Kolkata, Oct 8: Magsaysay Award winning writer Mahasweta Devi Saturday demanded that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee keep her pre-poll promise of withdrawing joint forces from Maoist-hit areas of the state.
‘I am seeing that those who said that they will withdraw joint forces after coming to power have not done that. I still feel that joint forces should be withdrawn from the Junglemahal area,’ the octogenarian writer told a media meet.
As an opposition leader, the Trinamool Congress supremo had time and again claimed that there were no Maoists in the state and that she would withdraw joint forces from ‘Junglemahal’ (forested stretches of the Maosit-hit Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore districts) after coming to power.
The Maoists Tuesday announced they were prepared to hold arms for a month if the West Bengal government halted the joint security forces’ operation and build a congenial atmosphere for dialogue.
‘I don’t think there is any problem which can’t be solved through dialogue. It is time that our chief minister sits with Maoists leaders. Through mutual discussion everything can be solved. I have earlier requested (former chief minister) Buddhadeb (Bhattacharjee) and now I have told Mamata to sit with the Maoist leaders,’ said Mahasweta Devi, who had backed Banerjee to the hilt during her agitations against the previous Left Front regime.
When asked about Banerjee’s proposal for recruiting 10,000 local tribal youths in the police force for fighting the guerrillas, she said: ‘How can I say why she said that but she has to explain whether her state needs such kind of police force or not. There are a lot of youths who are jobless and now whether they want to join these forces or not, that I don’t know.’