Nepal’s armed groups begin unity talks in Bihar: report

September 28th, 2008 - 2:31 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Sept 28 (IANS) Fourteen armed underground organisations from Nepal, including factions of former Maoists, have begun secret talks in the Indian state of Bihar close to the border to explore the possibility of a united armed revolt, a media report said.The talks started in Bihar’s Katihar district Friday with the groups aiming to reach an understanding by Tuesday, the Naya Patrika daily said Sunday.

The groups include various factions of the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha, the band of former Maoist guerrillas who left the party to start an independent movement for the rights of Madhesis, people of Indian origin living in the Terai plains in southern Nepal.

The factions, which have claimed responsibility for a series of abductions and killings in the plains, were declared terrorist organisations by the US.

The other participating groups have no distinct political ideology and are regarded as shadowy criminal outfits, like the Terai Liberation Force, Madhesi Tigers and Madhesi Virus Killers.

The daily said that moves are afoot to choose Jay Krishna Goit, once the senior most Maoist leader from the Terai, as the chief of the united front.

The armed groups began mulling a united armed movement against the state after newly appointed Home Minister Bamdev Gautam’s drive to boost security.

Gautam said the government was ready to hold talks with the armed groups that had a political purpose. However, those who failed to respond would be treated as criminal elements and would be put down by force.

Soon after the announcement, police gunned down the chief of an underground organisation said to have been behind the serial Kathmandu blasts last year, calling it an encounter.

On Saturday, the leader of another outfit was killed in Parsa district.

Sudhir Pandey, the chief of the self-styled Parsa people’s government of the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha led by former Maoist leader Jwala Singh, was shot down in Bhavanipur village by unidentified motorcycle-borne assailants.

The Bihar meeting recalls memories of the Maoist insurgency in the past when the then guerrilla Maoist party held secret meetings in India’s West Bengal state and then, in New Delhi with mainstream Nepali parties for a unified opposition to King Gyanendra’s army-backed regime.

The Maoists, whose 10-year “People’s War” killed over 13,000 people, are wary of the armed groups in the Terai, accusing them of being in collusion with Indian criminal gangs and Hindu militants across the border.

On the eve of the constituent assembly election, nearly a dozen Maoist cadres were killed in clashes that the Maoists blame on criminals gangs from India.

If the report is true, it remains to be seen if the Bihar government is aware of the meeting.

In the past, India has been accused of interfering in Nepal’s internal matters and abetting Madhesi groups.

The Indian authorities deny the allegation, saying the 1800km open border between India and Nepal make it impossible to keep tabs on everybody.

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