Nepal PM says no proof of Maoists training Indian peersBy Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Friday, November 19, 2010
KATHMANDU - More than a month after Nepal’s neighbour India accused the country’s largest party, the former Maoist rebels, of giving arms training to their outlawed Indian peers, Nepal’s caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal Friday told MPs that no evidence had been found to bear out the allegation.
The prime minister was summoned by the State Affairs Committee of parliament Friday to answer the allegation made to Nepal’s foreign and home ministries by the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu last month.
The embassy said that about 300 Indian Maoists, outlawed by New Delhi, received arms training in Nepal with the help of the banned Islamic terror outfit, the Lashkar-e-Taiba.
It also claimed one of the training camps was held in a cantonment where the Nepal Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army (PLA) is barracked and at least one Maoist MP had inked the arms training agreement with India’s Maoists from Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
The Nepali prime minister said though no independent commission had been formed to investigate the allegation, Nepal’s concerned security agencies were looking into the charge. So far, they had found no proof to establish the charge.
The premier’s virtual rebuttal of the Indian charge came after a high-ranking security officer also rejected the allegation.
Sanat Kumar Basnet, chief of Nepal’s Armed Police Force (APF), said during a BBC weekly programme Wednesday that the APF had investigated the charge at various levels but found no evidence.
The Nepali prime minister however added that since it was a serious charge, his government was taking pains to ensure diplomatic ties with India were not affected and was in constant diplomatic consultation with the southern neighbour.
The denial by Nepal’s caretaker government came at a time the Maoists are in a fresh controversy over their guerrilla army.
The opposition party begins its sixth plenum in western Nepal from Sunday and along with Maoist cadre, over 1,200 PLA combatants, who are not supposed to have any political affiliation, are taking part in the meeting to decide the future strategy of the once underground party.
Nepal’s ruling parties have already objected to the PLA’s attendance but to no avail.
The row deepened this week with the UN raising objections as well and the US asking for the PLA to be dissociated from the party.
The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), the UN agency monitoring the PLA and its arms, wrote to Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, pointing out that the PLA’s attendance at the plenum could impact the peace deal negatively.
UNMIN chief Karin Landgren’s concern came after the US ambassador to Nepal, Scott DeLisi said unless the Maoists cut their links with the PLA, their commitment to peace and democracy would be questioned and others would not feel confident enough in their intentions to make the necessary compromises on the critical issues of constitution drafting and power-sharing.
“The most important component of the peace process is the integration and rehabilitation of the approximately 19,000 Maoist combatants who remain in UN-monitored cantonments around the country,” the American envoy said at a public programme Thursday.
“The Maoists are the largest party in the constituent assembly… and do not need a military force to pursue their political agenda. So long as they retain a military force, they cannot credibly engage in a democratic political dialogue.”
(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)