Maoists, who have charged India with interfering in Nepal’s politics, will burn copies of the ‘unequal agreements’ signed with it and stage protests in areas “encroached upon” by India.

The party’s central committee meeting here on Tuesday decided to launch the protests to protect Nepal’s sovereignty.

After its third round of agitation, the main Opposition has shifted its focus from “correcting” President Ram Baran Yadav, who reinstated General Rookmangud Katawal as Army chief (to restore civilian supremacy) to “protection of national independence.”

The party will burn the copies of “unequal treaties” signed with India on January 14. Among others, copies of the India- Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1950 would be burnt across the country. The Maoists have been demanding that it be abrogated ever since they waged the People’s War in 1996.

During Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s (Prachanda) official visit as Prime Minister to India last year, the two governments agreed to “review, adjust and update” the treaty but it did not happen.

Before the burning protest, the party leaders will visit areas where Nepal and India share a border. On January 11, top Maoist leaders would visit places where Nepal’s land had allegedly been “encroached upon” by India.

Chairman Prachanda would go to the Mahakali zone; Baburam Bhattarai, Mohan Baidya, Narayankaji Shrestha, and Ram Bahadur Thapa would inspect Susta, Pashupatinagar, the Laxmanpur dam and the Khardulotan dam respectively. They will address people there.

On January 19, demonstrations will be staged outside the Indian Embassy here.

The party has been vocal against India after it backed General Katawal, who was removed by the Maoists but the President decided to reinstate him. It was on this issue that the Maoists quit the government in May. They dub the present CPN-UML-led coalition government a ‘puppet’ of India.

Meanwhile, a front-page news report published in Nagarik daily on Tuesday said, quoting Mr. Prachanda, India had put pressure on the Maoists to make party vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai Prime Minister.

“India has many times proposed that the stalemate of Nepal would end if Baburam Bhattarai is made Prime Minister,” the report quotes Mr. Prachanda as having told his cadres at a meeting. However, when journalists queried Mr. Prachanda and Mr. Bhattarai later, both dismissed the report.

Meanwhile, the party’s Central Committee meeting, on the day the report was published, decided that Mr. Prachanda would lead their government.

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