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Pranab suggests talks with Maoists in Bengal

By Staff
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Kolkata, Apr 19: Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee today said the West Bengal Government should hold dialogues with the Maoists to solve the problem of extremism raging in three southern districts of the state, on the line of Andhra Pradesh.

''There is no second way but to hold dialogues with the Maoists.

The Government has to do it besides modernising and strengthening the law enforcing machinery,'' he said at a meet-the-press programme here.

Observing that under development was the reason behind extremism flourishing in Purulia, Bankura and West Midnapore districts, Mr Mukherjee said there was all pervading frustration among the youth who had been attracted by 'revolutionary romanticism'.

''I agree with the Maoists that there has been no development in those areas. I have visited those areas and experienced the situation. Even Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has admitted it,'' he said.

When his attention was drawn to the failure of dialogues between the Andhra Pradesh Government and Naxalites, Mr Mukehrjee said the result was not expected to come overnight and despite hiccups, attempts for negotiated settlement should be pursued.

He said as part of its attempt to resolve the problem of extremism, the Centre had recently reintroduced the development scheme in 65 districts across the country, identified as Naxalite-affected.

UNI

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