‘Maoists should end violence before talks’

‘Maoists should end violence before talks’

New Delhi: The government will be prompt in initiating talks with Maoist insurgents if they give up violence, home minister P. Chidambaram told Parliament on Wednesday, while launching an attack on those who sympathized with the Naxalites.

He called upon such groups “to choose between the parliamentary system and the people who resort to armed violence."

He was replying to a discussion on internal security in the Rajya Sabha.

If the Naxalites “abjure violence, I will respond within 72 hours, but as long as violence persists, I see no scope for talks," Chidambaram said.

The Opposition accused the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government of “patronizing and protecting" the Maoists. “Let us not create new Frankensteins to remain in power," said Sitaram Yechury of the Communist Paty of India (Marxist). “You already have a mandate to rule for another five years. Don’t be partisan."

The minister told the Upper House that the country was still “vulnerable to a terror attack."

India cannot lower its guard because “our adversary has not changed its attitude," he said. While there haven’t been any significant terrorist attacks in the last one year, at least 12 attempts have been foiled in the last one year, he said, without elaborating.

Referring to insurgency in the North-East, he held out the prospect of the talks with the Ulfa (United Liberation Front of Asom). “Ulfa is in disarray today. In the next few days, the Ulfa leadership will make a political statement.

Our government is prepared to talk to Ulfa provided they abjure violence and there is no demand for sovereignty," he said.

There was an uproar in the House when Chidambaram referred to “Hindu militancy" as the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party’s members protested against the minister using such a term.

(‘PTI’ contributed to this story.)