Nepal blames India for blockade withdrawal
Kathmandu lashed out at New Delhi for what it called 'abetting' terrorism and vowed to hold general elections by April 2007.india Updated: Mar 20, 2006 11:25 IST
Ignoring the signal sent by a strengthened tie-up between the opposition parties and Maoists that made the rebels call off their blockade, Nepal lashed out at India for what it called "abetting" terrorism and vowed to hold general elections by April 2007.
The opposition had held fresh talks with the guerrillas, once again in New Delhi, earlier this month to strengthen their understanding and the talks resulted in the rebels on Sunday withdrawing their blockade after six crippling days.
But despite the move sending out a strong signal that the rebels want to return to the political mainstream, King Gyanendra's royalist government has chosen to continue on its collision course, accusing India and the opposition of nurturing "terrorism".
"It is unfortunate that the parties are focused on Delhi talks when the king has called on those who have strayed (Maoists) to work for nation-building," government spokesman Shrish Shumsher Rana, who is also information and communications minister, was quoted as saying by the state media.
Rana, who was on a tour of southern Nepal on Sunday, said: "The tendency of seeking to control the state by encouraging terrorism with the support and backing of foreign powers is not a democratic culture."
Flaying the opposition for their "mentality of nurturing terrorism" by "collaborating with terrorists", Rana said: "Democracy and the constitution can be activated only by establishing parliament through election."
The minister, who was nominated by the king last year, said people should unitedly defy "the terrorist group and parties working with them", warning of further violence if "shelter was provided to anti-social elements".
Meanwhile, the local media Monday reported that a political committee formed within the cabinet, headed by senior deputy vice-chairman Tulsi Giri, held a meeting Sunday to discuss a mass protest planned by the opposition here April 8.
"Government iron fist awaits rally," the Himalayan Times daily said.
The opposition Sunday announced a four-day nationwide closure and non-cooperation movement from April 6.
Reeling under a decade-old communist insurgency that has killed over 13,000 people, Nepal had a whiff of peace last year after an alliance of seven opposition parties signed a pact with the rebels, with whom they held secret talks in New Delhi.
The parleys resulted in the rebels extending a unilateral ceasefire.
Gyanendra's government however ignored the mounting call at home and abroad to start peace talks with the rebels during the truce and went ahead with controversial local elections that were called hollow by the international community.
First Published: Mar 20, 2006 11:25 IST