West Bengal Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram in New Delhi on Sunday to discuss the situation arising out of Maoists violence in the state as well as the government’s preparedness to deal with the menace.
Bhattacharjee who was in New Delhi to attend the CPI(M) Politbureau meeting, held a 45-minute meeting at the latter’s residence and primarily discussed the Centre’s anti-Naxal plan for launching a coordinated action against the Maoists, a government source said.
A few days ago, the Cabinet Committee on Security had approved the plan which aims at flushing out the Maoists from their strongholds and subsequently launching development activities in those areas.
The Centre had given a green signal to the plan after holding a series of discussions with the affected states, including Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
Bhattacharjee failed to attend the last meeting of the Union Home Minister with the CMs of Naxal-hit states in August.
For the past few months, the Maoists violence and attacks on the CPI(M) workers have been on the rise even as the country’s largest paramilitary organisation, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has launched a massive operation to stamp them out of Lalgarh — one of the Maoists strongholds in the state.
‘Will talk to Maoists, if they lay down arms’
Amidst rising Naxal violence and attacks on the CPI (M) workers in West Bengal, the CPI (M) on Sunday said that talks with the Maoists were only possible if they give up their arms.
Talking to reporters after the CPI(M) Politburo meeting here, senior CPI (M) leader Sitaram Yechury said: “It is for the Centre and respective state governments to draw up their strategy to tackle Naxalism. Whatever means they (Centre and States) have to adopt, it is for them to decide.”
However, he said, the party was not in favour of using armed forces to tackle the Maoist menace.
“Armed forces were used in such circumstances very rarely. It is not right to involve them in disputes between two groups of people,” Yechury added.
Another Polit Bureau member and Bengal CPI (M) secretary Biman Bose, too, echoed similar views. “How will we have dialogue with those who do not believe in democracy and carry arms? If they give up arms and strengthen the democracy, then talks should happen,” Bose said.
The Maoists have ruled out the possibility of laying down arms and instead put several conditions including release of their leaders before the talks start.