Sources in Communist Party of Nepal say the outfit is not convinced by government’s call for talksChand outfit has put forth three conditions for dialogue, including an official invitation letter
Weeks after the government declared the Communist Party of Nepal a criminal outfit on March 12, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said the Netra Bikram Chand-led party would join mainstream politics within a month.
Many in the Oli administration were convinced that Chand too was not far from talks, as Raut, who for about a decade was in a bid to create a separate Madhes Pradesh, had already joined peaceful politics.
Months after Oli’s claim, however, there has been no progress as far as talks with the Chand party are concerned.
Over the months, the government has arrested more than a hundred leaders of the Chand party. At least eight party members have been killed—three in police action and five in accidental explosions.
According to a Chand party leader, the Communist Party of Nepal has put forth three conditions for the talks. First, the government should send an official letter to them inviting for talks; second, it should lift the ban imposed on its activities; and third, police should release all the cadres and leaders of the party.
“The government’s call for talks after banning the party’s activities, arresting its leaders and cadres and killing three party members is nothing but a sham,” said Gunaraj Lohani, who wanted to identify himself as a writer having close relations
with the Chand-led party. “It’s a conspiracy.”
Despite repeatedly saying that the government is open to talks, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, however, appears to have maintained a tough stance against the group. Three of its cadres have been killed in police action.
The killings of two Chand party members—Tirtha Raj Ghimire in Bhojpur and Kumar Paudel in Sarlahi—have come into question as police face allegations of shooting them dead after taking them into custody.
When the third Chand party member—Nir Kumar Rai—died in Bhojpur, one police constable—Sanjiv Rai—was dead after he was hit by a bullet fired by Chand’s cadres.
“It seems that the nation is going through the initial phase of People’s War that started in 1996 when the state had imposed the Romeo operation,” Lohani said. “If the state continues to use force, the party would be forced to counter and has developed the capacity to do so.”
The Sher Bahadur Deuba government launched the 'Operation Romeo' in November 1995 to control a rise in Maoist activities in Rolpa.
Even as the government continues to maintain a tough stance against the Chand party, sources say Oli and Communist Party Co-Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal have been using various channels to reach out to the leaders of the outfit.
Sources in Chand’s party said some “point persons” from Oli had reached the Nakkhu jail to meet Hemanta Prakash Oli, a standing committee member of the Chand party, who was arrested on March 23.
Even Dahal is believed to have tried to establish some contact with Chand and other leaders. At a function in Chitwan last month, Dahal said that he was confident Chand would soon join mainstream politics.
Surya Subedi, political adviser to Home Minister Thapa, said that Chand’s party has become more positive for talks lately as per the information from the ministry’s informal contacts.
“But they have yet to come up with an official decision,” Subedi told the Post.
“All other issues including the letter are technical. Unless they renounce violence, talks cannot become fruitful. So they should take a bold decision and declare that the party is ready to join peaceful politics.”
According to Lohani, if the government calls for talks, the Communist Party of Nepal will form a talks team and discuss political issues.
The party’s political line is to establish “scientific socialism”.
“There are many issues the party has been talking about,” Lohani told the post. “But for now, if talks are to be held, discussions should focus on nationalism.”
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