Every Nepali should carry gun: Maoist minister

January 11th, 2009 - 4:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Jan 11 (IANS) A maverick Maoist minister who triggered a row over Nepal’s revered Pashupatinath shrine is now poised to create another controversy with his statement that every Nepali should carry a gun, apparently to fight India and the US.Nepal’s Culture and State Restructuring Minister Gopal Kiranti is now asking for Nepalis to arm themselves, apparently against India and the US, and undergo military training.

Speaking in midwestern Nepalgunj town Saturday, Kiranti said every Nepali should be given the right to carry weapons because “human rights and guns had become complementary at present”, Nepal’s official media said Sunday.

“Every Nepali must carry guns in self-defence because imperialists and expansionist forces had been lording over the (Nepali) people only because they enjoyed control over the bullet,” the state-run Rising Nepal daily quoted the Maoist minister as saying.

A recent meeting of top leaders of the formerly underground party reportedly issued a document in which they have accused India and the US of trying to interfere in Nepal’s internal matters.

The nuclear deal between New Delhi and Washington is regarded as a ploy by the US to strengthen its presence in South Asia and encircle China.

Kiranti recently reaped public ridicule and outrage with his declaration that the Maoists wanted to create a new Pashupatinath in “new Nepal”. He grabbed international limelight by trying to oust the Indian priests at Pashupatinath temple.

Earlier he even wanted to divide the tiny Himalayan republic of 75 districts into 800 districts.

He is even said to have likened the new pro-people constitution that the government has been mandated to draft by 2010 to a bayonet. “A bayonet-like constitution should be utilised for the betterment of exploited and oppressed Nepalis,” the minister reportedly said.

Kiranti, whose party once fought a 10-year war against the state and was branded a terrorist party, said all Nepalis should be given military training to protect Nepal’s sovereignty while the size of the Nepal Army should be reduced.

“If this is done, then no imperialist and expansionist can undermine the sovereignty of a nation of more than 20 million militarily trained people,” the Maoist minister said.

Kiranti’s sword-rattling against India and the US comes at a time the UN has expressed concern about the former guerrillas still adhering to their military past and failing to fulfil the peace commitments they made three years ago that helped them leave the jungle.

Banke district, where the minister called for guns, is among the most trouble-prone with the prevalence of illegal weapons.

Nepal’s home ministry recently began a crackdown on illegal guns, asking armed groups to surrender their unlicenced firearms.

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