Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Maoist hardliners disagree on 'historic' peace deal

The hardliner faction of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) led by Vice Chairman Mohan Baidya has objected to the historic seven-point deal signed by the major political parties and Madhesi Morcha on Tuesday evening to conclude the peace process in Nepal.

During the three-party meeting at Prime Minister's official residence in Baluwatar, the Baidya faction opposed the content of the agreement. Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal tried to convince the Baidya group for more than two hours in Baluwatar, but the hardliners refused to own up the agreement, delaying the signing ceremony.
Calling the party's seven-member office bearers' meeting at Baluwatar, Dahal tried to get the backing from Baidya, General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and Secretary CP Gajurel objected to the deal saying that it is against the party's official decision.

The office bearer meeting, however, reached an understanding that the hardliners would be allowed to register note of dissent on the content of deal. Speaking to reporters after the deal, Baidya said they could not agree on it, but also said that it would not cause asplit in the party. Earlier during the negotiations, leader CP Gajurel from this camp walked out the three-party meeting.

The hardliner leader Thapa said the deal is against the will of the Nepali people and it would not be helpful in concluding the peace process in real sense. "We have registered note of dissent and we will bring our view tomorrow organising a press conference," said Thapa. The Baidya faction will prepare its strategy on Wednesday morning on how to move ahead.

The rift inside the Maoists party began primarily after the Central Committee (CC) on July 22 decided to follow the path of peace and constitution on which hardliner faction registered note of dissent.

The sixth extended plenum of Maoists held in Gorkha last year had passed the line of peace and revolt at the same time, latter Dahal changed the party's political course to peace and constitution.

After the Maoist decided to adopt the line of peace and constitution, Dahal and PM Bhattarai stood together and the hardliner faction began to feel increasingly isolated inside the party.

After that the hardliner faction wrote series of note of dissent on party's numerous decisions, and Dahal and Bhattarai continued to push through on peace and constitution on the basis of the majority they hold inside the party.

The intra-party rift became even pricklier after the party decided to handover the keys of arms container immediately after the formation of government under Maoist's leadership.The hardliner faction was pressing Dahal and Bhattarai not to take any decision before the CC meet which begins from November 3. Leaders from the Dahal camp said Dahal took a huge risk in party's history to forge an agreement on peace despite the objection from the hardliners.

Leaders say if Dahal fails to manage the rift it might cause split in the party.

Dahal had taken similar risk inside the party by signing Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006.

Earlier on October 20, the day when Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai left for India Visit, the Baidya faction had caused similar deferal, even though the parties were ready to ink a pact.

Draft of the 7-point agreement

1. Integration and Rehabilitation of People’s Liberation Army (PLA)
a) Details of cantoned PLA soldiers will be updated
b) The number of PLA soldiers to be integrated in the Nepal Army will be 6,500. The integration will be in the Directorate under the NA, comprising 65 percent from the security body and 35 percent from the PLA. The functions of the Directorate will be in the fields of development-construction, forest security, industrial security and disaster management.
c) The PLA soldiers opting for integration will meet standards of the security body concerned on individual basis. But, flexibility shall be adopted in age (by 3 years) and education (by 1 level) and the marital status of the entrants.
d) Ranks of the enlisted soldiers will be determined based on the standards of the security body concerned. The ranking will take place on the basis of the existing system of the security body, and without affecting the career growth of those already serving under the security body concerned. The enrolment date of the PLA soldiers will be based on the date previously recorded by the verification of UNMIN.
e) The integrated soldiers will join the assigned service under the stipulated ranks only after completing the bridging course and trainings.
f) All weapons under the PLA will automatically come under the jurisdiction of the government after the beginning of the integration process.
2. Rehabilitation of PLA combatants
a) PLA soldiers up for rehabilitation will be provided with an alternative package deal for education, training and professional opportunities. The rehabilitation fund will range from 600,000 to 900,000 rupees ( (US$7,500 to 11,300)
b) PLA soldiers who voluntarily resign from their posts in lieu of monetary exchange will receive 800,000, 700,000, 600,000 and 500,000 rupees respectively (US$10,000, 8,800, 7,500 and 6,300 based on the ranks of the resigning soldiers. The distribution will be made in two installments in two fiscal years. Official decision in this regard will be taken by the Special Committee in two days.
3. Group Division
a) The special committee will decide on the procedural issues pertaining to the integration and rehabilitation processes in seven days thus starting the group division that shall conclude within November 23, 2011.
4. Formation of commissions as per consensus
a) Bills concerning Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Commission for Investigation of the Disappeared will be endorsed by parliament on the basis of consensus. The commissions will be formed within one month.
b) Conflict-era cases will be dealt with as per the spirit of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the Interim Constitution.
5) Relief aid for conflict victims
a) Relief aid will be provided to families of those killed, injured, maimed, disappeared and displaced in the conflict.
6) Forging of a trustworthy environment for the implementation of past agreements
a) UCPN (Maoist) shall return all property seized or occupied by the party to rightful owners within November 23, 2011. With the return of the land, the owners will be given appropriate compensation.
b) Farmers’ rights will be ensured as per the spirit of the CPA, Interim Constitution and scientific land reform system.
c) The structure and functions of the Maoist-affiliated Young Communist League (YCL) will be demobilised, while all private and public buildings and land occupied by the YCL will be vacated within Nov 23, 2011.
d) Vehicles used by the UCPN (Maoist) as registered at the Department of Transport Management will be legalised within Nov 23, 2011. Illegal vehicles will be impounded.
e) Local administration will monitor and implement the agreement pertaining to the return of the seized property.
7) Drafting of constitution and formation of national consensus government
a) Dialogue among political parties will continue to assist the peace building and constitution drafting processes. A high level political mechanism will be formed in this regard.
b) Work related to constitution drafting will be accelerated. The Constituent Assembly will form a panel of experts to take suggestions on the issue of state restructuring. Work for the preparation of a draft constitution will begin in one month.
c) Process for formation of a national consensus government will begin once peace building and constitution drafting processes pick momentum.
The Kathmandu Post

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