Chhattisgarh: Peace panel formed for dialogue with Maoists and the state
- The committee will start meetings soon and will form district committees in each violence-affected district of the state.
Activists, journalists and social workers constituted a peace committee to initiate dialogue between Maoists and the government with the objective of attaining lasting peace in Maoist-affected regions of Chhattisgarh.
The committee named Concerned Citizens' Committee of Chhattisgarh (4Cs), comprises 11 members who will lead the negotiations with the state and the Maoists, while bringing them on a common platform.
Former Union minister Arvind Netam, former chairperson of the SC/ST Commission Nandkumar Sai, leader of Sarv Adivasi Samaj B S Rawte, Communist Party of India (CPI) leader in Bastar, Manish Kunjam, journalists Diwakar Muktibodh, Kamal Shukla, social worker Virendra Pandey, social worker Indu Netam, writer irish Pankaj, and state secretary CPI RDCP Rao are panel members.
Peace activist Shubhranshu Chaudhary has been made the convenor of the committee, a per a press note issued on Tuesday.
“We are copying the 3Cs (Concerned Citizens' Committee) model of Andhra which succeeded in bringing both sides to table but failed in getting any results. We are trying to learn from their mistakes. One of the major criticisms was that the panel had no representation from ‘adivasi’ community or from the affected communities,” said Chaudhary, adding that the committee will be a channel of communication between both the sides.
The committee currently has less representation of women which we will be very keen to repair soon, he said.
The committee will start meetings soon and will form district committees in each violence-affected district of the state.
The committee decided to hold several mass programs seeking dialogue and peace from both sides in the months to come with Sarv Adivasi Samaj taking the lead.
“Congress manifesto in 2018 said ‘a policy will be drafted to take on the menace of Naxalism and serious steps will be taken for talks’. I think the current state government needs to be reminded of this and the Maoist leaders must realise that a negotiated settlement demanding full implementation of pro Adivasi laws in Indian constitution is in the best interest of the community they claim to represent and the current phase of their movement,” said Chaudhary.
In a press note issued by the committee after the meeting on Monday stated that the political violence in the southern part of Chhattisgarh was the focal point of the event.
“One assessment of the participants indicated toward the changing dynamics in the Bastar region and within the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) congregations. It was observed that the leadership within the LWE congregation has been debilitating and deteriorating with time. For the moment, the situation could be conceived as a watershed in the Naxalite movement where a large chunk of the congregation wants to move out of the clutches of the exploitation by the Maoist organisation in general and leadership in particular,” the press release stated.
“Such movements have to involve the state and its principles at various junctures and state must also reciprocate to such formations duly and in all sincerity,” Netam said about the panel’s chances of success.
A senior Chhattisgarh police officer, who did not wish to be named, said the formation of the peace committee was a welcome step.
“In the recent years, the three pronged strategy of ‘Vishwas’ (trust), ‘Vikas’ (development), ‘Suraksha’ (security) by the security forces is yielding positive results in tackling the left wing extremism. The objective of the local police and the security forces is to bring down the violence and establish peace and order in the region. Any initiative from civil society in this direction would strengthen the resolve of security forces in this regard. The surrender and rehabilitation policy of the government also encourages the Maoist cadres to shun violence and join the national mainstream. But any formal decision with regard to holding talks with Maoists would be taken by senior functionaries of the government,” the official added.