‘GOVT HASN’T BANNED POLITICAL ACTIVITIES OF CHAND GROUP’
KATHMANDU, March 18: The government, in a dramatic turn of events, recently took two significant political decisions: 11-point agreement with Alliance for Independent Madhesh (AIM) led by CK Raut and restriction on activities of Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) led by Netra Bikram Chand ‘Biplav’.
But the government’s unexpected deal faced criticisms and support, heating a fresh debate within the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and among other political forces including the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC).
A portion of leaders of the ruling party were discontent over the government’s step to bring Raut into the national politics and the content of agreement reached with Raut, who is accused of leading a separatist campaign. The unhappy leaders, who accused the government of signing the deal in non-transparent manner, also pointed out that Raut has not mentioned anywhere that he has quit his secessionist movement.
Opposition NC sought either revision or explanation of the phrase in agreement No 2 which states ‘people’s mandate in a democratic manner’–which NC referred as “call for referendum.”
On the other hand, Raut‘s supporters celebrated the agreement as their victory—which, according to researcher Suman Mandal, bought freedom and relief to Raut, who was arrested a dozen times since 2014 for sedition and treason; and the agreement legitimately allowing AIM to freely exercise their activities.
Reporters’ Club Nepal President Rishi Dhamala caught up with NCP General Secretary Bishnu Paudel to talk about these issues. Excerpt:
Why is there discontent within the ruling party? Why could not the government make this deal non-debatable?
First and foremost, the agreement with CK Raut, which brought the secessionist campaigner to national mainstream politics, is a significant decision. In the agreement Raut has accepted federal republic Nepal as independent, autonomous and sovereign country. Raut’s alliance will now exercise his activities remaining within the framework of constitution and democratic methods. The government’s move will be successful.
Next, no issue is undebatable if brought as a subject of argument. Is it wrong to make Raut sign on the agreement that saves the country from disintegration? He has agreed to abide by law and constitution of the country and get involved in politics peacefully. If this is wrong, what is right then?
Has Raut abandoned secessionist movement?
Of course, he has. It is the main point of the agreement.
Will the agreement be implemented?
The agreement has been done for implementing. Both the government and Raut cannot step away from agreement. If Raut breaches the agreement, he will not be spared.
Why did the government decide to restrict Chand’s group’s activities? It is a repression policy?
Of course not! The government formed a negotiation committee in the leadership of Som Prasad Pandey. The committee made several efforts to bring Chand group to formal talk with the government…but no avail. The Chand group rejected the talks appeal and continued carrying out its violent activities which threatened the civil’s right to live freely and peacefully. Therefore, the government imposed ban on Chand’s activities. It’s the government’s duty to bring such groups within the constitutional boundary.
Does the constitution allow ban on any group?
We have banned Chand’s activities. We have disallowed violence and murder. Not the political activities of Chand group.
Is the government prepared to mobilize the army?
Such condition will not occur. The government will protect the constitutional right of every citizen to live peacefully.
Kamal Thapa-led Rastriya Prajatantra Party has demanded restoration of monarchy and reinstatement of Nepal as Hindu state. How will the government address RPP’s demand?
The government will remain flexible to each and every demands raised within the legal framework. The constitution has already recognized Nepal as a republic state.