Nepal Peace Process: Attending Maoist Press Meet in Kathmandu

Maoist Deputy Commanders

Many Hands Of Comrade Prachanda: Though they didn’t speak in the press conference, three deputy commanders of the Maoist People Liberation Army (PLA) were the attraction. Clockwise from left: Baldev (Chandra Khanal), Passang (Nanda Kishor Pun) and Prabhakar (Janardhan Sharma). Pic by Shailendra Kharel

Prachanda will explain his party’s policy and programs on Friday when he will appear publicly for the first time in the past 25 years.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

One of my friends in the Maoists circle called this afternoon to let me know that the rebels were going to announce something very important in a press conference in Rastriya Sabha Griha, Kathmandu. He asked me if I wanted to be there at 2 PM, on the second floor of the building. Why not? It’s going to be a big day, I guessed, and I must experience all these events personally. I was planning to meet a female model and singer in connection with my reporting for Kala ra Shailee. “Models later,” I told myself. “Comrades are in priority for the time being. Let me give the bhau to these comrades now.” When I told about my afternoon plan to one my colleague in the office, this is the response I got: “Yes, go, go. There will be no opportunity in future to give them bhau as their arms will be locked up in cantonments with UN lock in the near future and people will start beating Maoists if [rebels] continue bullying at them. :)” I agreed with him. The “Peoples’ War’ was definitely difficult for the rebels but the days of peace will not be easy ride. Answer as plain and straight as “Keep Quiet, we are fighting for the oppressed ones” will not make people quite against their highhandedness. This time, instead of arrogant comrades, ‘poor’ people will be armed and powerful. They will be armed with a weapon called VOTE. The Maoist comrades will be in desperate need of that vote to strengthen their position in the Constituent Assembly, the new battleground of the competitive politics. Continue reading Nepal Peace Process: Attending Maoist Press Meet in Kathmandu

Nepal Peace Process Update: Deal On Army and Maoist Weapons

For the record: A deal on weapons

Maoist combatants will remain confined in cantonments in seven different places. The weapons of the combatants will be separated from them and locked in storages within the designated cantonments. The keys of the locks will remain with the Maoist leadership. The UN will monitor the locks through close circuit camera. Moreover, the locks will have sensor device.

By Ameet Dhakal & Ghanashyam Ojha

Tough give and take: Reaching an understanding on the modality of arms management was one of the most difficult negotiations of the whole peace process. It actually was a saga of trust eventually winning over mistrust, suspicions, parochial party interests and foreign meddling. The negotiations on arms management got off on a bumpy start (or it didn’t start for long) due to hardened stances of both sides. Much of the last six months since the April revolution was wasted in public positioning: The government, chiefly the prime minister, demanded that Maoists give up arms before they join the government. The Maoists, however, argued that separating arms from their combatants was tantamount to a political surrender.

Finally, just before the Tihar holidays, rebels offered a concession: They were ready to separate 50 percent of their weapons from the combatants before joining the interim government and the remaining 50 percent before the constituent assembly elections. The government persisted in its demand and said the Maoists would have to give in more. Following a series of negations around Tihar holidays, the Maoists and NC leaders (Maoist chairman Prachanda, his deputy Dr Babu Ram, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula and NC leader Dr Shekhar Koirala) reached a deal. According to the deal, the arms would be separated from Maoist combatants and locked up in storages in the designated cantonments. But the keys of the locks would remain with the Maoist leaders. The UN would monitor the locks through close circuit camera and would get unobstructed access to the storages. Continue reading Nepal Peace Process Update: Deal On Army and Maoist Weapons