Friday, September 02, 2005

Lift Naxal ban, get back to talks: Chandrasekhara Rao (Hostage of Naxals)

PRADEEP KAUSHAL

NEW DELHI, SEPTEMBER 1 Days after Andhra Pradesh revived the ban on Left extremists, its key ally in the state and Centre, the Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS), today demanded that Y S R Reddy’s Congress government return to the negotiating table with Naxalites.

TRS chief and Union Minister K. Chandrasekhara Rao—whose party performed exceptionally well in the Naxalite-dominated Telangana region in the last Assembly polls—met UPA chief Sonia Gandhi and handed over a memorandum demanding that she ‘‘instruct’’ the state government to lift the ban, revive peace talks and ‘‘give up’’ fake encounters.

Accompanied by TRS MLAs and MPs, Rao also met PM Manmohan Singh and Home Minister Shivraj Patil and demanded their intervention to ‘‘correct the situation’’.

In the memorandum to Sonia, Rao stated that the ‘‘emergence and spread of Naxalite movement in Telangana is the consequence of a prolonged and deliberate neglect’’ of the region. Therefore, ‘‘unleashing a reign of terror in the name of maintaining law and order can never be a solution...’’

On the issue of a separate Telangana state, Rao told reporters that the time had come for him to decide whether to continue in the UPA or not.

Seeking to mobilise other UPA partners to mount pressure on the Congress for a solution, Rao met NCP chief Sharad Pawar, who agreed to back him. Pawar and Rao resolved to convene a meeting of non-Congress UPA partners on September 8 to discuss the issue. The TRS chief said he may also meet RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav and LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan soon.

Rao, who pulled all six TRS ministers out of the YSR Government in July on this issue, was particularly upset over the Chief Minister’s claim that support for a separate state was disappearing due to the development work in the region. ‘‘It is not the Telangana demand, but Reddy who will disappear,’’ he said.

Maoists hit GQ firm

PATNA: CPI (Maoist) activists last night blew up the administrative office of a company involved in constructing roads in Bihar under the Golden Quadrilateral project. Police said that around 50 extremists of the banned Naxalite outfit blew up the office of the East Coast Insulation Construction Company near Tarachandi village in Sasaram district with dynamite. There were no casualties but documents and furniture were damaged, they added. — ENS



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