NEPAL: CRISIS DEEPENS, MAOISTS BLAME INDIA
The political crisis in Nepal is reaching new heights, with the chief of Nepal’s Maoists, Prachandra, ending a three-day nationwide strike with a promise to impose an “indefinite” nationwide strike beginning Christmas day. Prachandra has been locked in a political struggle with the Maoist’s political opponents in the government since a power-sharing deal which ended the Maoist insurgency began to falter earlier this year. But with the crisis deepening, Prachandra has put New Delhi – which he accuses of backing his political opponents – squarely in the Maoists crosshairs.
Warning followers at a rally of the presence of “foreign agents,” Prachandra called the Nepali government “puppets” in India’s hands. He also took aim at Indian Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor, who reportedly told Nepal’s own army chief during a visit to New Delhi this month that he opposed the integration of the Maoist militias into Nepal’s national army – a principal demand of the Maoists. In Prachandra’s view, “Kapoor’s statement was a naked intervention in Nepal’s internal matters…” Finally, Prachandra’s Maoists laid down a five point agenda for talks with India: scrapping “unequal treaties”, resolving border disputes, correcting the trade deficit, boosting Nepal’s economic growth, and accepting Nepal as an equal state. (Times of India, December 22, 2009)