Tuesday, February 5, 2008

CPI appeals to Naxals to contest polls


Dantewada, (CG) Feb 2 Appealing to Naxalites to enter the poll arena in Chhattisgarh on the lines of Nepal, the CPI has urged the Raman Singh-led BJP government to initiate dialogue with the ultras in order to bring them back to the mainstream.

A resolution in this regard was adopted at the CPI's two-day Dantewada district conference that concluded at Dhurli village today. Briefing reporters, CPI's state secretary, Mr C L Patel and national executive member, Mr Chittaranjan Bakshi said the conference appealed the Naxalites to join the electoral battle.

It urged the Chhattisgarh government to suspend the anti-naxal 'Salwa Judum' movement launched since June, 2005 and invite the Naxalites for talks through some NGO as mediator. "Peace in Naxal-hit areas could be restored only after the ultras were brought to negotiating table", said Mr Bakshi.

Declining to play the role of mediator due to ideological differences, the CPI leader said some NGOs were ready to act as mediator. Stating that backwardness and poverty led to the growth of Naxalism in the state, Mr Bakshi said the state government should initiate programmes for all-round development of the backward region. "The government is responsible for the backwardness," he said, adding the government should also facilitate the return of tribals, given shelter in relief camps, to their native villages.

The conference also opposed preparation of voters lists at relief camps, where those displaced due to the 'Salwa Judum' movement had been given shelter. It took exception to preventing senior CPI leader, Mr Gurudas Das Gupta from addressing a public meeting at Lohandiguda.

Residents of about 600 villages and hamlets in Dantewada had been given shelter in about 23 relief camps close to police stations. About 300 schools in these villages had been closed down and teachers attached with the relief camps.

Rural economy is in shambles with fields left uncultivated and domestic cattle let loose in forest or sold in panic after the villagers were caught in hostilities between Naxals and government-supported Salwa Judum volunteers.

Children housed in relief camps were covered under the mid-day meal scheme meant for school children, while other camp inmates were initially given subsidised foodgrain as ration. Now they eke out a living by working in construction works occasionally.

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