THT 10 YEARS AGO: US hints at reconciliation with Maoists

Washington, May 1, 2008

The US, which still regards the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist as a terrorist organisation, has indicated it would seek “legitimate reconciliation and reintegration politically” in Nepal after the Maoists’ election victory.

“In any terrorist organisation or any terrorist situation, if there is a way for reconciliation legally and lawfully through the political system, obviously, we prefer that,” a senior US official said yesterday. “And there are places where that’s taking place already,” Dell L Dailey, Coordinator of the Office for Counter-terrorism said briefing reporters on the State Department’s annual terrorism report. “It is taking place in Nepal, although it’s had some ups and downs.” “But we prefer a legitimate reconciliation and reintegration politically long before we go after and try and do a coordinated, integrated, with host nation military action,” he said when asked how the US planned to deal with the new situation in Nepal.

Dailey’s remarks were the first indication of a US rethink of its Nepal policy following the Maoists’ election victory. Other official too have hinted at the possibility of a review, but have declined to spell it out in so many words. Officials point to “legal hurdles” in taking the Maoists off the list of designated Foreign Terrorist Organisations.

The report said, “Despite ending their 10-year insurgency and entering into the interim government, the Maoists continued to engage in violence, extortion, and abductions.”

Madi victims pin hopes on Maoists

Kalyanpur (Madi), May 1, 2008

The voices of 38 bus passengers who were killed in a Maoist ambush at Bandarmude of Madi in Chitwan district three years ago may be silent but 72 survivors of that ambush say they are waiting for the Maoists’ promises of succour to materialise.

Most of them are hopeful the Maoists will tend to them now that they have won the largest number of seats in the constituent assembly poll and are on the threshold of leading the next government.

Narmaya Acharya (35), who survived the incident, runs a tea stall at Keertanpur in Kalyanpur VDC-5 for a living. She was physically unscathed in the incident, but something inside her died in the blast. She has to take medicines worth Rs 1,500 every month just to keep herself functioning.

“I have a palpitating heart, my head aches constantly, I feel suffocated and wish for solitude all the time,” she quavered. With meagre earning from her tea stall, she is barely able to finance the education of her son and daughter.

Narmaya’s husband Krishna Prasad ran from pillar to post begging for help, but everywhere he was told to seek the relief from the Maoists who were responsible for the incident.