High-level talks team holds dialogue with 22 outfits

Kathmandu, December 16

A high-level political dialogue team formed under Som Prasad Pandey held talks with 22 disgruntled and armed groups, and collected around 29 pieces of arms and ammunition from them. The team is preparing to submit its report within 15 days.

But the team failed to hold formal talks with Netra Bikram Chand-led Nepal Communist Party which is accused of indulging in extortion and other criminal activities.

The team didn’t show interest in holding talks with the CK Raut led-group, another disgruntled group.

Pandey who is also a lawmaker of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) said his team had signed agreements with 22 disgruntled and armed groups. He said these groups expressed their commitment to join mainstream peaceful politics.

The Pandey-led team had initially   identified 45 disgruntled and armed groups, including Netra Bikram Chand-led group and the CK Raut group. The team could not hold formal talks with the Chand group as Chand refused to meet the team members in person, a condition set by the team for holding talks with his group.

Earlier, Chand’s party had set conditions for holding talks demanding that the government release its cadres arrested across the country.

“We did not hold talks with the CK Raut group because they want to divide the country. Our mandate does not authorise us to talk to those groups that challenge the sovereignty of the country,” he said.

Pandey said although his team initially identified 45 disgruntled/armed groups, the team later found out that 25 groups did not exist anymore.

The team held consultations with former minister of peace and reconstruction Ram Kumar Shrestha and RakamChemjong, as well as former secretaries of those ministries.

The team had also consulted chiefs of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force, National Investigation Department and Criminal Investigation Bureau before holding talks with the groups.

The team also read all the agreements that the previous governments had forged with various disgruntled and armed groups.

The government  which had formed the high-level talks team on August 25, extended its deadline for 15 days more on December 10. Now the team will have to submit its report by December 25.