A delegation of civil rights activists instrumental in facilitating the release of abducted policemen in Bastar has sought a reciprocation from the Maoist hit Chhattisgarh state in the form of a peace dialogue with the guerillas.
Social activist Swami Agnivesh said that now that the troopers have been set free by the Maoists the occasion should be seized by the state to initiate peace talks, which had hit a road block after Maoist leader Azad was shot dead by the Andhra Pradesh police last year, reportedly in an encounter.
Addressing a joint press conference with Swami Agnivesh on Saturday in Raipur, 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 preconceived 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's suggestion to ensure peace and put 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 by name or rank, 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 the Chhattisgarh Armed Forces (CAF) late on Friday evening in Narayanpur, south Bastar, after keeping them hostage for 18 days.