Nepal on high alert as Maoists plan fresh protests

Nepal govt put its security forces on high-alert after the Maoists vowed fresh protests.

Kathmandu: Nepal govt on Thursday put its
security forces on high-alert after the Maoists vowed a fresh
round of protests and rally next week amid the deepening
political crisis following the failure to promulgate a new

The Security Council, headed by Prime Minister Madhav
Kumar Nepal, met on Thursday to review the security in the country
as the main Opposition CPN-Maoist warned of more
demonstrations and a mass rally ahead of the expiry of the
term of the country`s Constituent Assembly on May 28.

The government instructed the security agencies to be
be put on high alert in the wake of the political uncertainty
that may arise after the term of the Assembly expires.

The National Security Council meeting today reviewed
the security situation in the country and instructed all
security agencies to be on alert in view of the political
uncertainty that may emerge after May 28, when the term of the
Constituent Assembly will end, Subhash Devkota, press advisor
to Defence Minister Vidya Bhandari, told PTI.

The government has not decided to mobilise the army
but instruction has been issued to all security agencies to be
put on high alert and to keep vigil on the security situation
in the country in view of the new developments, he said.

The top official said the instruction has been issued
in the wake of the Unified CPN-Maoist`s move to announce their
constitution from the street on May 29.

Nepalese political leaders are set to miss the May end
deadline to finish the drafting of a new constitution as
stipulated by the 2006 peace process that ended the
decade-long civil war by the Maoists.

The former rebels, who had crippled the country with
its week-long indefinite strike, plans demonstrations starting
on Tuesday leading to a mass rally on Saturday.

The government has already introduced a motion in the
Parliament to extend the term of the Assembly for one year. It
is hoping to avert a political crisis by extending the
Assembly`s term for another year to give the deadlocked
political parties more time to frame a new constitution.

However, it it needs the crucial support of the
largest CPN-Maoist party for it to be endorsed by the required
two-thirds majority.

The security agencies have been alerted in either
cases, whether the Constituent Assembly`s term gets extended
or not, Devkota pointed out.

Chiefs of all security agencies, including the Nepal
Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National
Investigation Department, were present during the meeting of
the Council.

The Security Council meeting in Kathmandu also
reviewed the existing security situation in the country and
asked all concerned to be prepared to deal with any type of
situation that may emerge in the country.

Meanwhile, Maoist chief Prachanda has clarified that
his party will not promulgate a constitution from the street
as reported in the media. He said the party is going to make
public the draft of the constitution prepared by the Maoist

Earlier this month, the Maoist-led general strike,
which was marked by clashes, shut down the country for a week.

Even after calling off their indefinite
anti-government strike on May 7, the Maoists have demanded the
resignation of the embattled Prime Minister before it could
support the extension of the term of the Assembly.

Analysts fear a showdown between the government and
the Maoists without a new constitution or deadline extension.

Leaders of the three major political parties -- main
Opposition CPN-Maoist, the Nepali Congress and the prime
minister`s Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist)
-- have held separate meetings but failed to reach an
agreement to end the standoff that threatens the country`s
peace process.

Political tensions have been high in Nepal since a
government led by the Maoists resigned last year amid a
dispute with President Ram Baran Yadav over the reinstatement
of former army chief Rukmangad Katawal, who was dismissed by
the Prachanda-led government last May.


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