Government should announce a ceasefire date: Vara Vara Rao
Posted by Admin on August 8, 2010
New Delhi, Aug. 7: Maoist sympathiser Vara Vara Rao today said the rebels wanted the Centre to announce a “mutual ceasefire” date so that talks could be held.
“We demand an immediate announcement of a ceasefire and ask the government to call back security forces. The government should announce a ceasefire date,” Rao told a news conference today.
The poet said the Maoists felt there should be a “simultaneous and mutual ceasefire” as in Andhra Pradesh in 2004, instead of Chidambaram’s proposal for a 72-hour ceasefire by the rebels only.In 2004, the Maoists had announced a ceasefire in the morning and the Andhra government had followed suit the same evening.
Rao said the Maoists wanted peace talks so that a “people’s development model” could be worked out.Asked why the Maoists wanted a ceasefire now, Rao said they wanted it because the people and civil society groups wanted them to start negotiations.Union home ministry sources have, till last evening, insisted that the government wanted the Maoists to “abjure violence” for 72 hours before peace talks can begin.A section in the government feels that once the CPI (Maoist) leadership is cornered, the outfit would come forward for talks.
Efforts to start talks gained momentum after a conference on the Maoist issue by civil society groups in New Delhi on August 3.Given that there is a section in the ruling Congress which wants talks, the nudge from the NGOs may mount pressure on home minister P. Chidambaram to sit for negotiations.The idea for negotiations originated after a peace march by social activist Swami Agnivesh, professor Yashpal and others from Raipur to Dantewada in May.Chidambaram later wrote to Agnivesh about the government’s readiness to hold talks.
Agnivesh also met the home minister to work on a plan for talks that subsequently got buried after Maoist spokesperson Azad was killed.Rao today said: “The government has not responded to our proposal. All the time he (Chidambaram) was repeating ‘peace talks’, now he is not saying anything.”
Asked why the Maoists were not willing to announce a date themselves, Rao did not give a direct reply. “Why should the party announce the dates?” he asked.Rao also accused Chidambaram of “using” Agnivesh to “open channels” for talks only to “kill” Azad, who supposedly supported negotiations.Some rebel sympathisers have accused the government of targeting those Maoist leaders who want talks. Telegraph