Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Thursday rejected Maoist leader Kishenji’s claim that kidnapped West Bengal police officer Atindranath Dutta (who has since been released) was a “prisoner of war.” He, however, said the political view of the Left wing ultras could be accommodated in a democratic system.

“They are using words like PoW. We reject that, [it is] unacceptable in a democratic and republic system. We can never accept the theory of an armed liberation struggle and of guerrilla war,” he told journalists here.

The democratic system was large enough to accommodate every shade of political opinion. “Let me assume that the CPI (Maoist) has a particular political view. That view can also be accommodated in the democratic system. So, within a democratic system, there are ways in which causes can be advocated and grievances redressed. But violence is no answer.”

Asked how he differentiated between the Maoists and insurgents of the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir separatists, when all indulged in violence, he said the context should be understood. “One key difference is [while] others ask for secession or separate States, the Maoists are not asking for separate States.”

He said, “I also pointed out the commonalities. What is reported is only one part of the speech. You must understand it in its context.”

Last week, Mr. Chidambaram said the Maoists were different from the insurgents of the northeast and Jammu and Kashmir separatists.

Stating that he did not know what attitude the Maoists would take when elections are held in Jharkhand, he said their boycott call during the Maharashtra elections was rejected by people. “In fact, in Gadchiroli there was a record turnout.”