Maoist split in Nepal raising fears of fresh violence

Kathmandu: Nepal`s ruling Maoist party today split with a faction led by hardliner Mohan Vaidya `Kiran` forming a breakaway party to denounce India, raising fears that his cadres might return to arms again. Announcing the split in the UCPN (Maoist) at the end of a three-day national conclave, Vaidya said his group will never accept the Parliamentary system and threatened to launch what he called "peoples revolt" or "peoples war" to establish a "New Peoples Republic" in the country.

Taking a hard anti-India posture, the leader of the new breakaway group, which named itself as Nepal Communist Party-Maoist, demanded scraping all the unequal treaties signed with India, including Nepal-India Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950. Vaidya also demanded withdrawal of permission to Indian companies to construct Upper Karnali and Arun Third hydropower projects as he claimed these agreements were against the national interest.

The Maoist break up would pose new challenges in Nepal, which has struggled to implement a peace process after the end of 10-year bloody civil war in 2006. An estimated 16,000 people were killed in the so called 1996-2006 peoples` war fought by the Maoists against the state. Branding Maoist chief Prachanda and Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai as "neo-revisionists" and agents of "expansionists", Vaidya charged India had expanded its interference in the country during their stewardship of the party.

He said the Prachanda-Baburam faction had "sabotaged the achievements of Peoples War and Peoples Movement" by dissolving the Peoples Liberation Army. The split in Nepal`s dominant Maoist party plunged the country into a deeper political turmoil after parliament was dissolved in chaos. The decision in the Maoist came as clamour is growing in the Himalayan nation for a formation of a National Unity caretaker government to hold the upcoming national elections in November.

The formal split in the Maoist was announced by Vaidya as he claimed support of 44 of the 244 central committee members at the convention attended by 2,000 delegates. Vaidya said his new party would form a joint front with other patriotic, republican and communist forces and favoured the idea of convening a round table conference to draft the new constitution. He accused Prachanda and Bhattarai of failing to draft the new constitution within the deadline and accused them of disarming the Maoist combatants without completing the integration process in a fair manner.

The party named Ram Bahadur Thapa "Badal" as the general secretary, C P Gajurel as the secretary and Netra Bikram Chand "Biplav" and Dev Gurung were made politburo members of the new group. The formal division in the Maoist ranks came hours after Bhattarai left Kathmandu for Brazil to attend the Rio plus 20 summit. Bhattarai was shown black flags by students and youths belonging to the opposition parties at the Tribhuvan International Airport.

Relying to questions, Vaidya said Nepal has become neo-colonial?state of India and "India has been encroaching our border at different places by dismantling the pillars." He said formation of the new party was necessitated for protecting the interest of the people and the country from new-revisionists and opportunists and it would function on the principles of Marxism, Leninism and Maoism. Vaidya also denied that his group has secret alliance with the pro-monarchists.