Nepal Maoists rake up new dispute over national flag



Kathmandu: The Nepal Maoists have demanded a new flag for the country after being instrumental in stalling of the landmark peace process over the integration of its guerrilla force with the national Army.

A fresh dispute has erupted over the national flag between the UCPN (Maoist), the main Opposition party in the 601 member Constituent Assembly, and the ruling 22-party coalition.

The former rebels have been calling for a new national flag that should contain stars equal in numbers to the number of federal units after the restructuring of the state. The row over the flag surfaced at the panel formed by the Assembly, which acts as the country's Parliament, Kantipur online reported today.

The Maoists have been carrying out a campaign of protests for enforcement of "civilian supremacy" since Prachanda suddenly resigned as Prime Minister on May 4 after President Ram Baran Yadav reinstated Gen Rukmangad Katawal.

The political standoff has put new stresses on Nepal's reconciliation efforts after the end of the decade-long insurgency in 2006, with fears that the stalled peace process may be derailed if the constitutional crisis is not ended soon.

Now the UCPN (Maoist), the Rastriya Janamorcha, and the Dalit Janajati Party have demanded that the flag should be changed after the state restructuring, the report said.

However, the Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML, and the Nepal Majdoor Kishan Party have opposed the demand, asserting that it is not necessary to change the flag which provides national identity to the people.

Bureau Report