Sunday, February 24, 2008

Ready for talks if Maoists eschew arms: Naveen Patnaik

Special Correspondent

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said he was prepared for a dialogue with the Maoists if they gave up arms.

“I am always prepared to have dialogue if they give up arms and violence and follow the path of peace,” Mr. Patnaik said responding to a query.

Talking to presspersons after holding a meeting to review the ongoing anti-naxal operations, Mr. Patnaik claimed that the police had already recovered 80 per cent of the looted arms and 70 per cent of the looted ammunition. The arms recovered from the Gasama forest in Ganjam district also include the weapons that the extremists used before the arms loot in Nayagarh on February 15 night.

The meeting also discussed the fortification of the armouries and police stations, and recruitment and training in the State police.

Earlier in the day, a group of human rights activists urged the State government and the Centre to hold dialogue with the Maoists and other naxalites to resolve the crisis. They, however, said that the dialogue should be held without any pre-condition.

At a press conference here, Manoranjan Mohanty of People’s Union for Democratic Rights also demanded that harassment of innocents in the name of picking of Maoists be stopped.

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