Mamata sticks to Azad remark made in Lalgarh

Written by: Samyuktha
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Mamata Banerjee
New Delhi, Aug 18: Despite facing severe criticism over her controversial statement condemning the way Maoist leader Azad was killed, Union Railway Minister, Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday, Aug 18 said that she still stands by the statement she made during the Aug 9 Lalgarh rally.

"Whatever I said in Lalgarh as a Trinamool chief, I stick to it. In our democratic set up we always prefer an amicable settlement and peaceful solution and we want all the people to come out through the national stream," she said.

Speaking at the rally in Lalgarh, a Maoist hotbed, Banerjee had said, "I feel the way Azad was killed is not correct. I feel the process of holding talks with the Maoists should start. We pay respect to his soul from this meeting."

This statement from a key ally of the ruling UPA government had created a furore in the Parliament with demands for an explanation on the statement pouring in.

The statement yet again came into the attention of media when the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist on Tuesday, Aug 17 named Mamata Banerjee as the possible mediator between the government and the red rebels, who have declared themselves ready for a three-month conditional ceasefire and talks.

When asked about the talks, the minister said she wanted to look into the details first.

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