Karnataka open to dialogue with Maoists

Bangalore, June 18 (IANS) The Karnataka government is ready to hold a dialogue with Maoists to resolve their issues and address grievances to ensure peace in the areas they are active in, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah said Tuesday.

"We are open to dialogue with Maoists or Left-wing elements though we are opposed to their activity, which is against the rule of law. Let them come for talks. We are ready to discuss all their issues across the table," Siddaramaiah told editors of local newspapers and bureau chiefs of news agencies at his home office here.

Clarifying that the Maoist menace in the state was not as alarming as in other affected states, the chief minister said the rebels' activity was confined to three-four districts and had been largely contained by vigil and deployment of security forces.

"We are willing to engage them in dialogue and work for the development of the affected people, especially tribals in the backward regions of the state. We will also rehabilitate those (Maoists) who are willing to surrender, eschew violence and give up arms," Siddaramaiah asserted.

Admitting that Maoist activity was matter of concern and had to be addressed on priority, the chief minister said he was not in favour of approaching the central government to declare the affected districts as disturbed areas as the situation was under control with an anti-Maoist force in place.

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