Renounce violence before any talks, govt tells Chand outfit

Published On: July 19, 2019 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

'No surrender to govt'

KATHMANDU, July 19: Government spokesperson Gokul Prasad Baskota has said that talks with the Netra Bikram Chand-led outfit are possible only after the latter renounces violence and joins peaceful politics under the present constitution.

The statement comes at a time when ruling party leaders are making approaches to Chand's Communist Party of Nepal for talks. The government outlawed the outfit's activities in March following a series of bomb blast across the country that left one person dead in Kathmandu Valley.

“The party is always welcome for talks if it is ready to give a guarantee that it will join peaceful politics,” Baskota said. “If they renounce violence, accept the constitution and make an announcement that they are going to join competitive politics, it won't take more than a minute for negotiations.”

The underground party, following its standing committee meeting earlier this year and with the government going on the offensive, also decided to hold talks . The party has lost at least eight of its cadres in bomb blasts and police gunfire in recent months and the government has put nearly 100 of the cadres behind bars.

But a politburo leader of the party has said that they won't give in to the government until they are assured that their major demands will be addressed.

“We won't join talks unless our minimum conditions are met,” said Anil Sharma, a leader of party. “Release of our cadres from different jails, withdrawal of the cases against them, ending the arrests and full security are our basic preconditions.”

The government for its part has questioned the reliability of the Chand-led outfit, stating that the underground group could only be out for a publicity windfall. Baskota said they should embrace peaceful politics just as CK Raut did.

“We are always ready for talks if they (party) join peaceful politics like CK Raut did, register as a party, respect democracy and the rights of citizens and renounce the politics of violence,” said Baskota.

Referring to the demands of the Chand-led party, Baskota said the government has no confidence in their commitment. Referring to the then Maoist insurgents who used the Hapure talks for its publicity dividends, he said there is no guarantee the Chand-led party won't go back on its word after talks.

“Any demands that go against the constitution and the state system or are inappropriate and any impossible demands that the state cannot meet will not be addressed,” he said.

NCP leaders including Bishnu Paudel, Janardan Sharma and Som Prasad Pandey have been regularly meeting some leaders of the Chand-led party while the party has also fielded Anil Sharma, Khadka Bahadur Bishwakarma, Maila Lama and the jailed Hemanta Prakash Oli for negotiations with the government.

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