Responding to a truce offer by the Communist Party of India (Maoist), the Central government on Monday asked the banned outfit to first withdraw its call for boycott of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections and shun violence to create conditions for peace talks.

In a statement on Sunday, the outfit’s spokesperson Abhay had said it was not against peace talks with the government. However, the banned party laid down five conditions: the government should accept the Maoist movement as a political struggle; the ban on it and its frontal, mass organisations must be lifted; the “killers” of Azad — who was negotiating a framework for peace talks in 2010 — must be prosecuted and punished; and the government must stop paramilitary and police aggression in areas under the party’s partial control.

“The CPI (Maoist) should create conducive atmosphere for such talks by first tendering a public apology for the killings over 4,800 civilians, mostly tribals, and by recalling their call for the boycott of Lok Sabha elections,” said a senior Union Home Ministry official reacting to the proposal for peace talks. “If they want to be recognised as a party, they should give up arms and publicly declare their intentions.”

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