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India says no to talks with Maoists

NEW DELHI, May 23 (UPI) -- Amidst a rise in Maoist violence, India has made it clear it will not hold talks with armed groups unless they give up their weapons.

"The government viewed the Naxalite (Maoist) menace very seriously and remains committed to providing all possible help to coordinate and supplement the efforts and resources of Naxal-affected states to successfully counter the problem," Interior Minister Shivraj Patil told the Indian parliament.

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Patil said the affected states have been asked to post young and committed officers with a stable service history, both in civil and police administration, in the Naxal-torn districts.

He said such officers should be given greater power and flexibility to improve governance and ensure better delivery systems to facilitate rapid people-centric developmental activities in these areas under various schemes.

"The government is aware of the threat caused by the Naxalite menace, and remains fully committed and determined to combating it," Patil said, adding the government's policy was to address the problem on various fronts in a holistic and coordinated manner.

"There will be no dialogue with Naxalites unless they abjure violence and give up arms," Patil said, adding "a total of 29,000 people from the Naxal-affected areas were recruited in 2004."

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The interior minister said that 18,241 vacancies for the post of constable in Naxal-affected areas were yet to be filled for 2005-06.

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