In view of the spurt in Maoist violence in many States, the offer of talks by the Centre to the ultras is a positive development. However, it will prove meaningful only if both sides believe in the virtues of a democratic solution. Wedded to violence, the Maoists do not value democratic practices. There is hardly any room for optimism over the outcome of the proposed dialogue process. The insistence by the Citizens Initiative for Peace that the government suspend the offensive against naxalites in some States is not reasonable. Experience shows that any lull in government action is used by Maoists to reorganise and prepare for a greater offensive.

P. Prasand Thampy, Thiruvalla

The government’s offer of talks is condemnable. Any group that takes the law into its own hands should be destroyed. If terrorists operating in Jammu and Kashmir invite the government for talks, will it accept the invitation?

S. Shankar, Chennai

The rebels must first give up violence, and then come to the negotiating table. Of course, the Centre and State governments need to take up development work in the naxal-infested areas. But that can be done only when peace prevails in the areas. Rights activists and NGOs should help in the reconciliation process and not become a rallying point for Maoists.

Madhu R.D. Singh, Ambala

The cartoon (Oct. 22) speaks volumes about Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s offer of talks with Maoists. Governments should take firm and effective steps to curb the naxal menace.

G. Sankara Pillai, Coimbatore

The Maoists have driven home the point that there is widespread hatred and mistrust for politicians and government officials among the people, particularly those belonging to the marginalised sections. Otherwise, the atrocities committed by Maoists would have generated widespread condemnation.

The government should keep this ground reality in mind while tackling naxalism. It is important to restore people’s confidence in the political system if Maoists are to be isolated and prevented from providing the spark to ignite unrest.

N.S. Venkataraman, Chennai

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