Chidambaram, Naxals swap phone numbers
Reacting to the Maoists truce call, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said he would respond if the Maoists faxed him an authentic proposal in writing, agreeing to give up violence and with no pre-conditions for talks. Within hours, Maoists asked the Govt to set out its own proposal first. Aloke Tikku and Snigdhendu Bhattacharya report.india Updated: Feb 24, 2010 02:00 IST
Reacting to the Maoists call for a 72-day truce, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said he would respond promptly if the Maoists faxed him an authentic proposal in writing, agreeing to give up violence and with no pre-conditions for talks.
<b1>Within hours, Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji replied — as always using the media to send out his message — asking the government to set out its own proposal first, which it could publish as advertisements in newspapers. In his statement Chidambaram had a released a home ministry landline number to which, he said, the Maoists could fax their truce offer.
In response, Kishenji provided a mobile phone number that Chidambaram could call — at 5 pm, Thursday — if he wished to talk directly to the Maoists.
“I’d like no ifs, no buts, no conditions,” said Chidambaram in his reply, released to the media. “Once I get the statement, I’ll consult the PM and other colleagues and respond promptly.”
“Let the government publish advertisements in newspapers giving details of their proposal. After that, our central committee will send a fax to the Prime Minister’s Office with our response,” said Kishenji.
A home ministry official said the government’s perception was the Maoists weren’t really interested in a truce or talks. The ceasefire offer was only intended to dent the political legitimacy of the armed offensive against them.