Won't give up arms, Maoists to Mamata | kolkata | Hindustan Times
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Won't give up arms, Maoists to Mamata

Disregarding West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's seven-day ultimatum to rethink their violent ways or face state action, the first Maoist response came exactly a week after the October 22 deadline lapsed.

kolkata Updated: Oct 30, 2011 00:46 IST
HT Correspondent

Disregarding West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee's seven-day ultimatum to rethink their violent ways or face state action, the first Maoist response came exactly a week after the October 22 deadline lapsed.

In a statement addressed to the six-member team of interlocutors on Saturday, Maoists said possession of arms was non-negotiable. "Surrender of arms was never an agenda in the couple of meetings we held and would never be an agenda either," said the six-page statement signed by CPI(Maoist) state secretary Akash, dated October 26. "Let the state take the harshest actions. We are not going to drop our demands for rights and self-respect," wrote Akash.

The rebels also raised doubts about Banerjee's plans in Jangalmahal. "The Trinamool Congress chief is now more willing to carry out Centre-state combined operations than even Chidambaram, the mastermind of the operations," read the statement.

On September 22, Union home minister P Chidambaram had invited the rebels to the negotiation table sans any precondition.

During her second visit to Jangalmahal, the forested areas of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts where Maoists are active, Banerjee had sounded the ultimatum in a surprise shift from her previous soft stance. "Think over it. We will not tolerate any more violence. Killings and negotiations cannot go hand in hand," she had said, addressing a rally in West Midnapore on October 15.

The CPI(Maoist) letter demanded the state government stop combing operations by security forces, disarm and control anti-Maoist vigilante group known as the Bhairab Bahini, and explain in writing the government's development plans for the area concerned and allow all agitating organisations to hold public gatherings.

"We will not murder a single Trinamool worker unless they form reactionary killer gangs and tries to spy for the cops," said the Maoists, blaming Mamata for the recent killings of some Trinamool leaders. Soon after the killings in September-end, Banerjee hardened her approach.