West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s body language and the spirit in which she warned the Maoists in her address in Jhargram on Saturday could be counter-productive, said a state government interlocutor who is mediating with the red brigade.
In a speech in West Midnapore, Banerjee gave seven days to the rebels to lay down arms.
A meeting is supposed to take place in the coming week between the chief minister and the six interlocutors.
“The chief minister on earlier occasions also used harsh words against the Maoists. But when the peace process is on, her spirit and body language were so bad that henceforth it would be meaningless to move the peace process forward. In this situation, peace talks between the state and the Maoists cannot take place unless a miracle occurs,” an interlocutor told Hindustan Times on Sunday.
“Maoist top leader Akash offered ceasefire for a month on October 3, 2011. Since then they have kept their word. But the state government is moving towards an opposite direction. It would be better if we had been given respite from our job,” the interlocutor added.
Another interlocutor said: “It seems the chief minister is guided by the bureaucracy. She is making the same mistake her predecessor Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee did.”
“In this context, we can remember what Kabir Suman wrote – shasok je doleri hok, bhayanak (anyone who is in power, irrespective of his or her political colour, is dangerous),” he added.
Historian Sujato Bhadra, who is heading the six-member team, told HT: “The chief minister had set a deadline of seven days for the Maoists. To us, a week is not a very short time. In the meantime, we will talk to the chief minister.”
A home department official said: “The chief minister has played a counter-tactic by setting an ultimatum of seven days for the Maoists.”