11/17/2008, 00.00
NEPAL - INDIA
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Nepal asks India to free Maoists detained in its prisons

by Kalpit Parajuli
The detainees are former commanders of Nepalese revolutionary forces. The solution of the problem of Maoist rebels weighs on the future of the country. The conclusion of the UN mission is also connected to the process of integrating the forces of the People's Liberation Army into the ranks of the regular army.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) - The Nepalese prime minister is asking India to free the Maoist rebel commanders detained in Indian prisons. Back from the summit in the Bay of Bengal (BIMSTEC), Pushpa Kamal Dahal announced the official request to the head of the government of New Delhi, Manmohan Singh, to "release our cadres who are in the Patna jail." "The Indian prime minister has given me a positive commitment," says the Nepalese leader, whose nickname is "Prachanda."

As of today, more than 20 Maoist rebels are detained in Indian prisons. Immediately after the rise to power of the Maoist party, New Delhi freed two leading exponents of the revolutionary forces detained in the prison of Jalpaiguri, to demonstrate willingness to continue cooperation. The incident has taken on particular significance partly because of the presence of Maoist rebel groups operating in India. According to some analysts, the openness of New Delhi is related to the fact that India is Nepal's main commercial and economic partner, but the Maoist Prachanda has repeatedly demonstrated that he is more interested in Beijing than in New Delhi.

At the BIMSTEC Meeting, the two prime ministers (in the photo) also addressed the dispute over borders in the regions of Susta and Kalapani. The Maoist leader says that he "emphasized the need to resolve border disputes and curtail criminal activities along bordering areas," receiving full cooperation from India.

Regarding the extension of the UN mission in Nepal (UNMIN), Prachanda guaranteed that with the BIMSTEC meeting, the judgment of Manmohan Singh on this matter has become more positive. New Delhi has never looked favorably on an extension, but the UNMIN withdrawal date is being compromised by lack of progress in integrating the Maoist revolutionary forces of the People's Liberation Army into the regular army of Nepal. The head of the government says that "if we fail to complete the army integration task in the remaining three months, we cannot send UNMIN back."

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