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PW names nominee for talks

By Our Staff Reporter

HYDERABAD, JUNE 21. Hailing the Government's acceptance of its demands for holding talks, the People's War has announced that it will also follow the three-month `ceasefire' starting from June 16. The "historic agreement," the naxalite group said, was a "people's victory and a recognition of the democratic will of people by both parties".

In a statement released to the press here on Monday, PW Polit Bureau member, Prakash, also disclosed that the Central Committee and the Polit Bureau had decided to nominate its State Secretary, Ramakrishna, as the official nominee for the proposed talks.

Significantly, the PW also declared it would not oppose activities of any political party during the ceasefire and similarly, the naxal group should be allowed to propagate its political ideology. "We wish to inform people and the Government that we would not take any step that will result in loss of life during the ceasefire," he affirmed.

However, Mr. Prakash said it would take some time for the cessation of hostilities to percolate down to the cadre as there were three State-level committees and the circular has to reach all party members and guerrilla squads. "This delay is because our party is banned and we have to function secretly. But, our comrades would certainly hold fire after listening to the news on radio and television," he said.

There were chances of minor incidents occurring during the three-month period if and when they happen; corrective measures would be taken to see that they do not recur. The onus was also on the Government to maintain the conducive atmosphere by halting: fake encounters, combing operations, operations by the Greyhounds personnel, harassments, arrests and also by curbing activities of coverts, informers and renegade naxal gangs, Mr. Prakash said.

Reacting to the Home Minister, K. Jana Reddy's appeal to naxalites to stay away from villages, the PW said it should not be treated as a "prestige issue." Guerrilla squads visit villages to support the poor and downtrodden and arms are taken along only for protection. "We will hold fire as long as police or gangs supported by them do so," he said.

Police were welcome to visit villages in case of any clashes, he said and claimed that in villages frequented by naxalites robberies, clashes, atrocities against women, minorities or the weaker sections were rare. "There won't be any law and order problem if the police do not get unnecessarily involved and we are allowed to roam freely. We can even prevent farmers suicides, harassment and corruption by Government officials in the villages," he said.

The PW said it had certain limitations in reacting immediately to either the ceasefire or on the proposed talks because of the ban and the rewards on its leaders continued to be in force and appealed to the Government to understand its plight.

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