Treading with caution to Naxals' offer for peace talks, the government today asked the CPI(Maoist) to withdraw the call for boycott of the Lok Sabha polls and clarify its position on giving up violence before sitting for dialogue.
"If the CPI(Maoist) is serious about initiating peace talks with the government, they should prepare a conducive atmosphere for the same by publicly apologising for killing more than 4,800 civilians, mostly Adivasis, since 2004 and also by withdrawing their poll boycott call for general elections," a Home Ministry official said.
In a recent interview with a web portal, spokesperson of the CPI(Maoist) central committee, Abhay, said the party was not against peace talks with the government. The CPI(Maoist) laid down few conditions for talks, including that the government should accept the Maoist movement as political.
The Home Ministry official said: "If they want to be recognised as a legitimate political party, they may also clarify their position through the media on laying down arms, so that the offer can be considered seriously." This is the first time in almost four years that the outlawed group has announced its intention for talks. The CPI(Maoist)'s other conditions are: Lifting the ban on it and frontal, mass organisations, the "attacks" on leaders and activists should stop, "killers" of Naxal leader Azad be booked and punished.
Besides, the government should stop paramilitary and police action against the Naxals and all leaders lodged in prisons should be released.
As Home Minister, P Chidambaram in 2009 had announced that the government was ready for unconditional talks with Maoists if they abjure violence. Chidambaram had said Maoists should take the path of democracy and the Centre would help the state governments discuss with the Naxals all the issues of neglect, corruption, development etc. "But no development is possible with violence. No democracy can accept the theory of an armed rebellion. They should first abjure violence," he had said.