Kathmandu: Nepal’s radical Maoist group leader Netra Bikram Chand, who made his first public appearance in two years, on Friday said that he was committed to the peace agreement reached between his banned outfit and the government aimed at ending violent attacks, extortion and bombings by the rebels.
Rebel leader Chand, known by his guerrilla name Biplav, emerged out of hiding after the government lifted a ban on his Nepal Communist Party group, CPN-Biplav, so it could take part in the public signing of the peace agreement.
“I would like to assure everyone that we will abide by the agreement signed with the government,” said Chand, while addressing the agreement-signing ceremony here, which was attended by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, who led the talks team from the government side.
The two sides on Thursday had reached the three-point agreement.
Under the peace deal, the rebel group would seek to address all its political issues through dialogue and carry out all political activities peacefully, and the government, in return, would lift the ban imposed on the party’s activities and initiate the process to release the party’s cadres arrested in the past and withdraw cases against them.
Speaking during the ceremony, Prime Minister Oli said, “Nepal has entered a peaceful era. There is no more violence in Nepal or any violent conflicts left in Nepal.”
The Nepal government had imposed a ban on the activities of the CPN-Biplav in March 2019 after the party carried out two blasts in Kathmandu, killing one person.
Chand, once a loyal lieutenant of Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda,’ who led the decade-long Maoist war, had formed his Communist Party of Nepal, saying Dahal had left the “people’s war” halfway and that he wanted to complete it through a “unified people’s revolution.”
Chand and Thapa, the incumbent home minister who was also a key member of the Maoist party during the war, had parted ways with Dahal in 2012, six years after the historic peace deal.
But Chand and Thapa’s association did not last long as they differed on their political lines. Though Thapa was for launching a revolt on the basis of the “people’s war,” he returned to Dahal’s Maoist party in 2016.
In 2018, Thapa was appointed home minister in the Oli Cabinet.
Days after becoming the home minister, Thapa had issued an arrest warrant against Chand.
Three years later, once the comrades in arms, who had become comrades at wars, were sharing the same stage on Friday, as Chand formally agreed to renounce politics of violence.