Kathmandu, September 23
A high-level team formed by the government to hold talks with agitating and disgruntled groups has started its work.
Of the 12 groups invited for talks in the first phase, the team held preliminary dialogue with seven and informal discussions with ‘a few’, the team’s coordinator Som Prasad Pandey said today.
He said the talks were held in Siraha, Saptari, Janakpur and Kathmandu.
The government team has not yet held talks with groups led by Netra Bikram Chand and CK Raut.
Pandey, who represents the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP), said the disgruntled groups sat for talks after being assured that their names would not be exposed. He said the groups included those which had not yet held talks with the government and those which had held talks in the past, but the agreement reached were not implemented.
Of the seven groups with which the team held talks, four are from Tarai-Madhes. In the past two days, the team visited Siraha, Saptari and Janakpur. “There also we held informal talks with one group,” Pandey told THT, adding that the team will talk to another group in Kathmandu tomorrow.
As far as the CK Raut-led group is concerned, Pandey said they were analysing it, as the team was mandated to hold talks only with groups taking up political agenda.
“As far as the Biplav-led group is concerned, we have urged the home ministry to help create a conducive environment for the talks even if the government has to release its cadres, including its Spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma,” said Pandey. “We are hoping the government will adopt flexibility.”
During the talks, the groups put forth demands, such as declaring martyrs the cadres who died in jail, releasing those who have been jailed, dropping all charges and annulling arrest warrants issued against their cadres, besides compensating, resettlement and rehabilitating, including employment opportunity.
“Some groups, which had raised secession demands have dropped such demands,” said Pandey. “We’ll again hold talks with the groups after discussing their demands with the government.”
The talks team is led by Suresh Ale Magar, Leela Bhandari, Tara Kanta Chaudhary and Kumar Khadka as members.
A version of this article appears in print on September 24, 2018 of The Himalayan Times.