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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Call to Naxalites to lay down arms - Raipur

An hour-long interaction with a group of Chhattisgarh children reeling under the impact of Maoist violence today prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to exhort the rebels to shun the culture of guns and embrace peace.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the children at Education City in Chhattisgarh on Saturday.

Modi, on a visit to the country's one of the worst Maoist-affected pockets in the restive Bastar region, dropped in at Education City run by the Chhattisgarh government in Dantewada. The centre houses some 800 students, including the physically challenged and also those who lost their parents in Maoist violence.

After spending around an hour with the children, playing musical instruments and replying to their queries, the Prime Minister said: "I interacted with the children whose parents were killed by the Maoists. The experiences and hardships that they shared can even melt the hearts of hardcore Maoists."

Urging rebels to shun guns and spend five days with the children without revealing their identity, Modi said: "Only plough on the shoulders and not guns can bring development. And this will bring everyone to the mainstream of the country. There is no future of violence. The future is only of peaceful means."

Reiterating that transformation was imminent in Bastar, Modi asked whether anybody had ever thought of violence coming to an end in Punjab or Naxalbari giving up Maoism.

"The birthplace of Naxalite movement, Naxalbari, has already given up this violent means. Don't get disheartened. The macabre drama of death will end. Chhattisgarh will emerge to be one of the top states in the country in terms of economic growth once Maoism is eradicated," he added.

Modi's appeal to rebels to give up arms came amid reports of Maoists allegedly taking 250 villagers hostage just ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to Bastar.

Later, the rebels released the villagers but not before killing one of them for working for a construction project that they opposed.

Bastar IG S.R.P. Kalluri said the Maoists held a kangaroo court in Gaadem and Munga villages and ordered the murder of Sadaram, who was working as supervisor with a firm building a road. The rebels awarded death sentence to Sadaram, a native of Marenga village. They later slit his throat.

Earlier, MoUs were signed for four projects in Bastar with proposed investments of Rs 24,000 crore in the red zone.

Source: The Telegraph , 9th May 2015 

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