The Telegraph
Thursday , December 1 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
CIMA Gallary

PC offers parleys amid fresh attack
Centre not to bow to violence

New Delhi, Nov. 30: Union home minister P. Chidambaram today warned militants that the government would not bend before violence but offered dignity for peace to outfits whether from Manipur, rest of the Northeast or the CPI (Maoist).

Chidambaram said Manipur was placed on high alert in view of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to the valley on December 3 but the IED blast did take place. An alert has been sent to the state in particular and the region in general following the Imphal blast, he said.

“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,” Chidambaram told militants in the Northeast.

He was replying to a question on why valley- based militants from Manipur could not be engaged in talks while the Kukis and Nagas in the hill areas were negotiating.

The talks were not happening because seven Manipur valley-based outfits had formed a united front led by N. Chaoren and were based out of the country (Myanmar), Chidambaram said.

“Not yet but that does not mean never,” said Chidambaram when asked why Manipur-based outfits were not ready for talks.

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

On the offer of “treatment with dignity”, he cited the example of the memorandum of settlement (MoS) signed on November 25 with the Assam-based outfit United People’s Democratic Solidarity (UPDS). The UPDS was able to extract division of Karbi Anglong district and get more autonomy for the area although a new state could not be negotiated.

In this season of peace settlements with militant groups of the Northeast, valley-based outfits are not willing.

In fact, it is a valley- based group that is suspected to be behind the blast today in Imphal in which one person was killed and at least two were injured.

Chidambaram repeated his plea to outfits to suspend violence but climbed down from the earlier condition of “surrender of arms” for talks.

“Suspend violence — that is enough at this stage,” he said, elaborating on the shift in the government’s stand.

He said the new stand had been decided upon in consultation with state chief ministers.

This is news for the Northeast militants.

When Chidambaram took over exactly three years ago, he had maintained that militants willing to talk should first surrender arms and then hold talks.

In fact, the common parameter is also important because Northeast mili- tants, especially the United National Liberation Front and the RPF/PLA have opened a new front with the CPI (Maoist).

While PLA cadres are known to have gone to central India to train CPI (Maoist) since 2009, the latter has shown solidarity by using front organisations to raise demands dear to valley-based groups and procure arms through the Northeast militants with bases in Myanmar.

Speaking to reporters yesterday, director-general of the BSF, U.K. Bansal, said the security forces were “alive to” the nexus between Maoists and militant groups in Northeast.