Maoist deputy commander and member of parliament JANARDAN SHARMA ‘PRABHAKAR’ has been deeply involved in the army integration negotiations. He was also in the contingent that went on a controversial tour of China. Excerpts of an interview with the goatee politburo member who was peace and reconstruction minister under the Maoist-led government:
The September 30 meeting of the special committee on integration was closer to an agreement. It was supposed to make the agreement public in four days after another round of meeting. One month has passed but there is no sign yet of the meeting. Why?
The prime minister was supposed to call the meeting after consultations with other parties on constitution making and the army integration. We do not know if he held the consultations or not. What we know is that he has not called the meeting.
But many suspect that the Maoists themselves are not serious on the integration issue.
This is the suspicion of only those who do not understand Nepal’s peace process. In fact, a lot of progress has been made on the issue. But it has not moved forward because there has been no major progress in constitution making. We believe both are inter-related and should go hand-in-hand.
A faction in your party which advocates open revolt to capture power is said to be opposing the integration of the Maoist combatants. So, there is no consensus on the issue in the party?
Definitely there are different opinions. We hold intensive discussions on issues. But that does not mean that we can not make a decision.
Lastly, the recent China visit of a contingent of the Maoist commanders including you has raised lots of eyebrows. Why did you go there?
This is neither controversial nor suspicious. Those who have objected to our visit want to keep the Maoists under their watch or control. The Prime minister’s objection is also ill-founded. The combatants have every right to go wherever they want to.
The combatants are under the state’s special committee. How can they move around any where they like without permission?
They are also citizens, not prisoners. When on leave, they can go anywhere in the world.
-- By SAROJ DAHAL