ANDHRA PRADESH

Still ready for talks, says APCC chief

Keshava Rao unhappy over re-imposition of ban

Special Correspondent

ONGOLE: Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee president K. Keshava Rao has said the Congress is still committed to talks with the CPI (Maoist) even though the Government has banned the organisation on administrative grounds.

Speaking to newspersons here on Friday, Dr. Keshava Rao felt that talks alone would help find an amicable solution to the extremist problem plaguing the State. The Government might have felt it necessary to ban the organisation on the basis of information available with it about extremist activities and their plans.

He made it clear that he was not happy with the decision. He however felt that the ban would not come in the way of continuing peace talks with the Maoists.

He pointed out that the Central Government had been holding talks with as many as 17 banned organisations. It had even provided aircraft to bring leaders from abroad to the negotiating table.

He said the peace talks between the State Government and the Maoists were successful in the first round as conceded by CPI (Maoist) leader K. Ramakrishna soon after the talks.

A word of caution

He claimed that peace talks with an extremist organisation were successful only in Andhra Pradesh after Guatemala. But there was an impasse during which time some incidents took place leading to complete breakdown later.

On the statement of Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy that journalists have a moral responsibility to inform the police before interviewing persons wanted by them, Dr. Keshava Rao asked the press not to go by his words but understand the spirit behind them.

If their reports affected peace and tranquillity in society, the Government could certainly take action against reporters concerned under IPC.

Saying that he had worked as a journalist and also had knowledge of law, Dr. Keshava Rao advised reporters to consult their editors and lawyers before going to interview such persons.

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