For the first time, the ruling party has made public its views on the Maoist insurgency. Congress party spokesman Narahari Acharya presented the party's opinion at the 16 October meeting convened by the committee looking for ways to resolve the problem. The six-part document deals with the problem vis-?-vis constitutional issues, talks and dialogue, deployment of security forces, political, socio-economic and administrative aspects. Excerpts from the document are as follows:
Issues related to the Constitution: The Nepali Congress will not be party to or support any effort or action that would go against the basic provisions of the Constitution. The Congress does not have any proposal to amend the Constitution. The party feels the need to make the present democratic institutions more effective by mobilising local governance units through decentralisation.
Dialogue: The Nepali Congress is always ready to end any problem facing the country through dialogue. The party is ready for unconditional talks. The party has instructed the government to make efforts to find ways for peace talks to resolve the Maoist problem. The party is ready to ensure the safety of the Maoists coming to talks and their safe passage back should the talks break down, and keep secret the discussions until a final decision is reached by both parties. The Maoists should give up violence while the talks are underway and the government should also not take any anti-insurgency measures during
Mobilisation of security forces: One of the major responsibilities of the government is to ensure the security of all citizens. The government always has the right to mobilise its forces for the purpose. The armed struggle aimed at toppling the political system underway is not a simple law and order issue. This is what all political parties and people should be clear about. It is natural for the government to use the forces (the police and the army) at its command to disarm those that have taken up arms against the present political system.
Political aspect: It is necessary for all political parties in parliament and other national parties to agree on the following: have maximum policy-level agreement to denounce the Maoist violence and terror, and form joint citizen's security committees; undertake joint public meetings and other political programmes; and resolve the issues related to lawmaking to control the Maoist insurgency.
Socio-economic aspect (related to the much talked about package programme): All programmes relating to education, health and development that have been prepared by the government should be promptly implemented. The help of all the political parties will be sought for its implementation. Since most of the affected areas are cut off from the mainstream, provisions will have to be made to provide food grains, education facilities and health services. Income and employment generating programmes should be given priority. Programmes developed for the affected areas in the past have not been effective. The government will, with help from district-level organisations and governance units and political parties, review these programmes and only implement them after making the required necessary changes.
The government should make provisions to provide loans to people to undertake income-generation projects. Loans may be provided by banks or non-governmental organisations. Programmes that exploit the poor should be immediately stopped. Employment opportunities should be provided to those affected by the insurgency. Social inequality, injustice and superstitions are fertile grounds for the rebels to grow. The local people's representatives, the administration and the police should form small groups that move from one village to the other to listen to, understand and help resolve problems as they arise. Programmes relating to backward groups, women and other exploited groups should be implemented immediately.
Administrative aspect: Proper rules and laws should be formulated and implemented to control the rebellion. A dialogue with the rebels must also be started. For this an understanding with all political parties is needed. Since all administrative aspects of the districts cannot be overseen by the centre, there is a need to create regional administrative centres. The government will have to make all efforts to provide peace and security to all citizens, by making the police more efficient. There is also a need to make intelligence gathering on the insurgency more effective.