Kathmandu, Sept. 11: The Nepal government has alerted Delhi to the possibility of Maoist rebels crossing over to Sikkim and the northeastern states for shelter and training.
Highly-placed sources said the Nepal government recently wrote to the Indian external affairs and home ministries, seeking their co-operation in thwarting attempts by Maoist rebels to enter the Northeast.
Nepal’s information and public relations minister Jayprakash Prasad Gupta told The Telegraph here that his government had “definite information” about Maoist rebels seeking “safe havens” in Sikkim and some northeastern states following the police crackdown on them. “Some of the Maoist rebels may be already attending training camps in the Northeast. We are trying to confirm the reports,” he said.
Gupta identified Manipur and the border areas of Assam and West Bengal as the areas where Maoist rebels were most likely to set up bases. He said the Ulfa, the National Democratic Front of Boroland (NDFB) and the Kamtapur Liberation Organisation (KLO) could be their possible allies.
The minister claimed that the Nepal government had been informed about the presence of “Maoist sympathisers” in parts of India. Nepal police and army intelligence believe that most top Maoist leaders are currently in India. Nepal might seek help from the international community in taming the Maoist guerrillas, sources said. As far as India is concerned, the Sher Bahadur Deuba government has been pressuring Delhi to ensure that Maoist rebels from Nepal do not get any help.
Gupta said the Deuba government was “satisfied” with India’s proactive role in maintaining normality in Nepal, but some political parties were causing problems by expressing their support for the Maoist insurrection. “Our vision is clear. Those who take up arms for any cause will not be allowed to operate in Nepal.” The Himalayan kingdom has lately witnessed attacks by suspected Maoist rebels on businesspeople of Indian origin. But those supporting the Maoists’ clamour for autonomy and an end to monarchy are against the idea of any military assistance from India.
The Nepalese public, too, is divided on whether India should play a role in tackling the Maoist insurrection. A section feels India should “lay off”, but the vast majority supports the move.
Just before King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah visited Guwahati in June, the Union home ministry had alerted Assam police to the possibility of Maoist rebels using their links with the Ulfa and NDFB to disrupt the monarch’s pilgrimage to Kamakhya temple. It said a section of the large Nepali population of the Northeast could provide shelter to rebels from the Himalayan kingdom.
Assam’s capital city had turned into a fortress on the eve of King Gyanendra’s visit.