Two panels to be formed to hold talks with agitating groups

Kathmandu, July 14:

The meeting of the High-level Intra-party Coordination Committee (HICC) of the ruling eight-party alliance today decided to form two separate committees to establish a contact with Janajatis and Nationalities and Madhesi agitating groups for meaningful talks. It also decided to set up its office on the parliament premises to make its work more systematic.

The meeting, held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction and chaired by Peace and Reconstruction Minister Ram Chandra Poudel, authorised Maoist leader Dr Baburam Bhattarai, UML standing committee member Jhala Nath Khanal and Janamorcha Nepal leader Lilamani Pokharel to establish contact with the Janajatis and Nationalities for holding talks with the government.

“The HICC also authorised Minister Poudel, NC-D leader Bimalendra Nidhi and United Left Front leader C P Mainali to establish contact with all the Madhesi agitating groups for talks,” Nidhi said.

Janamorcha Nepal leader Pokharel said that the HICC will have its separate office on the parliament premises along with office staffers to provide the panel with logistics.

Pokharel said the meeting authorised Minister Poudel to coordinate with the government about the decision to be taken by the HICC. He said that HICC would refer to the highest level of the eight-party alliance on matters related to the alliance’s policy.

“This committee will help address complaints of some alliance partners who have alleged that functioning of the government looks like that of a single party in majority,” Pokharel said. HICC’s next meeting is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the first meeting of the Peace and Rehabilitation Consultancy Committee was held under the chairmanship of Minister Poudel at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction to discuss the modalities and procedures of the committee.

The 31-member consultancy committee was formed by the government on May 25 with a view to giving inputs to the government on the entire peace process and rehabilitation. Representatives of 12 political parties, UNMIN chief Ian Martin, Bjorn Petterson of the UN Office High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), NGO federation, civil society members, women, physically-challenged society, Madhesi and Janajatis are its members.

Emerging from the meeting, Poudel said that the committee’s first meeting mainly discussed its procedures, status and modalities. “The government will move ahead towards peace and rehabilitation process according to suggestions of the committee,” Poudel said, adding that the meeting was called to evolve conceptual clarity.

Dr Arjun Karki, president of the NGO Federation and member of the committee, said that the minister wanted to discuss the issues of the Madhesis and the Janajatis, but they could not do so due to time constraint.