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28 April, 2010

Nepal Maoists call indefinite strike to force political change

Nepal'sMaoists have announced an indefinite strike from May 2 if the ruling parties don´t come around to their agenda of a national government and drafting a people´s constitution.

Maoist Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal declared the infinite strike amidst an interaction programme with media persons at Hotel Yak and Yeti on April 26. The party has set the deadline of May 1, the day of the party´s proposed mass urban-centric demonstrations, to meet their demands.

"Taking into account the whole political scenario and background, our party has reached a conclusion that massive pressure and intervention of the people is essential to safeguard national independence and people´s supremacy and for peace and constitution-drafting," Dahal said. However, the Maoist chairman said his party would remain open for talks with the ruling parties.

According to him, thousands of party volunteers would be mobilized from May 1 in the major cities to make the "third Mass Movement" peaceful, and warned that the government would be responsible for any untoward incident if demonstrations are suppressed though violent tactics.

Dahal also denied reports that his party has been training its cadres in urban warfare tactics. "They were trained to manage the massive demonstrations," he said, "We absolutely dismiss the propaganda that they were being trained in military skills." There are news reports and pictures about the Maoists training their cadres with khukuris and sticks at camps in various districts, and that they would be at the forefront of the Maoist demonstrations.

He claimed that such training took place only in Morang and that the party has directed its local bodies not to train cadres with lathis and Khukiris. He also said the seizure of more than 600 Maoist sticks by police in Kavre on Sunday had been hyped up.

"If the other side resorts to violent tactics, there will be violence. It is said the state begins violence at first," he said.

Accusing the government of making massive preparations to suppress the demonstrations, he said the Maoists have already decided to "retaliate" if the government takes to violent methods to crush the demonstrations.

In closed-door training sessions, Maoist leaders have been telling their cadres that they should now be ready for a "last battle" to capture state power.

Dahal also argued that the general strike is not his party´s wish, but is the only option for fulfilling the historic necessity of peace and constitution.

The former rebel leader also argued that his party had withdrawn the party´s continuous strikes earlier after the High Level Political Mechanism was formed, but the mechanism could not make headway due to the apathy of NC and UML leaders following the demise of NC president Girija Prasad Koirala.

He also passed the blame for breaking the system of consensus onto the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML, which, according him, led to the current political deadlock.

The Maoist chairman said his party mulled a no-confidence motion, but decided to drop the plan after the game of "buying and selling parliamentarians´ votes" began.

According to Dahal, the more people hit the streets, the quicker will come the results, and people won´t have to suffer long.

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