The killing of Communist Party of India (Maoist) Polit Bureau member Koteswar Rao alias Kishenji in Jangmalmahal has cast a shadow on the future of dialogue between the State government and the Maoists with government appointed interlocutors seriously reconsidering their role.

“We are seriously considering our role as interlocutors on this issue (killing of Kishenji),” one of the main interlocutors toldthe Hinduon Saturday.

Revolutionary writer Varavara Rao had earlier spoken to the interlocutors and urged them that in view of the situation they withdraw as interlocutors. “I appealed to them, without any malice, to withdraw as interlocutors in protest against the fake encounter of Kishenji who himself was offering peace talks,” said Mr. Rao before leaving the city with the body of slain Maoist leader Kishenji in the evening.

‘Varavara Rao's views important'

“Yes, Varavara Rao has asked us to step down as interlocutors. The request is not binding on us but we give weight to what he says and his views are important to us,” said the interlocutor pointing out that they will seek the advice of other intellectuals on this issue.

He added that by Monday they will come up with their final decision on whether they will continue to play “any effective role as interlocutors” in the peace process.

As news of the encounter came in on Thursday, the interlocutors had given clear hints that the incident could adversely affect the peace process. They had claimed that the State government had failed to seize the opportunity and there could not be a dialogue when security operations are on in full swing.

The State interlocutors, who were appointed by the government on July, had expressed their desire to be relieved of their responsibilities on November 16 in the wake of violence fresh violence by Maoists in the State's Purulia district and the subsequent operation by security forces in which two Maoists were killed.

However, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was able to convince the interlocutors in a meeting on November 19 to continue their attempts to take the peace process forward.

While Ms. Banerjee had pointed that peace process is a “continuous process”, according to the interlocutors the Maoists believe that they had kept their promise of ceasefire while the government had failed to do so.

The CPI (Maoist) State secretary Akash and two of the interlocutors signed a joint statement for a month-long ceasefire on September 30.