Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
"They will step back"

How has the government evaluated the activities of the Maoists?

The government has assessed the activities of the Maoists based on reports received from across the country. It has readied itself for what it takes to deal with the challenges.

Do you think Maoist policy is to capture power through a people's revolt?
This is what they have been saying publicly. The Maoists declare in mass gatherings what the CA is supposed to declare. The declaration of federal states however did not get legality. Since the episode of the army chief, their game plan is to force the president to resign and force the PM to resign through street protests, and infiltrate and split the parties into factions. Having failed in all attempts, they have been bluffing with an ultimate revolt to bring down the government from the street and complete the constitution-writing process. They will not succeed in this. The Maoists' real transformation will begin after this.

Has the peace process collapsed?
Let's not say it has collapsed, but it is a breach of the peace accord. The Maoists have been reiterating their commitment to the peace process, but their activities are against the peace accord. The upcoming Maoist protests will take this to that level.

The Maoists are demanding a national unity government for consensus. Why do you oppose this idea?
After the election, UML supported the Maoists as the biggest party to form the government. The problem began when the Maoists tried to sideline the UML and NC by calling them losers and trying to move ahead alone. But no one stopped them from trying to forge a consensus when they were in government. Instead, during this period YCL created havoc in the country, Maoists murdered NC and UML cadres, and they attempted to remove the army chief unconstitutionally. The Maoists have lost the opportunity to lead the government.

What if an agreement is not reached with the Maoists? Are there chances of military mobilisation?
The democratic forces hope to forge a consensus and move forward. However, the Maoist agenda alone can never be the basis of consensus. It is the 12-point agreement, the peace accord and Interim Constitution which form this basis. Maoist combatants are still in cantonments, even though their discharge was meant to be completed within six months of signing the peace accord. But the Maoists don't even attend the meetings of the special committee to manage ex-combatants. They have only one agenda: government.

Is there a possibility of mobilising the army or not?
The peace accord has its limitations. There is no possibility to mobilise the army against the Maoists under the existing peace accord. But if their activities cross certain limits, the government can mobilise the army if deemed necessary, anytime it wants. I don't think they will go as far as to breach the peace accord. They will step back.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)