iconimg Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Ejaz Kaiser, Hindustan Times
Raipur, February 12, 2011
Delegation of civil rights activists instrumental in facilitating the release of abducted policemen in Bastar had sought from Maoist-hit Chhattisgarh state to reciprocate the gesture of the guerillas on beginning a peace dialogue. Social activist Swami Agnivesh said that now after the troopers are set free by Maoists the occasion should be seized by the state to initiate the peace talks which was obstructed after Maoist leader Azad was shot dead by Andhra Pradesh police last year reportedly in an encounter.

Addressing a joint press conference with Swami Agnivesh on Saturday in Raipur, the Chief Minister Raman Singh reiterated his willingness for talks that should lead to ending of violence in the Maoists affected regions. “We are committed to peace and development. Without any pre-conceived notion, I am prepared to consider any proposal on peace dialogue that serves the constructive outcomes”, Raman Singh affirmed.

The CM apparently agreed to Agnivesh suggestion to take a step in the direction of ensuring peace and putting an end to violence in the insurgency-hit areas. “A new beginning on having a dialogue with the Maoists is possible in Chhattisgarh after they had unconditionally released five police personnel showing humane intention. We hope the state government will show more leniency and benevolence through its favourable response to the readiness shown by the Maoists on talks”, Agnivesh said.

A senior police officer, not willing to be identified, in the state police headquarter later told Hindustan Times that Swami Agnivesh himself agreed on the Dandakaranya region in south Chhattisgarh having turned into an epicentre of Maoists activities, but how the trust deficit existing for over two decades between the state and the rebels will be addressed before one goes ahead for peace talks.

Agnivesh asked the state government to consider setting free all those people who have been detained merely on suspicion ground. “This will create a conducive environment for talks and gradually the Maoists can be taken into confidence for carrying forward the peace dialogues”, he said.

The guerillas released five abducted policemen of Chhattisgarh Armed Forces (CAF) on Friday late evening in Narayanpur, south Bastar, after keeping them hostage for 18 days.