Saturday, October 16, 2004

India: Maoist Peace Talks - Conflicting signals from Andhra

[ Home minister K. Jana Reddy, who is leading a nine-member official delegation to the talks, Ramakrishna, secretary, state committee, Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist) and Amar, secretary, state committee, Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) Janashakti signed the ceasefire agreement, formalizing a truce which is already in force from June. According to the agreement between the two sides, while the CPI (Maoist) and CPI-ML Janashakti would not attack police, politicians and government officials, the police would not launch combing operations against the Maoists. The Maoists agreed not to kill anyone in the name of "informers" or police spies and asked the government not to use "coverts" against them. The Maoists also assured that they would not damage public or private property during the truce period. The government was asked not to prevent people coming to meet Maoist leaders in forests. ]

2 POSTS

Andhra government, Maoists sign truce accord, to continue talks

Path-breaking talks between the Maoist rebels and the Andhra Pradesh government began here Friday on a positive note with both sides signing a truce accord and agreeing to continue their parleys Saturday.

Official sources said the agreement would be in force for three months during which the two sides would not resort to any armed action against each other.

Home minister K. Jana Reddy, who is leading a nine-member official delegation to the talks, Ramakrishna, secretary, state committee, Communist Party of India (CPI) (Maoist) and Amar, secretary, state committee, Communist Party of India Marxist-Leninist (CPI-ML) Janashakti signed the ceasefire agreement, formalizing a truce which is already in force from June.

The talks, which began at 10.30 a.m. amid tight security in the serene atmosphere at Marri Chenna Reddy Institute of Human Resource Development in the posh Jubliee Hills neighbourhood, continued for more than 10 hours.

Both Reddy and Ramakrishna described the talks as "friendly" and "cordial".

According to the agreement between the two sides, while the CPI (Maoist) and CPI-ML Janashakti would not attack police, politicians and government officials, the police would not launch combing operations against the Maoists.

The Maoists agreed not to kill anyone in the name of "informers" or police spies and asked the government not to use "coverts" against them.

The Maoists also assured that they would not damage public or private property during the truce period. The government was asked not to prevent people coming to meet Maoist leaders in forests.

It may be recalled that the Maoists last month agreed to sign a ceasefire agreement after the government dropped the controversial condition from the draft that they should not carry weapons during the period of talks.

As soon as the talks began, the Maoist parties conveyed their unhappiness to the government on its going ahead with the construction of Pulichintala irrigation project.

Amar told newsmen before talks began Friday morning that Chief Minister Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy was laying the foundation stone for the project in Guntur despite the Maoists opposing it. They say construction of the project at the present site would affect the interests of the Telangana region.

As soon as the talks began, Ramakrishna informed the home minister that he and two other leaders were participating in the talks as representatives of CPI (Maoist) following the merger of their party CPI-ML People's War with Maoist Communist Centre of India.

Congress legislator and former minister Marri Sashidhar Reddy, one of the nine government representatives, is not attending the talks.

A total of 27 people were present, including three leaders and three representatives of CPI (Maoist), two leaders and two representatives of CPI-ML Janashakti and eight mediators. Civil liberties activist Balagopal is a special invitee as mediator.

Indo-Asian News Service 16/10/2004


2. Quit violent ways, govt to naxals

Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad



The Andhra Pradesh government on Friday urged the naxalites to leave the path of violence and adopt the constitutional path and work for finding solutions to the people's problems within the country's legal framework.

In his opening remarks at the first-ever talks with the People's War and Janashakthi naxalites, home minister K Jana Reddy made an impassioned plea to the naxalites to join the mainstream and suggest solutions to the problems confronting the people and the state within the confines of the law of the land.

The two sides signed a ceasefire agreement, which will remain in force for the next three months. Though the two sides are adhering to a ceasefire declared in mid-June this year, this is the first time they have formalised the truce.

The copy of the four-page speech, delivered by Jana Reddy at the closed-door meeting with the naxalite leaders, was made available to waiting media persons at Dr Marri Channa Reddy HR Institute, the venue of the peace parleys, in the evening.

Jana Reddy, who is leading an eight-member official delegation at the talks, said that "the government hopes to create a situation where there will be no need for arms. Our constitution and law give freedom to the people to raise their problems and protest in a manner which will not disturb peace."

"The revolutionary parties should eschew the path of armed struggle and take the path of the Constitution. We want the talks to solve the people's problems. The government has neither ulterior motive nor hidden agenda in pursuing peace process. Its only aim is to usher in lasting peace and rule of law so that the aspirations of people can be fulfilled," he said.

"Even while differing with the ideology of the revolutionary parties, our government has invited you for talks with our abiding faith in democracy. We are putting forth our views freely and you can express your opinions freely and suggest solutions within the framework of the Constitution. We will hold talks to solve problems through continuous cooperation," he added.

The naxalite leaders took exception to the government going ahead with the construction of Pulichintala irrigation project , which, they contended, would harm the interests of the people of backward Telangana region and stabilise the delta in the agriculturally rich coastal belt. Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhar Reddy has laid the foundation stone for the multi-billion rupee project on Friday. The Home Minister assured to convey their sentiments to the Chief Minister.

The talks between the government representatives and leaders and emissaries of Communist Party of India (Maoist) (earlier known as People's War) and CPI-Marxist-Leninist Janashakti began at around 11am and continued till?Friday evening. Apart from the six-member CPI-Maoist delegation and five-member Janashakti team, eight mediators are also participating in the in-camera talks, which will be resumed on Saturday and go on for a couple of days in the first round.

Rediff 15/10/2004