Stepping up their confrontation against the government, Maoists in Nepal have unilaterally decided to declare 13 autonomous states as part of their agitation to restore ‘civilian supremacy’.
Although formation of states is to be decided by the constituent assembly, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has decided to announce declaration of such states between December 11 and 18.
“The decision to declare autonomous states was taken to put pressure on the government for formation of such provinces,” stated UCPM-(Maoist) vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai.
The Maoists have already launched the third phase of their agitation against the coalition government of Madhav Kumar Nepal. It would end on December 22 with a three-day general strike across the country.
They had proposed to declare autonomous states during the second phase of their agitation that ended earlier this month, but the move was postponed due to lack of preparations.
After a meeting of the United National People’s Movement, a wing of UCPN (Maoist), on Thursday, it was decided that 11 of the proposed states would be based on ethnicity and two on topography.
Leaders from the ruling Communist Party of Nepal—United Marxist Leninist have termed the Maoist move as violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and a revolt against the state.
But Maoist leader Devendra Paudel stated that it should not be confused with forming parallel government or a violation of CPA as parties had already agreed in the interim constitution to adopt federalism.
Maoists stepped down from power in May this year following President Ram Baran Yadav’s refusal to approve sacking of the Army chief. Since then they have been agitating demanding an apology from Yadav and restoration of what they call ‘civilian supremacy’.