Abjure violence and we are prepared for talks: Chidambaram

New Delhi, Feb 23 (IANS) The government wants an explicit statement from the Maoists that they would stop violence, Home Minister P. Chidambaram said and also gave out a fax number Tuesday, a day after the rebels offered talks if all security operations were stopped.

‘I would like a short, simple statement from the CPI (Maoist) saying ‘we will abjure violence and we are prepared for talks’. I would like no ifs, no buts and no conditions,’ Chidambaram said.

‘I would like the statement to be faxed to 011-23093155. Once I receive the statement, I shall consult the prime minister and other colleagues and respond promptly,’ the statement added.

Home ministry officials said it had seen many versions of a statement reportedly made by the leaders of the CPI-Maoist stating that security operations should stop for 72 days – from Feb 25 to May 7.

‘In the absence of an authentic statement, the government is unable to respond to these versions,’ said a ministry official.

The Maoists Monday said they were game for a dialogue if the government put off its offensive against them.

Maoist leader Koteshwar Rao alias Kishenji had said in a statement: ‘We will halt our revolutionary counter-terrorism and counter-violence activities for the same number of days and hours that the government halts state terror and state violence against us.’

‘If the government halts state terror against us for 72 days from Feb 25 to May 7, then we are prepared to hold talks during this period,’ Kishenji said.

He also appealed to intellectuals to come forward and broker the talks.

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