POST B BASNET/KIRAN PUN
KATHMANDU, Sept 2: Taking strong exception to the decision to hand over the arms container keys to the Special Committee, the Maoist hardline faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya has demanded scrapping of the decision which is "suicidal" for the party.
"We strongly condemn -- and object to -- the decision and call on all the authorities concerned to immediately scrap the suicidal decision," reads a statement signed by Baidya.
The party hardliners, in the statement, alleged that the "sudden and surprising decision" to hand over the keys of the weapons containers to the Special Committee by 5 p.m. Thursday was an attempt to dissolve the PLA.
They have argued that the Special Committee decision goes against the mandate of the party Standing Committee and Central Committee, which have decided to take the process of combatant categorization forward only after reaching consensus on the modality for integration and on rehabilitation packages.
The Baidya faction, in the statement, argued however that he was not against PLA integration, an integral part of the peace process, but he wanted the integration to be completed in a "dignified" manner.
The faction held a meeting at Baidya´s residence at Gangabu Thursday evening before issuing the statement. According to sources, party General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa and Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha were present during the meeting.
"The decision to hand over the keys to the Special Committee is against the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the party´s policy and its ideals. It is also capitulation to regressive forces," said party leader Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma, who is close to Baidya and attended the meeting.
According to him, the group will enforce a vehicle strike for one hour from 9.30 a.m. Friday and hold a torch rally from 6.30 p.m. to protest the party´s decision.
Talking to Republica, Baidya said he is not against the integration process, but the party chairman and the prime minister should have informed him and general secretary Thapa, who is now in the security department, about the decision.
"Why did they lie to us when we asked them? It is not the party´s decision to hand over the weapons containers at this juncture. It should have taken a due course," said Baidya. He said the party would go ahead united, "correcting the mistake."
The Bhattarai faction has stated that protest by the Baidya group was the outcome of its political line.
"There are no basic differences between us on how to move ahead in the present situation. The dispute is only on methods and procedures, and it´s an old disease in Nepal´s communist movement," said Maoist leader Ram Karki, who is close to Bhattarai. He, however, said the misunderstanding would be removed and the party would move ahead united.