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Last Updated: Monday, 18 October, 2004, 16:02 GMT 17:02 UK
State chief's warning to Maoists
By Omer Farooq
BBC correspondent in Hyderabad

YS Rajashekhar Reddy
Reddy rejected redistribution of land to the poor
The chief minister of the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh has issued a warning to Maoists on the last scheduled day of talks with the rebels.

YS Rajashekhar Reddy said on Monday his government could only accept demands made within constitutional limits.

The Maoists say they will not give up their arms and insist corporate-held land should be distributed to the poor.

A government team began talks with the People's War Group in state capital, Hyderabad, on Friday.

Mr Reddy's statement is significant since the rebels have insisted the government should not force them to work within the framework of the constitution.


Although Mr Reddy said he wanted the talks to succeed, he could not allow the rebels to carry weapons because he had to uphold the constitution of India.

He outrightly rejected the demand that the government should take over the land of companies in and around Hyderabad and distribute them among the poor.

He said the Maoists seemed to be playing to the gallery.

The chief minister also said there were fears that the rebels were trying to buy time to strengthen themselves.

"These are apprehensions which we just cannot wish away," he said.

Mr Reddy said the next round of talks would be decided after seeing the results of the first round.

The PWG was founded in 1980 and since then has been waging an armed struggle for the creation of a communist state comprising the tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Bihar and Chhattisgarh.

More than 6,000 people have died in violence over the past two decades.

Last week, the PWG merged with the Maoist Communist Centre to become the Communist Party of India (Maoist).

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