High-level talks team to submit report today

- TIKA R PRADHAN, Kathmandu

Dec 26, 2018-

The high-level political talks team led by former minister Som Prasad Pande has prepared a 100-page report and will submit it to the prime minister on Wednesday.

After the Netra Bikram Chand-led Nepal Communist Party refused to sit for talks and CK Raut led Alliance for Independent Madhesh did not show interest to shun separatist movement, the government had decided to end the three-month term of the panel. The second extended term expires on Wednesday.

The term of the talks panel had been extended twice, but it   decided against further extension after it failed to make much headway as many fringe parties and unknown groups showed little interest in sitting for talks.

“We were preparing to present the report to the prime minister at 3pm today (Tuesday), but the meeting has been postponed for Wednesday due to his busy schedule,” said Leela Bhandari, a member of the panel.

Panel members said it has recommended the government for withdrawal of some 600 cases and open the door for dialogue with the two remaining forces.

The previous talks team under Ananda Prasad Dhungana had recorded around 1,100 cases related to those forces, the new panel identified around 600 cases. Out of that, 198 cases were of general nature and could be easily withdrawn, while 402 cases were of serious criminal nature. “Having studied in detail, the panel has recommended the government for withdrawal of those cases as many of them could have joined the forces after committing crimes just to seek refuge,” said Bhandari, adding that withdrawal of case and release of the detainees were major demands of the forces.

The panel held talks with 24 minor forces and convinced them to shun violent activities and join the mainstream politics. The panel held talks with 24 armed groups, of which only three have shun violence and handed their weapons to the government.

All the central leaders of the Chand-led CPN, including Spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Biswokarma were freed from police custody in coordination with the talks team in an effort to create the environment for dialogue. After the government received vital information from CPN Spokesman Biswokarma on the party’s plans to recruit militants and to procure weapons through donations, the government had re-arrested several of its central leaders despite repeated orders of the Supreme Court to release them.

Though some CPN leaders seemed eager to come for talks, dialogue team members and government officials said they were not sure if the CPN was sincere about the engagement.

The Tarai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha Krantikari-Abinash group handed 10 katuwa guns; two revolvers, a dozen 12-bore rifles and nine ammunitions; Akhil Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha Bibek group submitted four country-made pistols and Khambuwan Mukti Morcha Samyukta led by David Khambu surrendered five country-made guns and a magazine and five ammunitions. However, four leaders of the Tarai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha Krantikari, including Jaya Krishna Goit, refused to sit for talks.

Suresh Ale Magar, a member of the talks team, said the panel had also suggested the government to hold talks with the Raut-led AIM only if they shun separatist movement.

Another member of the panel claimed that the AIM leaders, during informal discussions, had urged the panel to continue with talks hinting that they could change the provisions of their statute.

Published: 26-12-2018 08:06

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