Kathmandu, October 23
The high-level political dialogue team formed by the government to hold talks with the agitating and disgruntled groups has said it will not hold dialogue with CK Raut-led outfit, stating that the issues it is raising are not of political nature.
The talks team concluded that the group is guided by separatism and aims to disintegrate the country, given it has a separate national anthem, separate national flag and separate country map.
“That’s why it cannot be a political group,” said the talks team coordinator Som Prasad Pandey. “So they are not on our list of groups we intend to hold talks with.”
Pandey, also a lawmaker representing the ruling Nepal Communist Party, however, said if the Raut-led outfit came forward with political demands, the team was always ready to hold dialogue.
The government is committed to listening to and addressing voices raised in the interest of the nation and Nepali people, and the talks team is only mandated to hold dialogue with political outfits, according to Pandey.
As far as Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal is concerned, the talks team has concluded that it is a political group with political demands, although it is guided by ‘some sort of extremism’.
The team has held informal talks with the CPN, which has put forth preconditions for talks such as releasing jailed members of its central committee, standing committee and politburo.
“The government has released all jailed CPN members, except for one who will be released soon,” said Pandey, adding that the government was also adopting maximum flexibility to bring such outfits to the talks table and political mainstream. “We will soon send a letter to the CPN formally inviting them for talks.”
The talks team has so far held formal first-phase talks with 16 of the 32 outfits which have come into its contact.
During the talks, the groups have put forth demands such as declaring cadres who died in jail as martyrs; releasing those who have been jailed; dropping all charges against jailed cadres; annulling arrest warrants issued against their cadres; compensation; and resettlement and rehabilitation, including employment opportunity. Some have even expressed their readiness to dissolve if their demands are addressed.
Although the government has expressed its willingness to address their demands, according to Pandey, the major problems are related to ongoing cases of serious nature against some leaders and cadres of such dissident groups.
The talks team today held a meeting with Minister of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa on how to address such cases serious nature to create a favourable environment for talks.
According to Pandey, Home Minister Thapa expressed his commitment to adopt maximum flexibility — from scrapping cases to rolling back arrest warrants and releasing jailed cadres and leaders of such outfits — to bring all the disgruntled groups to the political mainstream under the constitution.
A version of this article appears in print on October 24, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.