"We are stressing reconciliation"

AGNI PRASAD SAPKOTA, spokesperson of UCPN-Maoist, is also a member of Constituent Assembly

April 18, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -20 April 18- 2014 (Baishakh 5, 2071)

How do you see the possibility of writing the new constitution in time?

As members of the opposition party, we are ready to support the process. It is up to Nepali Congress and CPN-UML to decide whether they want new constitution.

What is your impression about the two parties?

Given the present trend, it seems that they are no longer interested to actually write the new constitution for federal, democratic, secular and republic Nepal.

On what ground are you saying this?

If the ruling parties are honest and sincere about the constitution writing process, they should have given the chairmanship of political, dispute settlement and constitution drafting committee to UCPN-Maoist. Instead of writing the new constitution, two ruling parties are stressing elections for local bodies. Holding the elections for local bodies at this time will end the possibility of writing the new constitution.

As local bodies are back bone of democracy, how can you say that it will derail the constitution writing process?

We need to focus more time on constitution writing so that we can complete the process within a year. Since we have been saying that we will complete the constitution writing process by a year, why do we not wait for another six months before holding the local elections.

Since CPN-UML is opposing the blanket amnesty to the culprits of the Maoist movement, how do you view the recently tabled Truth and Reconciliation bill?

I don't understand the reason behind their recent statements against the bill which was tabled following the agreements between the leaders of three parties. UCPN-Maoist has clear stand on this, we want to heal the wounds of people's war. We want reconciliation with all the people on the basis of forgiveness. The war was waged between the state and rebels. Thus, we are stressing reconciliation between the victims of the people's war whether they are on this or that side.

Given the present pressure of human rights groups, do you think it is possible to give blanket amnesty in the name of reconciliation?

Our party and party workers have sacrificed their lives for the cause of federal republic and constituent assembly. Is it justice to penalize those  who sacrificed the life for the cause of republic and federalism and to establish the right of the people?

You mean everyone should be pardoned despite the heinous crimes?

We fought a people's war for the cause of people. Everybody wants reconciliation and healing the wounds. It is only some NGOs and INGOs that are raising the issue for the sake of dollars.

In case, the government amends the provision of amnesty in the Truth and Reconciliation bill, what will be the response of UCPN-Maoist?

I don't like to go for answering a hypothetical question. Since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement has clearly spelled out the need to draft the law for reconciliation, there is no alternative before us other than to heal the wounds. No Nepalese wants to see the bloody conflict again.

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