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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 25 March, 2003, 11:00 GMT
Nepal lifts ban on pro-Maoist paper
Maoist rebel fighters
The Maoists are preparing to attend peace talks
By Sushil Sharma
BBC correspondent in Kathmandu

A newspaper seen by many as the unofficial mouthpiece of Maoist rebels in Nepal has resumed publication after nearly 18 months.

The return of Janadesh to the newsstands comes two months into a peace process between the government and Maoist rebels.

The two sides agreed on a code of conduct two weeks ago ahead of proposed peace talks.

No date for the negotiations has yet been set.

Arrests

Janadesh, a Nepali-language weekly, is the largest of many Maoist publications.

The paper was closed almost 18 months ago under a government-imposed state of emergency that saw troops deployed against rebels for the first time.

A number of journalists working for the newspaper were arrested under anti-terrorism laws.

The paper's former editor, Krishna Sen, was among those detained.

Reports later said he had died after being tortured in police custody - an allegation denied by the authorities following an official investigation.

The inquiry said it could find no evidence to support the claims.

Accusations

Following recent peace moves, the government stopped calling the rebels terrorists and has freed the detained journalists.

Although both sides say they will begin peace talks soon, they have also been accusing each other of not being sincere.

About 7,000 people have died over the past seven years of Maoist insurrection.

The rebels' ultimate objective has been to establish a communist republic.

At the moment, they are demanding a round-table conference, an interim government and a constituent assembly to draw up a new constitution.


SEE ALSO:
Nepal peace plan code unveiled
13 Mar 03 |  South Asia
Nepal rebels hold public talks
11 Mar 03 |  South Asia
Nepal rebels set conditions for talks
28 Feb 03 |  South Asia
Date set for Nepal talks
26 Feb 03 |  South Asia
Nepal ceasefire holds
25 Feb 03 |  South Asia
Q&A: Nepal ceasefire
29 Jan 03 |  South Asia


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