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South Asia Analysis Group Papers

Nepal update : The Maoist menace continues:

(May be read along with the previous paper on Nepal)
 

At long last, the government of Nepal having realised the seriousness of incidents relating to Maoist menace announced the establishment of a high-powered special committee on 1st December to look into the Maoist problem and initiate a dialogue with them. The committee is to be chaired by former Prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.

This announcement was preceded by a statement on October 12 by G.P.Koirala former prime minister and President of Nepali Congress appealing to the political leaders of all parties to help in solving the problem. He said "the need to come up with an appropriate mechanism to move forward to end the Maoist violence has now become imperative. Nepal, a small country cannot sustain itself for long if it allows such violence to continue without any check."
 

He announced a three pronged strategy of dealing with it economically, politically and administratively though no specific details were revealed..

Initially the Nepali Congress government looked at the Maoist problem purely as one of law and order, a problem "wholly terrorist and criminal" in character. Prime minister Bhattarai once threatened (Times of India, August 4) that if the Maoists refuse to a serious dialogue to settle the matter once and for all, "it will be a case of bullet for bullet." This statement was criticised by many left oriented political leaders that a democratic government committed to
 

democracy "should not speak in the language of bombs and guns." Easily said than done.

On the other hand, as early as May 1999 Prachand, leader of the People’s war movement in a reply to one local newspaper, on the question of talks had said "We do not know that the government has ever called us for negotiations in an honest, authoritative and serious manner. We have always made it clear that we are not opposed to negotiations in principle. But in a statement after the full plenum of its Central committee, on August 4, the party ( NCP maoist) announced a restructuring of its military organization towards the "lofty goal of constructing base areas" and for forging a joint struggle of all "leftist, progressive, patriotic and pro people forces."
 

Many suggestions have been made to meet the menace from one extreme to the other but none appeared to consider the problem in all its aspects One suggestion, perhaps from the Ganesh Man Singh Peace campaign, was to provide monetary incentives in terms of cash and land to the misguided Maoists. As expected some of the Nepali Congress leaders strongly objected to the suggestion as this would encourage people to indulge in terrorist activities while the victims would remain uncompensated. As one local newspaper said (Nepal Jagaran of July 19) "anyone can now pose as a Maoist, surrender before the government and become rich." On the other hand, when the government seriously set about tightening the anti terrorist laws of the country with the introduction of the "internal Administration (amendment) bills, all the leftist parties of some standing the ML, the Unity center, the Masal, the MLM, the Marxist, the United, NWPP, the National People’s movement Coordination Committee and the United People’s front jointly voiced their opposition to the bill that it deprived people of their rights!
 

The government was placed in a dilemma drawing flak both from within and from the opposition. It was left with no choice but to form a high-powered committee to go into all aspects of the question and initiate a dialogue with the Maoists..
 

A list of major incidents from May 1999 to October 1999 is appended with this paper. It could be seen that the major brunt of the problem has been borne by the two districts of Rolpa and Rukum of Mid Western Development region and the Gorkha district of western Development region. Rolpa and Rukum are far removed from Kathmandu the capital, economically backward and thinly populated with very few roads.

It is estimated that till last month from March 1996, a total of 1060 people including Policemen, Maoists and civilians have lost their lives and another 2000 have been wounded.
 

Some of the incidents like the abduction of Thule Rai the Deputy superintendent of Police of Rukum, the ambush and killing of the Deputy Superintendent of Police in Kalikot district are serious and disturbing. In one of the encounters in Gorkha, Suresh Wagle, an alternative politburo member of the party was killed. Retaliatory strikes in response to the killing were made by the Maoists in many districts. Thule Rai is still in the custody of the Maoists.
 

Perhaps the most spectacular event was the coordinated attack on the night of September 22

when Maoists exploded bombs at different places in 25 districts of Nepal. A bomb was exploded at the house of Superintendent of Police Krishna Bahadur at Kalanki and in the ancestral residence of Home minister at Birendra nagar. Other targets in the co-ordinated attack were Police Posts, a movie theater and some branch offices of small farmers Development Project and of an Agricultural development bank. Though there was no lost of life, there was extensive damage to property.

 

Reports indicate that the government of Nepal is now quite concerned with the Maoist menace. The announcement of a high-powered committee to open a dialogue with the Maoists is a good sign. There is realisation that it is just not a law and order problem but one having deeper ramifications affecting the social, economic and political fabric of remote regions of Nepal.
 

APPENDIX: Major Incidents since May 1999

May

9 : At Liwang in Rolpa, Maoists attacked an army team escorting ballot boxes after the poll.

2 soldiers were killed.

June
 

11: About 200 Maoists in army uniform attacked a police post in the Badarnak VDC with bombs. One policeman Krishna Dev Joshi was killed. The insurgents tied 14 other

policemen to a tree and took away 13 rifles and 2 revolvers. This was one of the worst incidents when the Police Post was overwhelmed.

14: Police Post in the Laha VDC of Jajarkot district was attacked resulting in the killing of 4 policemen and 6 others seriously injured.

23: In a two hours long encounter between Police and insurgents, 11 Maoists were killed at Kwang, Rolpa district. Nine weapons with ammunition were recovered. 2 Policemen were injured.

27: One Maoist was killed in an encounter with the Police at Bhirkot VDC in Gorkha district.

29: In an encounter in the forest of Jaktipur VDC, in Jajarkot district, 6 insurgents were killed and large quantities of explosives were seized. 2 Policemen were also hurt.

30: About 150 insurgents attacked and set fire to a Police post at Meche VDC in Kabhrepalanchok district. One Maoist was killed and four Policemen were injured.

July:
 

10: 4 Maoist insurgents were killed in police firing at Ratandura VDC in Sindhulamadi.

12: 2 Maoist insurgents and one Policemen were killed in a clash at Awathing VDC in

Surkhet. About 150 insurgents were involved in the clash. The insurgents used explosives to

damage the Police Post building.

13: Maoists looted the Police post at Phukot VDC in Kalikot and killed 2 Policemen.

22: 4 Maoists were killed in a clash with Policemen of Pipale VDC in Rukum district.

Two muskets and explosives were seized from the insurgents.

23: One Maoist insurgent was killed and one Policeman injured in an encounter at Thanwang

VDC in Rolpa district.

24: The Maoists killed Bhakta Bahadur Gurung, a police Havildar at Bhoteodhar VDC

in Lamjung district.

Same day 2 Maoist insurgents were killed and 2 others injured in an encounter with the Police at Parewa Danda VDC, in Lamjung district.

25: Insurgents bombed the office building of the Small farmers development project at Halchok VDC in Gorkha district.

30: Kripa Ram Oli, Vice chairman of the Muru VDC of Rukum district was brutally murdered

by Maoists.

August:

4: Police Inspector Hari Singh Silwal was shot dead in Siraha district.

5: Hom Raj Lohani, a member of the Tanahu district committee of the Nepali Congress was

brutally murdered in broad day light on the Prithvi Highway at Tanahu.

8: In an encounter in Narayanpur VDC of Kailali district, one Maoist was killed.

11: A deputy Supdt of Police, Kailash Kumar Chetri died on the spot and one other Police

man injured when their team 11 in number was ambushed in Paku VDC in Kalikot district.

Same day , one Polic Havildar Khem Bahadur Khatri was shot dead in Gorkha. The

insurgensts also set fire to the building in the Gorkha Education Campus.

14: There was an exchange of fire between Police and Maoists in Surkhet. No one was

injured.

17: One Maoist was injured in the Thakurdar VDC of Bardiya district in an encounter with the Police.

21: One Maoist was killed in an encounter with the Police in Pokali VDC of Okhaldunga.

23: Two persons with 145 pieces of gelatine, 15 detonators and fuse wire were arrested in

Kuvakot VDC of Baitadi district.

Same day, in an attack on the Small farmers development project, property worth 6.5 million

NC (Nepali Rupees) were damaged. The building was razed to the ground.

26: The Vice Chairman of Mahakali VDC of Rukum was abducted.

29: The Secretary of the Majhauwa VDC of Siraha district, Dhanik Lal Mandal and his son

were shot dead in Majuhauwa in Siraha district.

September:
 

11: A group of Maoist insurgents abducted and later killed Mitra Man Tamang, of the security

staff of the Khimti Hydro power Project in the Bhirkot VDC of Dolakha .

12: Suresh Wagle an alternative member of NCP (Maoist) was killed in an encounter in

Gorkha.

13: 3 Maoists were killed in Rolpa district in an encounter.

Same day in an another encounter 2 insurgents were killed in Rukum district.

14: In yet another clash 2 Maoists were killed in Shriwang VDC of Rolpa.

16: In Pakhapani VDC of Rolpa, 3 insurgents were killed in an encounter.

18: A group of 20 insurgents killed Purna Bahadur Ale and seriously injured six other

family members in Narayankhola VDC of Sarlahi.

19: 3 Insurgents were killed in an encounter inKOL VDC of Rukum.

20: Dambar Jung Chand, a Maoist commander was killed in Kotwada VDC of Salyan .

21: 2 insurgents killed in an encounter in Salyan 

22: A Police Post in Mahat VDC of Rukum was attacked and seven policemen were killed. One senior NC leader Purna Bahadur Budhamagar was also killed. The chief of the local striking force, Thule Rai, the Deputy supdt. Of Police was abducted.

Same day, a Police Post in Jaktipur VDC of Jajarkot was attacked with one Policeman killed

and several others injured.

24: One insurgent was killed in Shova VDC of Rukum.

26: 50 armed Maoists attacked a Police Post at Bhimkhori in the Shikharpur VDC of Kabhre

district. 3 Policemen and one insurgent were killed and 4 other policemen sustained injuries.

OCTOBER:
 

1: Krishna Prasad Aryal, a district member of the Tarun Dal of the Nepali Congress and

district member of the Tarun Dal at Bajhang VDC of Gorkha district, was hacked to death.

3: 3 insurgents were killed in a police-Maoist clash in Mahat VDC of Rukum. It is suspected

that those killed were high ranking Maoists.

16: In yet another clash between Police and insurgents at Mahat VDC Rukum, 6 Maoist

insurgents including three women were killed.

22: One Nepali Congress leader Mohan Singh Ghimire was hacked to death at Ishaneswor

VDC in Lamjung.

26: A large group of insurgents attacked the Pakhapani Police Post in Rolpa. One insurgent

was killed with no casualities on the side of the Police.

29: 2 Maoists were killed in a clash with the Police at Gram VDC Rolpa.

Dr. S.Chandrasekharan

3.12.99


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