Kolkata, Feb 9: Putting forward a condition to hold talks with Maoists, home minister P Chidambaram has said that Maoists have to abstain from violence before coming to the discussion table.
"If you abjure violence, that is if you call a halt to violence, we are not asking you do anything more, we are prepared to talk to you on any (subject)," he said after his meeting with chief ministers of the West Bengal, Orissa, Jharkhand and Bihar, including the top officials of all the four Maoists-affected-states.
Pointing to arrest of top Moaists leaders, Chidambaram said that the anti-Maoists operation was achieving a slow but steady progress.
" We have made it very clear that the purpose of these operations is not to kill anyone. These are our own people, we care for them, we care for their lives. The object is to re-establish civil administration in areas now dominated by Naxalites. I think progress will be slow but steady," he said.
Chidambaram said that the progress cannot be measured like that of a cricket match, but it will take place gradually.
"You cannot measure the progress of the operation like a scoreboard in a cricket match. Progress is steady and slow. We will continue to make progress. In fact considerable progress has been made..." he said.
Acknowledging inefficiency in security measures, the home minister assured of overcoming the drawbacks.
The meeting to discuss the Maoists issue was attended by chief ministers of West Bengal and Orissa, the two deputy chief ministers of Jharkhand and top officials of all four states