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Nepal crisis

On 9 January, 15 Nepali political parties issued a joint statement criticising the Maoists, currently heading the government, for obstructing the Nepali peace process, which has been staggering on since the end of the civil war in 2006.

A major sticking point has been the fate of the former Maoist guerrillas, who have been living disarmed in “cantonments” since 2006. In November, it was agreed finally that only 6,500 of the 19,600 ex-fighters would be integrated into the security forces. They will be part of a new non-combat section of the army (dealing with “development-related activities, forest conservation, industrial security and crisis management”).

Since then, uproar within the Maoist ranks at the poor terms of the deal has pressured the leadership into taking a tougher stand on the rank of integrated Maoist officers. The leadership were also, at the time of writing, allegedly making integration of ex-guerrillas into the regular Nepali army conditional on other parties accepting a US-style presidential political system.

Maoist radicals are also protesting against the leadership’s decision to return property seized during the civil war, returning tenant farmers to insecurity.

Meanwhile, the government’s decision to increase fuel prices by 10% led to student protests blocking roads and burning tyres in the capital, Kathmandu, and the eastern town of Itahari, on 19 January.

Topics: Nepal