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PUCL Bulletin, March 2005

PM’s Reply to Kannabiran’s letter

Dear Shri Kannabiran,
I am in receipt of your letter of December 10, 2004, which makes a mention of the ongoing peace talks between the Government of Andhra Pradesh and Naxalite groups. I am aware of the developments with regard to the talks and that some problems have yet to be resolved. Nevertheless, our commitment to try to make the talks successful remains unaltered, and we hope that the CPI (Maoist) leaders would cooperate with us on this.

The October talks were, I believe, quite satisfactory, though certain issues do need to be clarified. The State Government is concerned at the open display of arms by naxalite carders during their visits to villages and habitats, which goes against the spirit and letter of Clause-7 of the Agreement arrived at between the two sides. Some new concerns have also emerged viz., the number of encroachments effected by Naxalite groups on public and private property, growing extortion demands, and the militant rhetoric indulged in by Naxalite leaders at rallies and meetings. Extortion demands, in particular, are causing a great deal of unease and the State Government has been compelled to take steps to allay fears of a virtual collapse of law and order.

Despite this, the authorities in Andhra Pradesh, specially the Chief Minister and the Home Minister, are anxious and remain committed to continuing the talks. There is also no intention on the part of the State Government to discontinue the present understanding - that neither side would undertake ‘offensive operations’ against each other.

I am told that pressure is now being extorted on naxalite groups by concerned citizens to avoid display of arms in public. The State Government seems hopeful that this would have a beneficial impact and are preparing to discuss Clause-7 as an agenda item at the next round of talks. I hope you will pressure this matter with the Naxalite groups and persuade them to see the wisdom of doing so.

I look forward to people like you and Shri Sankaran playing a very positive role in ensuring progress of the talks. I am aware of the yeoman role played by both of you in the past and hope that your efforts would prove eminently successful. This seems an opportune moment to write a new chapter in the history of Andhra Pradesh. With regards, Yours sincerely, Manmohan Singh

 

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