JTNM no less armed than Maoists, says leader

Dhangadhi, June 30:

Former Maoist commander and Joint Tharu National Morcha (JTNM) leader Laxman Chaudhari (Roshan) said today that the JTNM has as many weapons as the Maoists possess.

Talking to this daily, Roshan, who went underground for two months after dissociating himself from the party, said: “We also have the type of weapons that the Maoists possess. When we were cooperating with the Maoists, they used to ask us to hide their weapons,” he said.

Asked how many weapons they had, he said: “Dayan, the army adviser of UNMIN chief Ian Martin, also asked me this question when he met me in June. We have some four quintals of arms and ammunition,” Roshan said, adding: “I told Dayan that I am ready to submit the weapons to the UNMIN under certain conditions. The weapons that we were ordered to hide during the locking up of the Maoists’ arms in cantonments are with us.”

“Prachandapath is not acceptable for me,” he said, adding: “I am a supporter of the Maoists’ far-west command in-charge Biplab, CP Gajurel and Badal.” Roshan also claimed that about half-a-dozen Maoist MPs will revolt from the Maoist party and join the JTNM.

Meanwhile, Maoist Seti bureau in-charge and member of parliament Lekhraj Bhatt claimed that he never ordered anyone to hide arms. “Laxman is talking rot. While he is openly saying he has arms, the administration is strangely silent.”

Recalling that Laxman also met PM GP Koirala, Bhatt suspected that the Home Ministry could be mobilising him to “repeat” the Tarai agitation. “He might have hidden some arms during the people’s war, but the statement that the Maoists told him to hide arms is false.”