Nanda Kishore Pun ('Pasang'), Maoist central committee member, PLA deputy commander, and vice-chair of the joint arms management committee spoke with Nepali Times about arms verification and the Maoists\' performance in government.
Nepali Times: Why are the Maoists under attack from all sides?
Nanda Kishore Pun: When we pushed for a republic, national and international powers felt that the Nepali people would lose faith in other political parties. We were expecting these challenges when we gave up the war and joined mainstream politics. That said, it is difficult to oppose an alliance that is conservative, regressive, and highly influenced by foreign forces.
Your proposal that the interim parliament declare Nepal a republic didn't garner support.
We don't expect everyone to agree with that proposal. If there is consensus, we will go forth with that. Those who want to save the monarchy are worried that the Maoists will lead once Nepal is a republic. They are using this issue to create obstacles.
Is there revolt simmering within the CPN-M?
Our 'people's war' was long and difficult. So many came to it and and so many more left. There were many ups and downs, some did really well and reached high up in the party, while others escaped. Laxman Tharu, who escaped from our party, had links with regressive and other power centres. We were discussing whether or not to take action against him when he decided to quit the party.
Why has your relationship with India blown cold now?
India did not like us talking about Nepali nationalism. When we said Nepali is being Sikkimised, they fuelled the madhes movement and turned on us. They are trying to turn Nepali into another Bhutan. We don't want to be enemies with India, but they also have to understand our difficulties.
Have you brought about any changes since you joined the government?
The roots of the 'bureaucracy' were deep in the old Nepal. We have always known that, and realise that we cannot do much unless there is a transformation in that sphere. We joined the government to successfully conduct elections to the constituent assembly and move parliament to declare Nepal a republic. When we know that we cannot do either, we will take a different path ahead.
They say there are thousands of minors in the camps.
The media associated with the UN said that there are 9,000 minors in the camps. Even Ian Martin has said that, but that is just a rumour. The UN should understand that it has taken on the role of a guardian and be careful before making blanket statements that could hamper the peace process. If they do not respect the tripartite agreement, we can also criticise the UN. We know what kind of people are in the UN, who they are loyal towards, whose money is running the organisation, and what kind of force has entered in the name of peace keeping.
Why has the arms verification process stopped?
The government has a new war strategy. It thinks that withholding money and rations from the fighters will make some of them escape the harsh conditions and others try to revolt. The main obstacles in the arms verification process now are the ministries of Home Affairs, Finance, and Peace and Reconstruction.