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Maoists can’t be treated like terrorists, says govt

Posted by Admin on October 21, 2009

SupplementNew Delhi: The Centre has said that the Maoists cannot be equated with the terrorists in Jammu & Kashmir and the north-east — a subtle, but significant, shift in its policy on the rebels who on Tuesday killed five people, including two police officers, in West Bengal and Jharkhand.

On June 22, the Centre had issued a notification banning the CPI(Maoist), the umbrella organisation of the rebels, after branding it a terrorist group under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. “It was always a terror organisation and today an ambiguity has been removed,” Union home minister P Chidambaram had then said.

But on Tuesday, Chidambaram told a gathering of senior commanders of the military in New Delhi that the Maoists needed to be treated differently since they were not demanding secession from India.

Chidambaram, who has been supporting aggressive operations by security forces against the Maoists, also called on the rebels to shun violence and come for talks, officials who attended the meeting told DNA.

However, there is no evidence yet of the Centre trying to establish credible contact with the Maoists for talks. As of now, the government’s strategy remains a single-track security pursuit

The Maoists, too, are not willing to relent. On Tuesday, a group of 25 rebels struck at a police station at Sankrail in West Midnapore district, West Bengal, around 200 km from Kolkata.

The rebels, including six women, killed two police officers and abducted another. As the armed group withdrew, they looted a bank close by.

Maoist leader Kishenji claimed responsibility for the attack and warned the police to stay away or the abducted policeman would be beheaded. He also demanded the release of top Maoists.

In Jharkhand, two major attacks were reported. According to the state government, three people were killed when a group of Maoists fired at people watching a dance programme in Chatra district. Seven others, including two policemen, were injured in the firing. DNA

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