Maoists reject Nepal PM’s plea to call off stir


Kathmandu : Nepal’s former guerrilla party, the Maoists, Tuesday rejected a call by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to call off the disruptive protest movement they have threatened to launch from Friday.

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“We are rejecting the appeal as the government is not serious about our demand,” Maoist lawmaker and the party’s deputy chief in parliament, Narayan Kaji Shrestha Prakash, told the media after a meeting of the 24 parliamentary parties to find an amicable solution ended without any agreement Tuesday.

The Maoists have announced they will obstruct parliament from Friday as part of their double-pronged protests.

Simultaneously, they will also hold mass meetings, take out torch rallies and have sit-ins.

From Aug 27, the protests will begin to target Nepal’s first President Ram Baran Yadav, whom the Maoists blame for the fall of their eight-month government.

They have announced a boycott of all public programmes to be attended by the president as well as showing him black flags.

Subsequently, they have threatened to extend the same gesture to the prime minister and the council of ministers.

The former rebels are asking for the dissolution of the coalition government and the formation of a new ‘national’ government under their leadership.

If the government fails to reach a compromise within 48 hours, the siege of parliament will start.

It will prevent the Nepal government from getting the budget, tabled last month, passed by the house. It will also deal a blow to the government’s mandate to promulgate a new constitution by May 2010.

The Maoists had kept parliament blocked for nearly two months since the fall of their government in May, demanding action against the president and chief of the army.

The dispute started over the former rebels’ bid to sack the army chief, Gen Rookmangud Katawal. However, the president came to the general’s rescue and reinstated him.

The clash caused the fall of the Maoist government in May and since then, the formerly underground party has been calling the president’s gesture ‘unconstitutional’ and asking for it to be ‘corrected’.