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Govt appoints S R Sankaran to mediate with naxals

Our Regional Bureau  |  Hyderabad 

The state government on Tuesday appointed S R Sankaran, a retired IAS officer and convener of the Committee of Concerned Citizens (CCC), as the mediator for the forthcoming peace talks with the People's War Group (PWG).
Sankaran will head a team of mediators, which is yet to be constituted by the government.
In a related development, the state government has handed over the first ever official letter addressed to PWG designate for the proposed talks, to PWG emissary balladeer Gadar yesterday.
The letter contains responses to the crucial PWG letter sent through Gadar a couple of days ago which apparently laid down some more prerequisites like lifting the ban besides the government's own conditions. Both the PWG and the government were tightlipped over the contents of their letters.
Addressing a press conference, state home minister K Jana Reddy refused to disclose the contents or the conditionalities put forward by the PWG in its latest letter, and merely said that the extremist group has raised some seven to eight points in its letter.
When asked whether the government would lift the ban on PWG, he said that there was time up to July 22, when the ban expires, to decide on the issue.
Replying to other questions, Jana Reddy said that both the parties needed some more time to arrive at an understanding before the talks begun.
By appointing S R Sankaran as its mediator, the government has picked up the course which the previous TDP government had abandoned midway.
Sankaran, along with other prominent personalities associated with the CCC, had volunteered mediation between the state government and the PWG group two years ago.
Both the parties agreed for talks after the active consultations by the citizen forum, which was formed to end the naxal related violence.
The TDP government had abandoned talks soon after they were started and said that the PWG's intentions were not honourable.

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First Published: Wed, June 30 2004. 00:00 IST