Better time now for peace talks with Maoists, says Agnivesh

Saturday, February 12, 2011

RAIPUR - A day after ensuring the safe release of five Chhattisgarh policemen who spent 18 days in Maoist captivity, social activist Swami Agnivesh Saturday asked the chief minister of India’s worst insurgency-hit state to begin peace talk with guerrillas at “this better time”.

“After safe release of the hostages by the Maoists, an atmosphere for initiating a fresh peace talks has been created. It’s better time now to take this initiative forward,” Agnivesh said at a joint press conference here with Chief Minister Raman Singh.

“Our country has been holding talks with Pakistan, separatist groups and even militants. So, why can’t we talk with our own brothers and sisters,” he asked adding that he was ready to mediate for peace talks once the proposal comes through.

Responding to the suggestion, Raman Singh said: “We welcome such initiatives as it’s our firm belief that all such problems could only be solved through talks. If the government gets a proposal, we will not hesitate to take it forward. Our goal is to ensure peace and speed up the process of development for the welfare of the people”.

Maoists Friday night released the five policemen, abducted Jan 25 from a passenger bus in Narayanpur district, unconditionally to a team of social and rights activists led by Agnivesh after the government agreed to a ceasefire to help him facilitate the release.

Noting that the Dandakaranya region in Chhattisgarh is the epicentre of Maoist activities in India, Agnivesh said: “This abduction and subsequent release is a turning point. We have to explore on whether a peace process could begin from Chhattisgarh. If it happens, it will be a new beginning.”

He also appealed to the Chhattisgarh government to review all those cases in which people were being detained just on the basis of mere suspicion as Maoists.

Filed under: Terrorism

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