Kathmandu, March 20
The government has decided to adopt carrot and stick approach to bring cadres and leaders of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal to mainstream politics. The CPN was recently designated a criminal outfit.
To begin with, families of cadres and leaders of CPN will not have to bear the brunt of the actions of their kin, as was the case during the Maoist insurgency.
Policy makers in the government are of the opinion that torturing families of Maoists during the 10-year People’s War had led to an unprecedented rise in the insurgency. No one knows that better than Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, who was one of the top commanders of Maoists.
According to Thapa’s Security Adviser Indrajit Rai, the police will only target cadres and leaders of the Chand-led outfit. He added that police would first try to convince them to abandon violence. “We’ll not send them to police custody, but will keep them in detention centres,” Rai told THT.
In the last one year, police have arrested around 400 CPN cadres and leaders, including CPN politburo member Mohan Karki and 56 others who were arrested after the blast outside Ncell office. Seventeen of them were arrested after CPN was declared a criminal outfit. “If even after the government’s soft approach they do not give up violence, they will be dealt with as per the law,” Rai added.
Rai said the government’s crackdown on families of Maoists forced them to join the insurgents to escape torture by security forces. The government wants to avoid that.
According to sources in the government, a few leaders of the CPN have shown keenness to join political mainstream. “The government is in touch with them,” Rai said. According to him, a few cadres of the group have cooperated with the government and disclosed the outfit’s future strategy.
“However, there are others who have disclosed nothing,” Rai said. He reiterated that police would deal with the hardcore ones as per the law.
The government banned CPN’s activities after it learnt that it was trying to target top leaders of the ruling party.
“The government banned the outfit to minimise risk to the top leaders and to maintain peace,” Rai said.
According to him, the government has gathered intelligence that the CPN is preparing to fight against the state forces by forming political, militant, cultural and public relations groups.
Chand does not believe in multi-party democracy and police have intensified its operation against his outfit and its cadres.
A version of this article appears in print on March 21, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.