ULFA setting up camp in Nepal: Reports
The United Liberation Front of Assam (ULFA), an Indian separatist group based in the Northeastern state of Assam, is shifting its base to Nepal, reported AFP news agency.
"We were in touch with Maoist groups in Nepal and procuring arms, ammunition and explosives for ULFA," Ghanakanta Bora, a senior ULFA rebel who along with his wife surrendered to Indian troops in Assam on Tuesday, was quoted as saying.
The former rebel leader said the decision comes in the wake of crackdowns in the front's Myanmar and Bangladesh hide-outs by the respective governments. "With both the military junta in Myanmar and the caretaker government in Bangladesh deciding to crackdown on groups like ULFA, the top leadership decided to look for safer sanctuaries," he told reporters.
"Nepal was considered the safest location," Bora said at a ceremony marking his surrender also attended by senior army officials.
He said the group "is currently preparing to shift a large number of cadres and leaders" to Nepal, an allegation the Maoist top brass here deny.
The ULFA has been blamed for ethnic massacres and a bombing campaign in oil and timber-rich Assam state.
Separatist violence has claimed an estimated 20,000 lives since 1979 in Assam, the largest state in India's northeast.
The Maoists, however, dismissed the allegations.
"This is totally baseless, we don't know anybody from ULFA and we have never had any relationship with them at any point in the past," Baburam Bhatterai, the Maoist second-in-command said.
"These allegations could have been made to try and derail Nepal's peace process and drag us into disputes," he said.
Why did India say that, we want an answer: Prachanda
Maoist Chairman Prachanda Wednesday claimed that media reports that India has stressed on a coalition only between the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML indicated the beginning of foreign meddling in Nepali politics.
Stating that such a statement from India at a time when the eight-party coalition was working for a democratic republic and Constituent Assembly polls was a "bad sign," Prachanda also claimed that the statement was an open intervention in Nepali politics.
"Delhi's statement has enraged the Maoists," Prachanda said, adding, "India has no right to keep some parties close to it while distancing others. Why did they (India) say that, we want an answer."
Speaking at a programme organized by the Maoist affiliated Revolutionary Journalists' Association in Butwal today, the Maoist chief also said that the argument that the latest Maoist activities had made India suspicious, was baseless.
Expressing concern over the recent Maoist activities, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during a meeting with UML team headed by General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, on Tuesday had said that the unity between the Nepali Congress and UML be strengthened.
"We found that the Indian prime minister doubts the Maoist activities. The Indian premier also stressed on a permanent unity between the Nepali Congress and our party," a UML leader who was present at the meeting told ekantipur Tuesday.
Prachanda said, "In this critical time, India should suggest the eight parties to move ahead united, otherwise it better not speak on Nepali affairs."
"It's for the Nepali people to suggest and direct the Nepali political parties as to what they should do, how and when. It's not the job of New Delhi and the US."
Claiming that royalists and certain sections of the international community were plotting against the Maoists, the former rebel chief said that the CA elections would have no meaning under such circumstances.
"On the one hand there is this foreign meddling, while on the other there is the king. Both plotting against us. We will not go for a constituent assembly in such a time. Therefore the parliament should declare a republic first," he said.