre and the State governments will have to apologise to the tribals for the prolonged torture meted out to them and the consequent suffering from the time of Independence,” Kishanji said. Asked what should be the nature of the apology, Kishanji said without elaborating, “They will have to come to the tribals and apologise.”
Asked about Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s statement on Wednesday in which he referred to the systematic exploitation and social, economic abuse of tribals over the years while emphasising on change of ways of dealing with them in the battle to win their hearts, Kishanji said, “It is nothing but an eyewash”.
Asked to comment on the Centre’s condition that the Maoists should abjure violence and only then it was ready to sit across the table, Kishanji said, “The Centre is killing innocent people in the name of tackling the Maoists and they are asking us to abjure violence, which is ridiculous.”
“The process of talks with the Central government can only begin if there is ceasefire on both sides,” he said.