Shun violence, join mainstream: President Patil to Maoists

Shun violence, join mainstream: President Patil to Maoists

"I call upon Maoists and those others who are engaged in violence to give up violence and have dialogue for peace and join the mainstream to ensure development for their tribal people," she said in her address to a specially-convened session of the Chhattisgarh state assembly.

In the 20-minute speech in Hindi, Patil said: "In recent times, there were several unfortunate incidents of Maoist violence that claimed several lives. Now everyone has to remember that for the development of the country restoring peace, and then maintaining it, is very necessary. In fact, nothing can be gained by the path of violence."

The president's appeal to Maoists came amid rising Maoist violence in several states, mainly in Chhattisgarh, this month.

Maoists had carried out a string of attacks in the state's restive but mineral-rich Bastar region and killed several state police and para-military troopers. They had also blown up an anti-landmine vehicle.

The rebels carried out their deadliest attack in the state in April 2010, killing 76 troopers in a single attack in Dantewada district.

The president also expressed concern over existing social evils in society such as dowry cases and female foeticide and said the society needed to change its outlook towards women and girls.

"It's a matter of concern that social evils such as dowry-related cases, child marriage and female foeticide are still existing. We need to change society through education and creating awareness to eradicate such social evils... the society has to change its outlook towards women and girls," she remarked.

"We need to create opportunities to make women financial self-reliant, they (women) should be given training facilities. The non-government organisations (NGOs) have a major role to make women financially self-reliant," she said.

Patil reached Raipur at around 11 a.m. Friday by a special plane. She is scheduled to attend the wedding ceremony of Abhishek Singh, the only son of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh before flying back to New Delhi Saturday at about 11 a.m..

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