A Cabinet meeting convened by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh in Raipur on Tuesday approved the agreement prepared by the interlocutors nominated by both sides, thereby giving legal sanctity to the document. On Monday, it was examined and approved by a Cabinet sub-committee. “Now anyone need not nurture doubts over what was agreed upon,” a senior government official said over phone from Raipur.
Informed sources said the interlocutors nominated by the Maoists, Prof. G. Haragopal and B.D. Sharma, gave a letter to Mr. Raman Singh, tracing the origin of several issues faced by the tribals. They also drew the attention of the government to the need for initiating measures to make the tribals stake-holders in development as recommended by the Bhuria committee.
With the Maoists announcing that Sukma Collector Alex Paul Menon would be released on Thursday, great importance is being attached to the reported observation of Mr. Raman Singh at the Cabinet meeting that emphasis must now be laid on carrying out a “peace process.” Though none is going on record interpreting what the Chief Minister meant, sources monitoring the developments felt that this could be opening up of a possibility for holding negotiations with the rebels.
Violence must stop first
The Chief Minister also reportedly said the Maoists should stop violence so that the process of establishing peace could go ahead. His reference, sources inferred, was to the killing of three persons including a BJP leader near Kutru of Bijapur district in the last two days. With just 18 months left for general elections in Chhattisgarh, Mr. Raman Singh might be willing to try out a new political formula of negotiations to tackle the Maoist issue.