Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Comrade Awesome

Extract of an interview with Maoist supremo Prachanda.

If the government fails to expand its negotiation team are you willing to talk to just Narayan Singh Pun?
We formed a high-level peace talk team to prove we are serious. We hoped the government would reciprocate in a similar manner. The failure to finalise its team not only reveals the internal conflict within the state mechanism but also hints at a deeper conspiracy. But that is not our problem. The responsibility and solution falls on the state. If the government says Narayan Singh Pun constitutes their talk team and creates a conducive environment, then we will formally begin talks with mediators and the people as witnesses.

Do you think the king's visit to India affected the proposed talks?
Everyone is aware that Indian leaders have reservations about the ceasefire and the proposed talks. If the rulers attempt to compromise national interest and independence to stay in power then it will have a negative impact on the talks. The recent increase in army activities following the king's meeting with Indian leaders has raised our suspicions.

Will you abandon the peace process to take part in a movement against the reactionary forces proposed by other political parties?
If a movement against the reactionaries is launched, the peace talks need not be interrupted. We believe these talks can make the people sovereign in a real sense. We envisage these peace talks as part of our struggle, this is why the peace talks and a movement against reactionary forces fall under our agenda. Neither will be successful without active public participation and involvement. A constituent assembly, would create an environment that makes all this possible. We will respond with equal zeal to any movement against reactionaries. Our main concern in the last two-and-half years is corruption of the political parties. The weakened state of one directly affects the other.

Will you revert to violence if your demand for a constituent assembly is not met?
Our ultimate aim is to make the people really sovereign. We want to remove the unchangeable clauses, free the state from the clutches of religion and bring the military under an elected representative institution in the new constitution, to be drafted under a constituent assembly. We also hope the new constitution will guarantee autonomy for suppressed groups and ethnic minorities.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)