Nine days after Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee invited Maoists for dialogue, the Maoists on Monday invited Banerjee to their jungle hideouts without any security personnel.
At a public rally on January 15 at Jhargram, about 160 km west of Kolkata, Banerjee asked the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist) to shun violence and name their interlocutor in seven days for beginning a dialogue process.
Banerjee offered development projects if the Maoists abjure violence. Banerjee’s rally was the first by any leader in Bengal’s Maoist-dominated area.
On Monday, Koteshwar Rao, alias Kishenji, Maoist politburo member, sent a four-page open letter, confirming the Maoists’ intention to begin talks with the establishment. But he said quitting armed struggle could not be a condition for negotiations.
He said, “Talks can only be held on the ground that all the prisoners are released, the combined force withdrawn and talks with the People’s Committee Against Police Atrocities start at the government level.”
“We don’t want to hurry. The problem was not created in a single day and can’t be solved so fast,” said Purnendu Bose, whom Banerjee assigned to deal with the Maoists.