Raipur, Oct 1 (PTI) People from different walks of life will embark on a peace march from Tuesday to spread the message of peace and harmonyin the insurgency-hit areas of central India.

The march, `Shanti Padyatra, will begin from Shabri Ashram in Chatti village of Andhra Pradesh on the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2,Shubhranashu Chowdhary, one of theconvenersof the event, told PTI.

After covering a distance of 186km through the Dandakaranya forest for 11 days, it will conclude at Jagdalpur (Bastar’s district headquarter) on October 12, he said.

As many as 200 people, including local tribals, social activists, thinkers and teachers from Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Jharkhand will take part in the yatra, he said.

“Its aim is to promote peace between all the parties in the insurgency-hit areas in three states (Chhattisgarh, AP and Telangana) to find amicable solutions by leaving the history of violence behind,” Chowdhary said.

About 12,000 people have died in the past 20 years due to Maoist violence and operations carried out by security forces. Of these, 9,300 were adivasis, the original inhabitants of these lands, he said.

It is not that peace moves have not been initiated in the past. The last one in 2004 between the Andhra Pradesh government and Naxalites had failed due to several reasons, he added.

Now, for the first time several social activists, teachers and thinkers have come together to give a fresh push to the efforts for establishing peace and harmony in the region, he added.

At the end of the march, a conclave called `Bastar Dialogue 1′ will be organised in Jagdalpur to chalk out future strategies to maintain peace in areas severely affected by insurgency, he added.

The peace initiative by citizens comes just months ahead of the assembly polls in Chhattisgarh.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.