5 of Mamata's chosen mediators call it quits | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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5 of Mamata's chosen mediators call it quits

kolkata Updated: Nov 29, 2011 01:08 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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Five of the six civil society members appointed by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee to bring the rebels to the dialogue table withdrew themselves from the job on Monday, citing unfavourable conditions in Jangalmahal.

This has come four days after CPI(Maoist) central committee member Kishenji was killed by the security forces on Thursday.

"We have expressed our helplessness and inability to the chief minister," said a statement signed by the five members - Sujato Bhadra (historian), Ashokendu Sengupta (educationist), Kalyan Rudra (river expert), Choton Das (activist) and Prasun Bhowmik (book publisher).

"The prevailing situation in Jangalmahal does not allow us to carry forward the peace talks," the statement said.

The five members said Kishenji's death could cause an erosion of the rebels' faith in the interlocutors, especially after allegations surfaced that he died in a fake encounter.

"While reacting to the death of Kishenji, the CPI(Maoist) central committee has made it clear that they are no longer interested in the peace process," an interlocutor told HT on anonymity.

Former journalist Debasish Bhattacharya is the only mediator who wants to continue.

Relations between the interlocutors and Banerjee have been on the stiff side since she gave a week's time to the rebels in September to lay down arms."

In another statement issued on behalf of an organisation called Friends of Democracy, Bhadra and Das condemned the "fake encounter killing" of Kishenji and demanded a judicial probe, the withdrawal of the Centre-state joint forces and release of all political prisoners.