KATHMANDU, Oct 30: The Political Dialogue Team (PDT), which is entrusted to bring various disgruntled ‘political’ groups to mainstream politics through negotiations, is in a fix over how to proceed as most of the demands put forth by those groups are not political in nature.
Those on the PDT said although they have already held negotiations with 17 of the total 32 identified “political” groups, any agreement remains difficult as most of these groups have demanded that their cadres who are currently serving jail terms for committing various crimes including murder, motorcycle theft, smuggling in red sandalwood and narcotic drugs and various other organized crimes and those charged with such crimes be released before formal talks could resume.
PDT members complained that none of these groups have put forth ‘political’ demands as such.
PDT coordinator Som Prasad Pandey said they can recommend withdrawing cases that are political in nature, but not the criminal cases.
“We are currently studying the types of cases/charges their cadres are facing. Over a dozen parties/groups say they won’t sit for formal talks until the cases against their cadres are withdrawn and they are freed,” he said.
Another member of the PDT Tara Kanta Chaudhary said each of these groups have at least a dozen cadres facing criminal charges and they want these cases withdrawn. Among the 32 groups, Maoist Communist Center Nepal has the highest number of cadres facing criminal cases.
At least 1,186 cadres of various political groups are currently in jail on various criminal charges and arrest warrants have been issued against 446 others.
“We have demanded some kind of special package for around 250 members of our militia. They should either be provided special economic package for rehabilitation in society or adjusted in the state forces,” said Biru Kiranti, a representative of Kirant Janawadi Workers Party, which is active in Khotang and adjoining districts.
Representatives of the party arrived at the secretariat of the PDT at Singha Durbar on Monday.
“This is the seventh time in the past several years that we are holding talks with a government team, we hope our demands will be met this time,” Kiranti said.
The PDT was formed on August 29 with three months tenure. It was formed after various disgruntled groups continued their disruptive activities after the promulgation of the constitution through an elected Constituent Assembly (CA).
Although the decade-long Maoist insurgency was resolved peacefully, there are fears that the presence of various disgruntled groups could pose a challenge to political stability in the country.
The team has followed up on the works of the various talks committees formed by the previous governments.
Nine groups had approached the PDT for talks after a public notice and the PDT itself had reached out to the remaining groups.
PDT yet to start talks with Chand, won’t meet CK Raut group
The PDT has not started talks with Netra Bikram Chand-led Maoist outfit as the outfit has put release of all its cadres currently in various jails as precondition for talks, according to Pandey.
The PDT has decided not to approach the CK Raut-led ‘secessionist’ group terming it as a non-political group, said Pandey.
To talk with four armed groups.
The PDT has decided to hold talks with four armed groups including Netra Bikram Chand’s Maoist party, Jaya Krishna Goit’s group, and Jwala and Cobra groups which were active in some parts of the tarai in the past. But a few groups have yet to come forward for talks fearing for their security, according to Pandey.
Representatives of most of the groups had arrived in Kathmandu for talks. But the team members themselves had visited Lahan and Janakpur for talks with a few groups active in the tarai.