Chidambaram invites Naxalites for talk, after abjuring violence

      Union Home Minister P Chidambaram has said that the Government has made it clear that it does not view the confrontation with the Naxalites as a war against the Naxalites. Delivering the fourth Nani Palkhiwala memorial lecture here on Monday, Chidambaram said: "The Naxalite leaders and cadres are Indian citizens. No government of a civilized country will wage war against its own people. What we ask is that the Naxalites should abjure violence." "If they represent the poor or the tribal people of a State, certainly the Government of that State would be willing to talk to them on their demands and listen to their genuine grievances. I hope that leaders of civil society would prevail upon Naxalites to abjure violence and participate in democracy," he added. Noting that in the last ten years, the Naxalite movement has grown both in its area of influence and its capacity for violent actions, he said, "It is a sad fact that some sections of civil society continue to romanticise the left wing extremist movement." In an extraordinarily frank document issued by the politburo of the CPI (Maoist), he said, "They regard elections as a meaningless, irrelevant, pseudo-democratic exercise." "They have declared that their goal is seizure of political power and establishment of base areas. Their method will be expanding our guerrilla war to new areas on the one hand and intensifying the mass resistance in the existing areas; to intensify the war in the States; and expand the area of struggle," he added. Speaking on Kobad Ghandy, a member of the politburo, the Minister said: "Ghandy has stated on record that the Naxalites will never participate in the mainstream of politics." "How can a country that is democratic and republic accept these pronouncements?" he said. Referring to Maoists in Nepal who participated in Parliamentary elections, he said why Indian Maoists do not follow this example. "There is no logical answer to this (why Naxals do not take part in democratic elections) from Maoists, from human rights activists who support them, or the left-leaning intellectuals," he added. Terming Naxalites as "anti-development", he further said, "In 2009 alone, they have caused 183 violent attacks on economic targets including railway tracks, telephone towers, power plants, mines, school buildings and panchayat bhavans." Chidambaram later said, if the Naxalites accuse the elected governments of capitalism, land grabbing, exploiting and displacing the tribal people, and denying rights of forest-dwellers, what prevents them from winning power through elections and reversing current policies and putting in place policies that they think will benefit the people?

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