Govt, Maoists keen to talk, but with a rider
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A thaw in the chill between the state government and the Maoists was evident when the government appealed to the Maoists to lay down arms and come forward for talks, and the People's Committee against Police Atrocities (PCPA) also said they were ready for the discussion.
The appeal was made by Chief Secretary Asok Mohan Chakra-barti who attended a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee at the Writers' Buildings on Sunday.
"We appeal to them to lay down arms and cooperate with the government. We are ready to resolve the problems of the people. The government does not want any bloodshed. It does not want any harm to come to the people. The aim of the operation is to restore peace and normalcy in the area," Chakrabarti said.
He, however, said talks were possible only if the Maoists laid down arms. "One cannot talk if you point a gun at me," Chakrabarti said.
At Lalgarh, PCPA leader Chhatradhar Mahato also said they were ready for talks if the government stopped operations at Lalgarh.
So far, 10 Maoists have been arrested since the operation began, Chakrabarti said. Two policemen were injured at yesterday's exchange of fire at Kadashol, but the state government had no news of any casualty in the ranks of the Maoists, he added.
"The government is sending rice and money for those who had to leave their houses because of violence," the chief secretary said.
He also appealed to people to avoid visiting Lalgarh. "I appeal to all the people including ministers, charitable organisations and intellectuals not to enter that area as it will not be possible for us to give them security," Chakrabarti said.
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