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Warning & dignity offer to rebels

Chidambaram

New Delhi, Nov. 30: Home minister P. Chidambaram today warned insurgents the state wouldn’t bend before violence but offered to treat with “dignity” any outfit if they came for peace talks, whether they were Maoists or rebels from the Northeast.

Along with the gift-wrapped warning, the minister rejected allegations that CPI (Maoist) top gun Kishan was killed in a fake encounter.

“Reports indicate that he was killed in a gun battle that started on November 22 and concluded on November 24. We have no doubt he was killed in an encounter,” Chidambaram told reporters on a day he completed three years as Union home minister.

He also said the Bengal government had ordered a probe in accordance with the norms of the National Human Rights Commission.

Chidambaram promised to treat militant groups with “dignity” if they came for talks, but said the rebels would first have to “suspend violence”.

“The state will not bend before anyone who uses violence as an instrument of policy to achieve political demands. That is why we tell them: suspend violence and come for talks and, when you come for talks, you will be treated with dignity and honour and we can resolve your political demands through talks,” he said.

“It (the offer) applies to the Maoists (too),” he added.

He said the Maoists only needed to “suspend” violence and not surrender arms in the run-up to the talks. “You suspend violence and, within 72 hours, my office will get back to you with the venue and time for talks,” he said. “Suspend violence that is enough at this stage,” he added, extending the offer to also militants from Manipur.

This is the first time since he took over that Chidambaram has made such an offer to Northeast rebels. Till now, he had insisted that Northeast insurgents should surrender arms before coming for talks.