Govt ready for talks with Maoists if they express faith in Constitution: Baghel



Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel said that Maoist incidents in the state have gone down and are continuously decreasing.

RAIPUR: Expressing satisfaction over the decline of Maoist incidents in the state, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel on Friday said that the government is ready to hold talks with the Maoists if they express their faith in the Constitution of India.

“I have been saying from the first day we formed the government in the state that if the Maoists express faith in the Constitution of India, then our government is ready for talks at any platform,” the chief minister told reporters on Friday.

When asked about the Kondagaon district of Bastar division being moved from ‘most affected district’ to ‘district of concern’ by ministry of home affairs (MHA) in the list of worst-Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts, Baghel said, “This is fact that Maoist incidents have gone down in the state and are continuously decreasing… Earlier only the news related to Maoism used to dominate in both electronic and print media. We have done this through our public welfare schemes and the trust of the people”.

According to the state government records, in the last five years Maoist related violence has dipped from 479 incidents in 2017 to 226 in 2021.

While 337 Maoists have been killed in police encounters in the same period, the total number of Maoist arrests have gone down from 1,016 in 2017 and 1,136 in 2018 to 487 in 2021.Over the last five years, 218 security force personnel and 256 civilians too have been killed in Bastar.

“We want peace and normalcy to return to Bastar and the region and make various efforts in this direction,” Baghel added.

Baghel, in his first interview with HT after forming the government in 2019, had said that Maoism is a politico-economic problem which could not be eradicated by security forces and streamlining of affected people is important. Baghel had then said that the government will have to create trust among the tribals of Bastar and claimed that any ideology should not be tackled with guns.

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