Questioning the government's approach towards the Naxalite problem, members of an official panel that investigated the issue said that instead of the government telling the ultras to give up violence, both sides should declare a ceasefire and create an atmosphere for talks.
"If the government is serious enough to alleviate the tribal problem, then it should persuade the Maoists to come for talks," former IAS officer Debabrata Bandopadhyay, Chairman of the panel, said.
The Planning Commission had set up the expert group on Development Issues with the Causes of Discontent, Unrest and Extremism in May 2006. The panel has already submitted its report on Development Challenges in Extremist Affected Areas.
Observing that the government is taking a "wrong approach", Bandopadhyay said, "the government should not speak of (Maoists) abjuring violence. Both sides should go for a ceasefire and create a conducive environment so that they can sit for talks."
"Both should leave aside some of their demands and agree on a negotiable situation. Naxals have to shelve the aim of seizure of power for the time being and negotiate with the state in the interest of thousands of poor and innocent families," said Bandopadhyay, who had played a key role in the Left Front government's 'Operation Barga' on land reforms.
Maoist leader Kishenji had said earlier that his outfit was ready to sit for talks on the basis of the recommendations made by the Bandopadhyay committee.
Prakash Singh, former Uttar Pradesh DGP and a member of the committee, said that the government's move should be more calculated and well-planned.
"The government should be open for talks, but the offer should not be given at the wrong time. The Home Minister's offer for talks just after the Naxal attack at Dantewada was unjustified," he said.
"If the government is ready to speak with terrorists of Kashmir, the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) in Assam and extremists all over the country, then why are they not speaking with ultra-Leftists?"
The Maoists have control over large parts of the country and so the option of negotiations should always be kept open, the ex-DGP felt.