Indian envoy meets Maoist minister
Apr 20, 2007 - 6:02:41 PM

Kathmandu, April 20 - Indian ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shankar Mukherjee Friday met Nepal's Information and Communications Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who is also a front-ranking leader of the Maoist party, earlier banned as a terrorist organisation in India.

Mahara, who is also the newly appointed spokesman of the eight-party government, reportedly told the Indian envoy about his party's suspicion that there was conspiracy afoot to sabotage a crucial election to determine the fate of Nepal's 238-year-old monarchy.

Mukherjee's meeting with the Maoist minister comes at a time the guerrillas have paralysed parliament with their protests.

They are demanding that the government announce a fresh date for the election that has been postponed indefinitely from June 20.

They are also asking the ruling alliance to scrap a commission formed before they came to power to advise the government on adding new constituencies for the election.

For the last two sessions, Maoist MPs raised slogans in the house and prevented it from sitting to press their demand for an apology from Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula for a raid on the offices of one of their sister organisations by police on the suspicion the members were harbouring illegal weapons.

India's concern has been mounting with the escalation of unrest in the Terai region that has been threatening to spill over into India.

Ethnic protesters of Indian origin have called a three-day strike in the Terai from Friday, asking for the resignation of Sitaula for the death of over 60 people in the protests since this year.

Earlier, Mukherjee had also met Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, giving rise to acid comments in the local media about overactive foreign diplomats, meaning Mukherjee and the American ambassador to Nepal, James Moriarty.

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