Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has offered to mediate between the Centre and the Bengal Maoists if the ultras give up violence.
Banerjee, chief of the Trinamool Congress, gave the Maoists seven days to decide if they would shun the gun and open talks with her party.
“Give up arms and let’s talk development. If you want development of forestland, expansion of railway projects in this area, employment, setting up of schools and hospitals, you are free to hold talks,” she said on Thursday in Jhargram, in the state’s Maoist-dominated region, 180 km from Kolkata.
“If you don’t want me or the Union home minister to talk with, tell me who you want to negotiate with,” she said.
Though there was no response from the Maoists, leaders of the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities (PCAPA) have indicated they can negotiate only with
Kabir Suman, the singer-turned-Trinamool MP from Jadavpur.
“We welcome Mamata’s statement. But we can talk only to Kabir Suman. We think he is above politics,” said Dhanapati, a leader of the Maoist-backed PCAPA.
Suman said, “I welcome the PCAPA’s stand as I want peace. But I would need an authorisation from the Trinamool leadership in order to be an element in the negotiation process.”
Over the past fortnight Suman has dared his party leaders to write, score music, sing and highlight the lack of development in the Maoist-dominated areas of Bengal.