5 nabbed with explosives, poll disruption plot suspected
KATHMANDU, Aug 2: Even as the CA election approaches, five cadres of the United Ethnic Liberation Front (UELF) were arrested from different points in the capital on Thursday, along with devices and raw materials used for making explosives. Police officials suspect that the group, which was responsible for the Babarmahal blast last year, is plotting ´a series of bomb blasts´ in the capital to disrupt the upcoming election.
A squad from the Metropolitan Police Crime Division (MPCD), Hanumandhoka, under the leadership of Inspector Kiran Neupane, nabbed the five, acting on a special tip-off following month-long investigations. According to SSP Bijay Lal Kayastha, chief of MPCD, they were arrested with explosives following information related to an extortion drive in Kathmandu Valley carried out by the Front, which is an underground group. The arrested are identified as Birendra Kumar Tamang, aka Kranti, 52, of Udayapur distirct, San Bahadur Pariyar aka Aagni, 33, of Udayapur, Nima Sherpa aka Mangale, 42, of Ramechhap, Santosh Majhi, 31, of Bara and Bhani Nath, 25, of Kanchanpur.
According to preliminary investigation, Tamang has been identified as former organization head of the Front and Pariyar as central committee member and youth wing head. Similarly, Sherpa, who has also been operating a monthly newspaper- ´Samyukta Aawaj Monthly´ since the last three months, has been identified as central committee member and press and publication department chief. Police also said that Santosh Majhi had only recently joined the Front as a central committee member and Bhani Nath has been identified as ´a disqualified Maoist combatant´ associated with the CPN-Maoist, who was in the process of formally joining the Front.
According to MPCD, they were planning to carry out serial blasts at different places in the capital and launch a forced donation drive, targeting businessmen and industrialists. SSP Kayastha said, “We have established that they had planned to set off a blast at Samalik Carpet Industry at Aarubari in Kathmandu as the carpet outfit turned down a demand for a ´donation´ of Rs 500,000.” We have also seized several receipt pads and request letters pertaining to different industrial outfits and businessmen, he added. Police said the five, under mastermind Tamang, were planning blasts in the capital as the government refused to hold talks with the group, labeling it as “criminal”.
Police also said that Tamag was remanded on bail after being charged in two cases of extortion. The group had made several attempts at dialogue but the home ministry turned down their offer of talks, according to the accused. The home ministry had been refusing to hold talks with such groups as many of them are carrying out criminal activities in the guise of a political group. The group was established in 2009 under the leadership of Muktidaata and Dev Raj Tamang aka Biswokranti separated from the group after a year. Biswokranti had taken responsibility for a series of blasts since then. The group was also linked with a blast at a Dhading-based crusher mill and roadside bombings in the districts of Dhading, Udaypur and Rautahat. The blast attempts at the Nepal Academy and the RPP-Nepal office, Naxal, were not successful, according to police. Police have seized electric detonators, explosives, pipes, sockets, letter pads and sets from them.
Baidya Maoists give nod to talks but result doubtful
KATHMANDU, Aug 2: After a third consecutive invitation from the government for talks, the CPN-Maoist has finally decided to sit for talks. The party is now scheduled to hold discussions with constituent parties of the alliance headed by it and then announce exact dates for talks. The CPN-Maoist readiness for talks has brought about optimism about ending the months-long deadlock. But there are apprehensions whether talks between the government and the alliance led by the CPN-Maoist would really yield any tangible result as neither side has demonstrated enough seriousness.
Overtures by both the government and the CPN-Maoist for talks are widely seen as a formality and an attempt to show that they are not opposed to talks as such, that they want to find a solution through talks. CPN-Maoist Vice-chairman CP Gajurel told Republica that they are yet to be set out the agenda of the alliance for talks. They will do so after holding a meeting of the alliance. “We are going to a hold meeting of the alliance about talks. The meeting will decide how to present ourselves at the talks,” added Gajurel. The government had sent an invitation letter for a third time on Wednesday, requesting the alliance of dissident political parties to come for talks. In the invitation letter, the government said that any problem in the country could be resolved through talks, dialogue and discussions.
The letter addressed to CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya does not set any preconditions–something the alliance had opposed outright. Both sides are yet to agree on the date and venue for talks. Responding to the letter in a statement on Wednesday, CPN-Maoist Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal described the letter as a positive development and said her party was positive about the invitation to talks without any preconditions. The development came a day after the Baidya-led party and alliance decided not to sit for talks with the high level political committee (HLPC), which had repeatedly invited the alliance for negotiations.
However, Kumar Shah, CPN-Maoist central committee member, told Republica, “The government´s invitation and purported talks are just aimed at propaganda. There is no possibility of decisive talks. It is just for public consumption. It will be talks for talks´ sake”. “If the CPN-Maoist sits at the talks table, the major parties [UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML] will bring in conditions to prevent the talks from yielding any results,” he added. The meeting of the alliance on Tuesday had turned down the HLPC´s call for talks, saying the leaders of the four major parties were not serious about addressing their [alliance´s] concerns.
The alliance also claimed that the invitation letters from the government and the HLPC were not politically sensible. Earlier, both the government and the HLPC had sent invitation letters with conditions — the date of the election would not change and the current government would not change. Now finally, the government and the HLPC have sent letters for talks without any preconditions. “They will just go on inviting us for talks till August 31 just to maintain appearances,” added Shah. According to Baidya-led Maoist leaders, the government and the parliamentary parties — UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN-UML — plan to engage in propaganda to show people that they want to find a political solution through talks. “The government will propose to us to recognize the government, and will also propose to expand the cabinet as per our suggestons,” said a CPN-Maoist leader.
Maoist leaders also said that the government would urge participation in the election, saying the deadline for registering at the Election Commission would be extended. The CPN-Maoist has yet to register with the Election Commission. CPN-Maoist leaders say their alliance of 33 parties will put forth an agenda to clear the way for the formation of a government of political parties and hand over power to the parties. “The CPN-Maoist and its alliance will say that parties are the backbone of democracy. The current government could not create an environment for elections. It should not make elections a matter of ego since it cannot hold elections,” said Biadya Maoist central committee member Shah.
The Maoist leaders say that they will give continuity to the boycott program across the country till August 31, taking action against corrupt leaders. The government also will take action against the Maoist leaders and cadres, registering cases against them. “Till August 31, some leaders will be in jail and cases against our party cadres will increase,” added Shah. According to the Maoist leaders, all sides — the government, HLPC and the Maoists — will engage in their respective propaganda. “But talks also would not stop. They will be continued just as a formality.”
Baidya Maoists extort money in Jajarkot
JAJARKOT, August 3: The Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoists have begun an extortion campaign in Jajarkot from Saturday to gather money for running their anti-election campaign. The party has started extorting money from various I/NGOs and individuals to collect money in order to meet their expenses. “Rs 10,000 to Rs 50,000 has been demanded by the party to meet their expenses,” reads a letter issued by the party.
“The party has sent an official letter demanding Rs 16,000 from us,” said Sahadev Basnet, coordinator of the Youth Awareness and Rehabilitation Centre, Jajarkot. District-based leader of the party Nar Bahadur Giri has said that they were collecting money to cover their expenses.
CPN-Maoist wants postponement of Nov polls
KATHMANDU: The CPN-Maoist has reiterated its demands to postpone the November 19 election and constitute a new government through a round table conference as its conditions to join Constituent Assembly (CA) polls. CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhya repeated the party’s stance after meeting Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala at the latter’s residence in Maharajgunj on Saturday.
“We are ready for polls if the slated second CA polls are postponed, and our demand to change the incumbent government is addressed,” said Baidhya, emerging from the meet this morning. “I asked the Nepali Congress president to play a leading role on the matter,” he said. On the occasion, President Koirala urged the CPN-Maoist to participate in the upcoming election to the Constituent Assembly refusing to address the demand to postpone the polls, it is learnt. CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung was also present in the meeting.
Bring agitating parties on board for CA polls: UN
KATHMANDU: United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged the High Level Political Mechanism to take all poll-opposing political parties on board for a successful conclusion of Constitutional Assembly elections slated for November 19. While receiving CPN-UML Chair Jhala Nath Khanal at his New York office yesterday, Ban emphasised the need to hold the forthcoming elections without obstructions.
“The secretary-general expressed confidence that the forthcoming elections will be peaceful,” Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United States in New York said. Ban categorically asked the HLPC, of which Khanal is a member, “to bring all other political parties to the electoral process.” The former prime minister, who is on a weeklong US visit, had met the head of the global body along with UML leader Bhim Rawal, and Chargé d’ Affaires of the Nepali mission, Sewa Lamsal Adhikari.
During their meeting, Khanal apprised Ban of the HLPC’s efforts to convince dissenting parties to participate in forthcoming elections so as to make the poll process more inclusive, representative, free, fair and credible. According to the mission, he also briefly Ban on the Commission on Disappearances and Truth Reconciliation Commission. He also talked about the Election Observatory Team and appreciated the support of the UN in previous CA elections.
They also exchanged views on the Lumbini Development Project, when Khanal extended an invitation to Ban to visit Lumbini as per his convenience. The secretary-general appreciated Nepal’s contribution to UN peacekeeping operations, and hoped for its continuation in the days to come. He particularly appreciated the professionalism and courage of Nepali peacekeepers and thanked Nepal for deploying its troops in United Nations Disengagement Observer Force in the Syrian side of Golan Heights recently.
Khanal underscored that Nepal falling in the categories of LDC and LLDC deserves special attention of the international community in its development endeavours. Both the leaders recalled their visits, including the Fourth LDC Conference held in Turkey in May 2011.