Deadline given to Maoists not enough: Mahasweta

Kolkata: Noted writer-activist Mahasweta Devi today said the West Bengal government`s seven-day deadline to Maoists to lay down their arms was not enough and joint forces should be withdrawn from Junglemahal. "The 7-day deadline given is not enough and many more rounds of discussions are required to resolve the Junglemahal crisis," Devi told reporters here.

She was responding to queries about the peace prospects as the ultras were seeking talks while continuing violence. There was no question of being happy or unhappy with the progress of talks with the Maoists, the writer added.

"The state government will have to take responsibility of continuing the peace process. Resolution of the problems can be possible only through discussion," she said. "The state witnessed the Naxal movement. When chronic problems develop, such movements start. But joint forces is not a remedy," Devi said, demanding their withdrawal. She said it was wrong to "teach a lesson" to tribals in Junglemahal by keeping the joint forces there.

The social activist said she was yet to speak with the chief minister. "I will discuss this the next time I speak to her." Asked if she would appeal to Maoists to stop violence, Devi said, "I don`t know any Maoists."