The breakaway faction of the ruling Maoist party in Nepal submitted a list of 70 demands to the government on Monday and threatened protests if they are not fulfilled. A group of leaders belonging to Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist handed over the charter of demands to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai at the latter’s office in Singha Darbar.
The demands include nearly two-dozen concerning India like scrapping of ‘unequal’ treaties and deals and better regulation of the 1800-km open border between both countries.
Most points in the list are similar to the 40 demands submitted by Maoists to the ruling government in 1996 before launching the 10-year-long civil war that left nearly 16,000 dead.
Incidentally, it was Bhattarai himself who had submitted the Maoist list to the then prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in 1996.
The CPN-M, which split from Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in June, has threatened to launch nationwide protests and even armed revolt if needed if the demands are not met.
“We won’t take up arms immediately, but won’t remain quiet either if the demands are overlooked,” CPN-M vice-chairman CP Gajurel said after submitting the list of demands.
Among the demands are scrapping of the 1950 peace and friendship treaty between India and Nepal, the Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement signed last year in New Delhi and two major hydro-power projects awarded to Indian firms.
Border regulation demands include better management, end to Indian ‘encroachment’ and bans on ‘unauthorised’ entry of Indian security personnel and cars bearing Indian number plates into Nepal.
Ban on Hindi films, closing of Gorkha recruitment centres in Nepal and end to direct financial assistance by India to projects in Nepal without routing them through the country’s finance ministry also find mention in the list.
The CPN-M list includes promulgation of a ‘peoples’ federal republican’ constitution and creation of federal units with ‘national identity’ as well.
Though the breakaway faction led by Mohan Baidya is unlikely to take up arms, there is a section within the party which wants to follow that path by enlisting former Maoist combatants who took part in the civil war.