Maoist army not to disarm until CA polls, says Mahara

Kathmandu, August 11:

Chief Maoist negotiator Krishna Bahadur Mahara said today his party had agreed to confine its People’s Liberation Army to cantonment areas until an election to a constituent assembly but it would not decommission the PLA’s arms, as there was no guarantee that the Nepali Army and the Palace would accept the people’s verdict in favour of a democratic republic.

Mahara was speaking at a programme organised by Everest Press Club.

“It would be suicidal to decommission our arms before the constituent assembly election. That’s why we agreed to put our army in cantonment areas to be monitored by the United Nations,” said Mahara. He also alleged that the government’s proposal of “decommissioning the Maoist army and its weapons” was not a home-grown idea.

Charging that the country was not free to take its own political course, Mahara said this was why the powers-that-be took more than a week to send a letter to the UN for which the Maoists and the government negotiators had already agreed upon. He also flayed the seven-party alliance leaders for opposing what had been agreed upon with the Maoists.

He said it was not the Maoists who first took up arms for a political cause. It was the NC which first took up arms in 1950, and then the Panchas took up arms in 1960. The CPN-ML took up arms in 1980s.

“There is a flesh-and-blood relation between arms and politics in Nepal,” he said, adding that other political forces could also take up arms in the future unless political issues are settled in a manner acceptable to all sides.

The arms management issue would move ahead in proportion to the settlement of political issues, he said, adding that there could not exist two states within a country and that restructuring of the state was a precondition to ending such anomalies. Mahara said that the Nepali Army was the major stumbling block to lasting peace and democracy.

Mahara also told the media that after sending the letter to the UN his party had ordered the People’s Liberation Army to confine itself to temporary barracks.

He said an interim constitution was underway which would come up with a proposal for an interim legislature and process of constituent assembly polls.