Disclosing that Maoists were acquiring arms through Bangladesh, Myanmar and possibly Nepal, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Saturday nonetheless told them to "simply halt the violence" so that government could start talks with them.
There was no evidence of any money flowing in from abroad to the Maoists but "there is certainly evidence of weapons being smuggled from abroad through Myanmar or Bangladesh" and possibly Nepal, he said.
During a wide-ranging interview to PTI, Chidambaram firmly refused to respond to the comments of Maoist leader Kishenji, who had laid down certain conditions for a dialogue with the government. "He is the leader of an organization declared as unlawful."
The Home Minister affirmed that the government was not insisting on the Maoists laying down arms as a pre-condition for talks.
"I have not used these words. Besides I am too practical to know they will not lay down arms. They have to halt violence which means halt the wanton destruction of railway track, roads, telephone towers, school buildings, bridges," he said.
Chidambaram said violence must be stopped and then with the help of well-meaning people "we can find a way in which the state governments primarily can talk to the groups in that state and the Central government will afford any assistance it can to facilitate such talks".
Referring to a statement issued by former Lok Sabha Speaker Rabi Ray and his friends for a halt to violence and holding of talks, he said he felt it was his duty to write to Ray making clear the government's policy.
"Let me state it in carefully chosen words that if any group abjures violence we are willing to talk to that group about any genuine grievances.
"This is what the prime minister has said. This is what I have said. We have not asked them to do anything more. We simply say halt the violence and then we can talk," the minister said.
Hitting out at "intellectuals" who voice support for the Maoists, he referred to the statement of Maoists earlier
this week that their objective of the attack on Sankhrail police station in West Bengal was weapons and money.
"Even after this statement, if people romanticise the Naxalites, all I can say is that only God can help them."