Maoists ready for talks if Azad killing is probed, says Agnivesh

Says he received “encouraging response” from Kishanji and Akash

August 13, 2010 02:12 am | Updated November 28, 2021 09:30 pm IST - KOLKATA

Social activist Swami Agnivesh said on Thursday that Maoists were ready to resume the peace process initiated by their spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad if a judicial inquiry was ordered into his killing.

The message comes three days after Swami Agnivesh attended the Lalgarh rally, where Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee appealed to Maoists to abjure violence and initiate talks with the Centre for restoring peace in the conflict-torn zones of central and eastern India.

“Encouraging response”

Speaking to The Hindu over telephone from New Delhi, Swami Agnivesh said he received an “encouraging response” from Maoist leaders Kishanji and Akash conveying their willingness to resume the peace process on the same conditions mentioned by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram in his May 11 letter.

Swami Agnivesh had acted as a mediator between the Centre and the Maoists before Azad was killed by sleuths of the Andhra Pradesh State Intelligence Branch in Adilabad on July 2 in an encounter, which, the Maoists alleged, was fake.

A credible judicial inquiry into Azad's death should be ordered by either the Centre or the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister to reflect the Centre's seriousness about the dialogue, said Swami Agnivesh.

Swami Agnivesh said that once a judicial probe was ordered, he would ask the Maoists to announce a convenient date from which they would abjure violence for 72 hours so that the dialogue process could start.

“If not me, the Maoists could even contact writer Mahasweta Devi or social activist Debabrata Bandopadhyay and inform a specific date. They, however, should make it clear that the entire Communist Party of India (Maoist) is supporting the peace drive because the fact remains that the organisation has some dissident factions,” Swami Agnivesh said.

Immediately after receiving the truce offer, he contacted the Prime Minister's Office to seek an appointment for discussing the matter.

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