Operations to continue till Naxals agree to talks: PC

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 30 2010, 03:55am hrs
In a strong message to Maoist groups, the government on Thursday said anti-Naxal operations would stop only if left-wing extremists abjure violence and decide to come to the negotiation table.

If they (Naxals) wish to come for talks after abjuring violence, they are welcome. If there is no response to the offer, the anti-Naxal strategy, which is being formulated, will continue, Union home minister P Chidambaram told reporters here after his meeting with Jharkhand chief minister Shibu Soren.

The home ministry has also convened a meeting of chief ministers of four Naxal-affected states in Kolkata next month to fine- tune the joint operations.

A home ministry spokesperson said the meeting, scheduled for February 9, is to fine-tune coordination for the inter-state joint operation against the Left-wing extremism. It would be attended by chief ministers of Jharkhand, Orissa, West Bengal and Bihar.

Clearing the air on reports that Jharkhand had halted the anti-Naxal offensive, the home minister said, The chief minister (Shibu Soren) came with his two deputies, home secretary and DGP and told me that there is no change in policy of Jharkhand government and that he is on board with other chief ministers of Naxal-affected states on the strategy being worked out, Chidambaram said.

The home minister defended Sorens decision to invite Maoists for talks saying, He made the offer but got no response so far...

I have also made an offer.

After his meeting with the home minister, Soren ruled out any difference with the Centre on the issue of controlling Maoist violence and expressed his resolve to check the menace.

Soren said his government was not opposed to any offensive against Maoists. We discussed developmental issues and the problem of Naxalism. We have been trying to control the menace (Naxalism) and will continue to do so, Soren said.

This was his first meeting with Chidambaram after he took charge as the Jharkhand chief minister last month.

Asked about the presence of central security forces to take on Naxalites in Jharkhand, he said, There has been a decision from the central government on sending forces for operation Green Hunt. We also have that force. We welcome them.

Chidambaram had recently said that Jharkhand would be included in the anti-Naxal operations after discussions with the state government.

Jharkhand, which shares its border with Orissa, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, has Maoist presence in 20 of its 24 districts.