Elusive Maoist leader Kishenji on Monday said he is ready for talks with Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee but set pre-conditions like no laying down of arms and that the Trinamool Congress chief should come without police.
“If you want to come to ‘Jangal Mahal’ for talks without bringing the police you are always welcome,” Kishenji said in an open letter to Ms. Banerjee, who on January 15 at Jhargram had given the Maoists a seven-day deadline to hold talks or she would go on a padayatra in the Naxal-hit areas.
Rejecting Ms. Mamata’s demand that Maoists give up arms before talks, Kishenji said, “If the Central government or a political party gives a proposal to lay down arms and sit for talks that is not possible. Giving up arms is not on our agenda.”
Ms. Mamata declined to respond to questions by newsmen on Kishenji’s letter.
The West Bengal government said the open letter seemed to have been sent by Kishenji, but not probably written by him as he cannot write Bengali.
State Home Secretary Ardhendu Sen said quoting intelligence officials, “Overall, it seems to be Kishenji’s letter, but may not have been his own handwriting.”
He said the government was probing the identity of the writer.