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Rajnath Singh
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh (File Photo)

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday said the Centre is ready to hold talks
with Maoists if they shun violence unconditionally.

“I want to appeal to them (Maoists) to shun the path of violence and join the mainstream … Government is ready to hold talks with them if they give up violence without any condition,” Singh told reporters in this Maoist-hit district after reviewing the situation arising out of Left wing extremism in Odisha.

Violence has no place in a democratic set up, Singh, who is here on a day’s visit, said adding Maoists should give up arms and come forward for talks.

The NDA government, he said, has launched a host of welfare and development schemes and Maoists should give up arms and avail the benefits of these programmes.

Defending police action in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, where some Maoists were killed, the Union minister said security forces are often compelled to retaliate in self defence and in the process naxals are killed.

Commending the role of Odisha government, the state police, administration and also the para-military forces in anti-Maoist operations, Singh congratulated officials too.

“They are performing very well,” he said.

The home minister held a two-hour meeting to review the anti-Maoist operations with top officials of the state police, BSF , CRPF and district administration.

His visit to the area belt was significant in view of LWE menace in neighboring states Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, sources said adding the situation in Odisha-Andhra border
areas also remained a cause of concern.

Among those present at the review meeting were Odisha Home Secretary Asit Tripathy and Director General of Police K B Singh.