Kolkata, Dec 23 (ANI): Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram has asked Maoists to abjure violence and said the government is ready to address their grievances.
Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a seminar here on Tuesday, Chidambaram said: "The government might set up an alternative government structure in the tribal areas, if Maoists come forth to negotiate with logical suggestions.
" We know that they will not lay down arms. So we are not asking them to lay down arms. Abjure violence and come to (negotiating) table and we ask the state governments to talk to Maoists and address their grievances that requires alternative government structure in some of these tribal areas. We can explore that also," he added.
The Maoist violence -- estimated to cause 600 to 700 deaths annually and the displacement 100,000 civilians-has spread to 182 of India's 602 districts and has been declared as the country's single biggest internal security challenge.
The Maoists have stepped up violence across eastern and central India.
They have attacked schools and police stations, and used landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) to disrupt infrastructure development projects.
The main objective of the Maoists is to prevent the development of infrastructure in remote areas, which so far has remained their exclusive domain.
Thousands have been killed by Maoists in the recent past. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has described the Maoist threat one of the gravest homegrown threats to India's internal security.
The Maoists claim they are fighting for the rights of poor farmers and landless labourers, but they are fast losing credibility as they continue attacking schools, hospitals and infrastructure projects. (ANI)