Nepal government signs pact with Terai rebels

December 26th, 2008 - 2:39 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Dec 26 (IANS) Nepal’s Maoist-led government Friday held formal talks with an armed rebel group active in the southern Terai plains and signed an agreement as part of its ongoing effort to restore law and order in the troubled lowlands.Peace and Reconstruction Minister Janardan Sharma, a former deputy commander of the Maoists’ guerrilla army, who is heading the talks with over a dozen armed groups, said after the nearly two-hour dialogue in pilgrim city Janakpur Friday that the talks were “positive”.

The state has signed a five-point pact with the Samyukta Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (SJTMM), an offshoot of the parent body Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha that was formed by former Maoists seeking special rights for Terai people.

The Maoist government has agreed to provide security to members of the underground organisation who are participating in the talks, expedite the trial of its cadres held behind bars and release political prisoners since it regards the group as a political party and not a criminal outfit.

So far, the government has held talks with another fringe group, the Madhesi Virus Killers. However, two main groups active in the Terai have rejected the government’s offer to sit for talks.

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