In a blow to the peace process initiated by the West Bengal government, the Maoists called off their ceasefire in a letter to the state government on Monday.
The rebels said the state-appointed interlocutors and the Mamata Banerjee government had not kept any promise they had made.
The letter, addressed to human rights activist Sujato Bhadra and other members of the six-member interlocutor team, was dated October 31 and reached the media on Monday."The ceasefire period has ended as neither you nor the state government kept any of your promises," said Akash, state secretary of the banned outfit, Community Party of India-Maoist.
However, the Maoists did not close the door of dialogue with the government. The rebels said they were willing to meet the interlocutors only if the state government completely halted anti-Maoist operations by the state and central police forces. They also asked for a written statement assuring the same and clarifying the government's stand on peace talks.
"Despite being encircled by the joint forces, we met you twice and have kept all the promises we made during those meetings. But have you managed to keep your word? You haven't, because neither the state government nor the Centre wants peace," the letter said.
The Maoists also slammed the interlocutors for favouring the government.
"You are raising fingers at us, but keeping mum against the terror unleashed by the ruling party (Trinamool Congress) and the combined force. What's the necessity of meeting us when you don't speak a single word against (such injustice)?" Akash said in the letter.
However, the interlocutors said all was not lost.
"We don't think the peace talks have ended with this letter. The situation is tough. It would have been better had the ceasefire period been increased," Bhadra told HT.
The Maoists had unilaterally declared on September 30 that they would maintain a ceasefire of one month to let peace talks take shape.
Interlocutors Bhadra and Chhoton Das, too, had countersigned that declaration. The ceasefire started on October 3. But the state government never officially reacted to the proposal.