Monday, August 30, 2010

India: Peace Talks mediator exits peace process, says govt is not serious

Sun Aug 29 2010

Kolkata : Swami Agnivesh who had been assigned to act as a mediator between the government and the Maoists and bring them to the talks table, has decided to stay out of the peace process as according to him the UPA government lacks the seriousness to start negotiations with the Maoists.

“I have decided to stay out of the process until Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram show any positive response to the initiative. I have tried to communicate some information and messages, which I received from the central committee of the CPI-Maoists. I had asked the Prime Minister’s office to arrange an appointment with the PM, but even after a month I have not received any response from the PMO,” an irate Agnivesh told The Indian Express.

Earlier, Agnivesh had been requested to act as a mediator by Chidambaram.

“From July 20 onwards, I have gone to the PMO and approached the officers on phone more than 15 times. But I was not given any satisfactory reply. If the Prime Minister does not have time for a serious discussion, which is very important for the future of the country, they why should I bother about it? It is not my domestic work. So, I have decided to stay aloof from the peace process till I receive any positive response from the Centre,” he said.

Asked about any response from the Maoists’ side after Kishenji’s press statement mentioning their willingness to join the peace process, Agnivesh said: “After I explained my points to the central committee members of the CPI-Maoists, they agreed to join the peace process if the government orders a judicial probe into Azad’s death. They are also ready to give specific dialogue dates. But, I also do not want to proceed if there is no inquiry into Azad’s death as I am already bearing the moral responsibility of Azad’s death,” said Agnivesh.

“I am surprised to see that the Prime Minister keeps on telling in his speech that the Maoists should come forward to join the peace process and abjure violence. But when they are willing to join the process – if only one condition is fulfilled – then why the government is not taking the matter seriously?” asked Agnivesh.

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