PM calls Naxals for talks

Hope, spirit, ecstasy : Rise above political interests

PM calls Naxals for talks

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh arrives to address the nation from the historic Red Fort during the 64th Independence Day function in New Delhi on Sunday. PTI

Delivering his Independence Day speech at the Red Fort here, the prime minister, however, made it clear that the government would firmly deal with those who resort to violence and the Centre would help the state governments to maintain the rule of laws in the areas affected by Naxalism.

In what appeared to be a subtle message to Trinamool Congress chief and Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, Singh called upon all to rise above “personal and political interests” to meet the “serious challenge” that ultra-leftist extremism posed to the country’s internal security.

He said the government had asked the Planning Commission to formulate a comprehensive scheme to expedite development in the areas affected by the leftist extremism. He also stressed on making adivasis stakeholders in developmental projects in those areas.

Citizens’ priority

Paying tribute to the security personnel killed by the Maoists in the last few months, the prime minister said the UPA government would “fully discharge its responsibility to protect each and every citizen” of the country. He said that the Centre and states should work together to meet the challenge of Naxalism.  

Noting that most of the Naxalite-affected areas lag behind in development and many such areas also have a large concentration of adivasis, the prime minister stressed on ending the neglect of those parts of the country.

“It is also our endeavour that our adivasi brothers and sisters join the mainstream of development.  They have been dependent on forest produce for centuries and this dependence should not end without the creation of new sources of livelihood,” he said.

Singh’s offer to the Naxalites for talks came after social activist Swami Agnivesh had offered to play the role of mediator between the government and the Communist Party of India (Maoist). Agnivesh had met Home Minister P Chidambaram on July 8 and the prime minister on July 21 last.

He last week claimed to have received feelers from Maoist leaders that they would consider talking with the government, if the Centre ordered a judicial inquiry into the killing of their chief spokesman Azad at Adilabad in Andhra Pradesh on
July 2 last.

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