Maoists reject PM's appeal, say would go ahead with agitation



A day after issuing a three-day "ultimatum" to the government to restore "civilian supremacy" in Nepal, the Maoists announced their months-long agitation plan that will start with a blockade of parliament on August 7.

Prime Minister Nepal had asked the former rebels, who are demanding the dissolution of his government, to abandon their agitation and forge an understanding with political parties on the crucial peace process.

However, Maoists said the government did not appear serious on their demands.
"We have rejected the Prime Minister's call (for abandoning the stir) as the government did not give attention to our demand," said CPN-Maoists' deputy leader in the Parliament, Narayankaji Shrestha.

The former rebels had threatened to launch a protest movement "from the streets and parliament" if their demands were not met by August 6. They said they would start the blockade of Parliament from August 7 and stage protests in all district headquarters beginning August 9.

Meanwhile, the Nepali Congress described the Maoists' actions as a move to block the process of timely drafting of the Constitution.

"There is no point in launching struggle at this moment in the pretext of upholding 'civilian supremacy'," said Laxman Ghimire, NC chief whip in Constituent Assembly. The Maoists, he said were trying to impose "Maoists' supremacy".

"The demand of the Maoists to bring the army chief's issue in the Parliamentary discussion is absurd and also against the Parliamentary practices," he said.

The Maoists have been opposing President Ram Baran Yadav's move to block the previous government's decision to sack the army chief.

"We have seen their agitation after they quit the government, we are not moved by their threat," he said.

Ghimire said the Maoists should abstain from such activity if they are serious about the constitution being written as per schedule.

"Instead of being a part of the high-level mechanism to assist constitution drafting, they are talking about launching movement, which is meaningless," he said.

From September 5 to 15 the Maoists will boycott all programmes attended by ministers and also hold public meetings across the country as part of their agitation programme.

The Maoists have been raising the demand for upholding "civilian supremacy" since its chief Prachanda had to quit as Prime Minister in May after the President shot down his move to sack Army Chief General Rukmangad Katawal.

UCPN-Maoist's Standing Committee meeting yesterday said Yadav's move to reinstate army chief was "unconstitutional" and posed a "serious threat" to democracy and the republic.

"We have decided to go to the street and hit the Parliament for the sake of peace and we want to install a Maoist led national consensus government," Gajurel said.

Maoist supremo Prachanda had gave a call for a "third people's revolution" if civilian supremacy was not restored. He, however, said the movement will be peaceful.

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