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Nepal angry at India-Maoist links, shows tape to expose ties

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, May 21, IRNA
At an unexpected turn of events officials of the Royal Nepal Army Friday called a press conference and played a tape that showed the government of India is secretly keeping ties with the Maoist rebels in the violence-torn Himalayan kingdom.

The tape, reported Saturday's 'The Indian Express', shows New Delhi's ties with the Nepal Maoist faction led by Baburam Bhattarai.

Bhattarai had criticized Prachanda of concentrating power in his person. As a result he was removed from the organizational posts in the Maoist movement by Prachanda.

In the tape, Prachanda claimed, "We received a message from the Indian authorities for a dialogue, but we said we would welcome them in our territory with full guarantee of their safety and security." According to Prachanda India is delaying the release of Maoist leaders Mohan Baidya and C P Gajurel who are lodged in Indian jails in Siliguri and Chennai because of the removal of Bhattarai by Prachanda from key posts in the Maoist movement.

"India was clearly suggesting that the two leaders would be released only after their man Bhattarai was reinstated in his earlier posts," Prachanda said.

India was initially reluctant to release any comment to counter the allegations in the tape.

Finally however, the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu issued a statement denying Prachanda's claims about the government of India. It also cast doubts on the authenticity of the video tapes played by the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA).

This expose comes only a week after India ended its 100-day old embargo on the supply of arms and ammunition to Nepal following the February 1 royal coup.

This revelation by the RNA without first taking the Indian authorities into consideration is being projected as a step that undermines the good relationship and close cooperation between the two countries.

India had been helping the Nepalese authorities fight the Maoists ever since the 2001. As a result of close ties between the two countries and their armed cooperation, India routinely described the Maoists as terrorists.

It is now interesting to watch which direction the cooperation between the two armed forces will take and what impact it has upon the armed struggle by the Maoists in the trouble-torn Himalayan monarchy.

::IRNA No.027 21/05/2005 12:17 --End

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