Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday refused to retract her statement made at the August 9 Lalgarh rally, where she had demanded an enquiry into the police encounter that killed Maoist leader Azad.
Maoists have been alleging that Azad, alias Cherukuri Rajkumar, who was killed by the Andhra Pradesh police in Adilabad on July 2 following an armed encounter, had actually been captured by the police earlier and shot in cold blood.
With her demand for an enquiry, Mamata appeared to be endorsing the Maoist charge.
Mamata’s Lalgarh speech thus caused a major stir in Parliament, with BJP members attacking her strongly for her seeming collusion with Maoists.
Breaking her silence on the subject for the first time Mamata said, “Whatever I said, I stick to that. I said that in capacity of a political leader.”
On Tuesday evening, Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao, alias Kishenji, had through the media proposed peace talks with the government, even suggesting that if Mamata brokered the talks, his party would have no problems.
But Mamata said that while the Maoist offer of dialogue with the government was welcome, she herself was unwilling to be a mediator.
“I won’t interfere with the government initiative,” she said.
The CPI(M) too reacted to the Maoists’ suggestion that Mamata mediate.
“It has been proved that the Maoists and Mamata are working together. How can a collaborator be a mediator,” CPI(M) Rajya Sabha MP Sitaram Yechury said.