Pranab exhorts Maoists to lay down arms

New Delhi, July 10:

Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee has said that the Maoists should abide by the comprehensive peace treaty signed with the government and lay down arms. He said this at a meeting today with Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel, NC leaders Chakra Banstola and Dr Shekhar Koirala, who are here to attend the funeral ceremony of late Indian prime minister Chandra Shekhar.

Talking to this daily, Banstola said the discussions between them also covered issues of holding the CA polls in time, Indian assistance for the CA polls and border security.

Regarding the law and order security, the Maoists’ affiliated YCL activities, Mukherjee was quoted by Banstola as saying: “The Maoists should abide by the comprehensive peace treaty and lay down arms”.

Banstola quoting Minister Mukherjee as saying: “Necessary steps should be taken for bolstering peace and security. The CA polls should not be deferred at any cost.” Stressing the importance of eight-party unity, Mukherjee said it should not break, adding that India is ready to extend assistance for maintaining peace and security. “Our discussions covered assistance of technical equipment for strengthening capability of Nepal police to facilitate the CA polls,” he said.

Mukherjee has urged the government to be serious about the problems in Tarai and said the Indian government has issued directives to authorities concerned to stop undesirable activities from the Indian territory. He informed the Nepali leaders that an extensive discussion in this matter will be held at the meeting between the home secretaries of the two nations on border management scheduled for Thursday here.

According to the New Delhi-based Nepali Embassy, a Nepali delegation is scheduled to arrive here tomorrow for participation in the home minister level meeting between Nepal and India. Minister Poudel and Congress leader Banstola has held a meeting with Indian Communist Marxist senior politburo member Sitaram Yechuri and discussed the political issues of Nepal.