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Enemies within

Friday, January 22nd, 2010

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Defence Minister Bidya Bhandari have not been on speaking terms for a while. On Thursday, Nepal told the media to tell her that she can’t override his authority while she is in his cabinet. The Himalayan Times reports:

The PM appeared angry about Bhandari’s remarks that she would not abide by the decision of the PM and the Special Committee on Supervision, Rehabilitation and Integration.

“She should not forget the fact that she is a minister and she should be accountable to the PM,” he added. A few days ago, the Defence Minister had said the Maoist combatants should not be given a bulk entry into the Nepal Army.

Bhandari promptly sent a reply to the prime minister via the  media saying she remained committed to her statement.

It’s also been reported that Bhandari now wants membership in the special committee, which she says needs approval from her ministry and the Nepal Army while making decisions. Prime Minister Nepal dismissed her request saying the two-member quota for his party had already been taken.

Now that the campaign for ‘national independence’ is in full swing, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal is busy sniffing out conspiracy theories. Speaking at a program in Bardiya, Dahal said the late king Birendra and UML leader Madan Bhandari’s death were in India’s interests because they were both nationalists. Nagarik writes:

Dahal claimed that king Birendra and Bhandari were both killed because they refused to take orders from India. Dahal made this accusation several times during a mass meeting in Bardiya organised as part of national awareness and expose campaign.

He mentioned that Narayanhiti massacre took place when king Birendra was preparing to meet him. “We had agreed to declare a republic and make Birendra the first president of the country,” he said.

He also said UML leader Bhandari was killed a week before the two were to meet in order to discuss merging of the two communist parties, among other things. “It is not a coincidence that the two died when they were making plans to meet us,” he said. “India did not want a nationalist leader in Nepal.”

So, who will protect our country from the increasing threats from foreign powers? Youth Communist League fighters, says Maoist General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa. From The Kathmandu Post:

“We will direct the PLA fighters to fight a war if any foreign power centre tries to interfere in our internal affairs and encroach upon our territory,” said Thapa at a program organised by the Maoist party’s Bhojpura-Madhesh State Committee in memory of activists Ram Prakash Yadav, Dara Yadav, Ambika Mahto and Rajesh Mandal, whom unknown armed groups had murdered recently.

That explains why the Maoists continue to maintain semi-armed YCL camps despite pledging to disband the force to the seven parties in an agreement last year. Kantipur reports:

There are 28 semi-armed YCL camps in the capital alone, where 15 to 50 fighters live. They are divided into precincts just like the Nepal Police force. They are stationed in strategic locations around the capital, including in Ring Road around Kathmandu and Lalitpur.

When the Maoist party was leading the government, it had made several promises to disband YCL’s armed wing and leave the captured properties where they are stationed.

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