ID :
Sun, 09/07/2008 - 10:53
Auther :

Prachanda under pressure to demand end to "unequal" pacts

Shirish B. Pradhan

Kathmandu, Sept 6 (PTI) Prime Minister Prachanda is
under intense pressure from the Maoist leadership to discuss
the review of all "unequal" pacts with India, including the
landmark 1950 Indo-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty, during
his forthcoming visit to New Delhi from September 14.

The C.P.N.-Maoist leadership, which is holding
discussions to set the agenda for the landmark visit, has
stepped up pressure on the prime minister to take up the
review of all "unequal treaties" signed between Nepal and
India in the past, including the 1950 Treaty.

The visit, termed as "first political visit" by
Prachanda, comes amid row between the two neighbours over the
breach of the embankment of the Kosi river, which has flooded
Nepal's southern district of Sunsari and the northern parts of
Bihar in India.

Maoist’s Minister for Peace and Reconstruction
Janardan Sharma "Prabhakar" told reporters on Saturday that
the Prime Minister should take up the issue of review of the
1950 treaty with the Indian government as per the demand of
the Nepalese people, who want to re-evaluate this unequal

The C.P.N.-Maoist party has planed a key meeting on
September 12 to firm up the agenda for the Prime Minister's
India visit, sources said.

Prachanda's five day visit from September 14 has been
scheduled after his China visit last month, which sparked a
controversy in both India and Nepal when he broke with
tradition of Nepalese top leaders making New Delhi the first
port of call after taking office.

He will be accompanied by a high-level delegation,
including Deputy Prime Minister Bam Dev Gautam, Finance
Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Water Resources Minister Bishnu
Poudyal, according to a source close to Poudyal.

Nepal C.P.N.-Maoist central committee leader, Devendra
Poudyal, said Prime Minister Prachanda should make efforts to
abrogate Koshi, Gandak, Mahali river treaties and Peace and
Friendship Treaty of 1950 during his visit to India.

Our Prime Minister will put Nepal’s stand clearly and
bravely with India unlike the past governments, he argued on a
local T.V. programme.

A section of Maoist leadership even want the Prime
Minister to take up the issues raised by the ultra left party
during the decade-long insurgency, including the abrogation of
all unequal treaties, work permit to Indians working in Nepal,
banning Hindi cinema in the country, review of the Koshi
Agreement of 1954 and Mahakali Integrated Development Project
Treaty signed in 1996.

However, the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (M.P.R.F.),
one of the major partners in the coalition government, is
against raising "controversial" issues such as the 1950 pact
and Koshi agreement during the visit.

B.P.Yadav, central committee member of M.P.R.F. said
the government should not take up "controversial matters" as
the government is yet to establish political stability in the
country. He said while Nepal should focus its attention on
safeguarding its national interest, it should not displease
its neighbours.

Sarvendra Nath Shukla, of the Terai Madhesh Democratic
Party (T.M.D.P.), said the transitional government should not
indulge in acts that could have long-term implications.

The present coalition government’s job is only to
facilitate the framing of a new constitution that will take
the peace process to its logical conclusion, Shukla stressed.

Nepal swore in its first post-royal government on
August 22, ending months of political deadlock over power
sharing. Last month, Prachanda's visit to China sparked a
controversy when he broke with tradition of Nepal's top
leaders visiting India first after taking office.