With the Naxals facing the heat of an imminent concerted operation by security forces, a top Maoist leader on Thursday said the ultras were ready for talks "if there was ceasefire on both sides" and withdrawal of the para-military forces deployed in the naxal-hit states.
"The process of talks with the central government can only begin if there is ceasefire on both sides," top Maoist leader Kishenji today said.
Asked to comment on the Centre's condition that the Maoists should abjure violence and only then it was ready to sit across the table, Kishenji told PTI over phone, "The Centre is killing innocent people in the name of tackling the Maoists and they are asking us to abjure violence, which is ridiculous."
He said the Centre would have to withdraw para-military forces from the seven states -- Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chattisgarh, Orissa, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal -- and treat the problems of tribals in a sympathetic way.
"Also both the Centre and the state governments will have to apologise to the tribals for the prolonged atrocity meted out to them and the consequent suffering from the time of Independence," Kishenji said.
Asked what should be the nature of the apology, Kishenji said without elaborating, "They will have to come to the tribals and apologise."