Former minister Narayan Singh Pun shot into the limelight when he played a key role in bringing the Maoists to the table in January. But with peace talks in limbo, the darling of the masses has mysteriously disappeared from the national arena. He left for London a month ago, and nobody seems to know when he'll return. What we do know is that Pun did not hand over documents pertaining to the second round of peace talks or brief the new cabinet before he left. All the members of the new team, Kamal Thapa and Prakash Chandra Lohani have are a few Xeroxed copies of some of the agreements signed between the government and the Maoists.
Our sources say that Ram Bahadur Thapa (Badal) and Krishna Bahadur Mahara don't have any of the documents. Apparently the Thapa government had to restart peace talks from scratch so it's quite an achievement to have persuaded the rebels to sit for the third round. These latest developments indicate that an invisible power game is instigating the Maoists to return to the jungle by fuelling their doubts on the implementation of the agreements reached in the second round of talks.
The table has turned and now there is a distinct possibility that the Maoists will ask for the participation of the security forces to ensure the government's commitment to the talks. They should have been part of the negotiations from the very beginning. Things can still go well if the government will guarantee the safety of the Maoist negotiating team in writing as they have demanded.