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Stalemate over naxal talks persists

By Our Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD, JAN. 18. Uncertainty prevailed today over the prospects of resumption of talks with naxalites with neither side taking any worthwhile initiative to break the deadlock.

Expressing concern at the turn of events, 12 members of the Ceasefire Monitoring Committee held a three-hour-long meeting with the Home Minister, K. Jana Reddy, to explore the possibility of breaking the impasse.

But with no word available from the Maoists themselves or their emissaries, the exercise ended without any outcome.

The members, led by G. Chakrapani, a professor, and K. Srinivasa Reddy, a journalist, while appreciating the continued efforts made by the Minister for resumption of the talks expressed dismay that the first-ever attempt by any Government to hold a meaningful dialogue with the extremists had met a sad fate.

Call for restraint

Terming the deadlock unfortunate, the appealed to both sides to exercise restraint and not to resort to acts which might thwart the peace process. The country, as a whole, wanted the peace initiative to go forward, they said. They offered whatever cooperation was required from their side to break the ice.

People of the State and the country were unhappy that the exercise got bogged down over issues which could easily be resolved.

Discordant note

The committee leaders said they were disappointed at the Home Minister's request to inquire three minor incidents in November, ignoring the more serious encounters.

The Minister handed over a January 11-dated order issued by the General Administration Department referring these cases to the committee, to the members.

The three incidents relate to opening of fire by naxalites on Venkateshwarlu at Malleshwaram in Mahabubnagar district, seriously injuring him, and two encounters at Kukkalagandhi and Gurikanivandlapalli in Karimnagar and Cuddapah districts respectively in which there was no loss of life.

When the members expressed their reluctance to probe the minor incidents and wanted to look into the serious ones also which took place recently, the Home Minister sought two days time to come back after consulting the Chief Minister, Y. S. Rajasekhara Reddy.

A positive aspect on which members were overwhelmed was that the Home Minister had agreed to put in efforts to end the crisis as early as possible.

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