ANDHRA PRADESH

Govt. should initiate peace talks with PW: PUCL leader

NALGONDA JAN.3. The State Government has "legalised violence'' and the police have been made "licensed killers'' to eliminate the opponents, alleges Jaya Vindhyala, general secretary of the People's Union For Civil Liberties. She is of the firm opinion that the Government should come forward for the peace talks with the People's War.

Talking to The Hindu, she said that state violence and repressive measures had been taken to new heights by the TDP and the BJP. "Both the Governments are working with an understanding to unleash repressive measures and the right to live is being taken away,'' she said. Ms. Jaya was here to participate in the `pada yatra' organised by the Jala Sadhana Samithi demanding supply of water to the district.

In support of her argument, she cited a Government Order, in which about Rs.11.5 crores was declared as the rewards on the heads of nearly a thousand naxals and said that now the police could shoot any of them at any time legally. "This is nothing but legalising the killings,'' she added.

When asked about naxals' violence, she argued that the Government which was expected to abide by the word "welfare'' as was written in the Constitution, should not do what the PW was doing. "Here I am not supporting violence, but the Government is also resorting to violence rather than addressing the problem.''

Ms. Jaya suggested that PW and including all groups and the Government should announce ceasefire before coming to a negotiation table. If both sides engaged in firing, there was no point in negotiations, she added.

She was sceptical of the TDP Government's preparedness for talks with the PW. "I suspect it is against the ceasefire and the negotiation. But, The State has the obligation to announce ceasefire to prove its commitment in solving the problem,'' she maintained.

Ms. Jaya, who is also the joint secretary of the Forum For Right to Work and the president of the Association For Working Women's Welfare, sought to allay misgivings about the PUCL and said that the organisation was an apolitical one founded by Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan.

When asked about the strength of the PUCL in the State, she said that activists were unable to come out openly in the face of "state's growing oppression.'' She said that the protection of human rights should be prerogative to build a civilized society "but unfortunately, the State is resorting to violence.''

She observed that the police were given powers "in a big way'' by the State Government and warned that the same police would dominate beyond control when the Government lost grip.

Taking a dig at the TDP's policies, she said DWCRA groups were replicas of the patwaries and pettamdars of the bygone era. "Let the Government conduct a survey. I can say that it would find that those who were sound socially and economically are enjoying the fruits in the groups,'' she said.

Ms. Jaya also opined that the non-governmental organisations were posing a threat to the country as "almost all of them are being funded by the USA, Britain and the Netherlands.''

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