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KOLKATA: Responding to the President and Prime Minister's appeal to abjure violence and come for dialogue with the Centre, the Communist Party of India (Maoist) leadership on Tuesday declared that it was ready for talks under the mediation of Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee but only if a 72-day ceasefire was maintained.
The Maoists also demanded a judicial probe into the killing of their spokesperson Cherukuri Rajkumar alias Azad, and the resignation of Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K. Rosaiah as pre-conditions for their coming to the dialogue table.
In a statement, Maoist Polit Bureau member Kishanji said if the Centre was serious about a dialogue, it should constitute a mediation committee comprising Ms. Banerjee; social activists Medha Patkar, Swami Agnivesh, Arundhati Roy and B.D. Sharma; journalist Gautam Navlakha and MP Kabir Suman.
He expressed doubts over the Centre's intention of starting a dialogue, citing the “inconsistency” in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's appeal for talks and his assertion that security operations would continue.
“What President Pratibha Patil said on the eve of the Independence Day was only the version of the Prime Minister's Office. Both the President and the Prime Minister should make their stands clear if they are ready for talks,” Kishanji said.
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