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Maoist leader rejects Chidambaram’s talks offer

Raipur, May 18 (Calcutta Tube) A top Maoist leader based in Chhattisgarh Tuesday rejected Home Minister P.Chidambaram’s offer of talks a day after the guerrillas massacred at least 31 people, triggering a bus blast in the state. He also warned of more attacks on policemen.

Ramanna, a top Maoist leader who reportedly masterminded April 6 killing of 76 policemen in Dantewada, Tuesday said talks were not possible until forces are withdrawn from the region.

‘There is a massive forces build-up and talks are not possible till they (forces) are withdrawn,’ Ramanna told a news channel from an undisclosed forested location in the restive Bastar region.

‘There is no question of giving up arms, the forces’ atrocities are on the rise day by day, and we hit the bus Monday to target the police force who were mixed up with civilians in the bus. I regret the killing of civilians but we will continue hitting policemen all over the country,’ the rebel leader said.

Chidambaram made a fresh offer of talks Tuesday in New Delhi, saying that talks could start if the guerrillas abjured violence for even 72 hours.

‘The Maoists should say we will suspend violence, and actually suspend violence from any day they fix for 72 hours. Within 72 hours, we’ll get the chief ministers’ support and we will respond,’ Chidambaram earlier told a television channel in the national capital.

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who visited Dantewada to the boost morale of policemen and civilians there, left for New Delhi late Tuesday to discuss with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh the rise in red terror in his state.

A powerful landmine exploded under a bus with over 50 people Monday as it passed through a forested stretch in Dantewada district, killing at least 31 people, many of them civilians.

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