NEPAL: update no.5: Nepali Congress needs serious introspection:
Ten years of the Multi-Party System: To what end?
On April 8, Nepal observed the 10th anniversary of the restoration of the multiparty system. Seminars were organised in different parts of the country, but most of these programmes ended up in political parties trading charges and blaming each other.
In a major speech, G.P. Koirala said "The popular aspirations remain unmet due largely to the lack of vision of the political parties which were instrumental in restoration of democracy. In the same breadth he said "The Political parties knew democracy was their single-point agenda, but did not know what next or after that." Though this last statement was meant for the leftist opposition, Koirala should find out what went wrong in his own party.
None had suffered more than the Nepali Congress leaders themselves when they were suppressed during the Panchayat Raj rule. K.P.Bhattarai, the senior leader and former Prime minister spent many years in jail for the cause of restoration of democracy. G.P.Koirala spent his youthful days in exile in India for many years. Now they are squabbling with each other for position and power and the result is that Nepali Congress is vertically split. Gone are the ideals and principles on which the 1990 Constitution that "instituionalised the fruits of struggles and sacrifices of the people . . . and the ideals and principles adopted by the Nepali Congress." (Punarjagran of April 4)
The feud between Koirala and Bhattarai continues. While making an emotional exit in the Parliament on March 16, instead of merely extending cooperation to the new leader, Bhattarai said that his "cooperation will be for a young leader." In another speech on April 11, his attack on Koirala was more direct. He said " I am more doubtful of the highly ambitious Nepali Congress leaders than anyone else who could pose threat to democracy." In the same meeting he announced his plans to contest for the Presidentship of the Party. Sher Bahadur Deuba had also indicated his willingness to contest. Shailaja Acharya of G.P.Koirala’s camp has also announced her intention to contest. So the feud continues taking many forms and the nation is suffering. G.P.Koirala described his position as Prime minister as one surrounded by volcanoes. (Rising Nepal, May 4)
Incidents relating to the Maoist problem continue unabated with killings from both sides. Details of all the incidents from the last update are given in the Appendix.
The delegates of the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) visited over 46 Moist affected areas in the month of March. After the visit they expressed their organisation’s readiness to mediate between the NCP (Maoist) and the government to resolve the crisis. They specially mentioned the ICRC’s concern about the safety of the innocent people.
The Amnesty International expressed concern over deteriorating human rights situation and a climate of impunity for illegal police actions during operations against Maoists since 1996. There was however no word of sympathy for the 165 policemen killed so far or for their families.
The Nepal Communist Party ( Maoist) resorted to a programme of "Armed Shut," causing a series of incidents all over the country. in the first week of April. The Police achieved a breakthrough in Kathmandu. In an incident three Maoists hurled a petrol bomb in the heart of Kathmandu at an electrical shop in Ganabahal. The local people managed to apprehend one of the culprits who happened to be the secretary of the District committee of NCP (Maoist) Kathmandu.
The special task force headed by ex-Home Secretary, Khem Raj Regmi, formed in Feb. 2000 to consider the introduction of Armed Police Service to tackle specially terrorism submitted its recommendations. The committee suggested a force of 15,000 split into nine battalions and one regiment each in five development regions with an Inspector General of Police reporting directly to the Home minister.
G.P.Koirala however is having second thoughts about having a specialist force and instead would like the army to take over anti insurgent operations in the disturbed areas. It was on the anniversary of the multi party system that Koirala announced the revival of the National Security Council and using the army to check the Maoist activities. The Police are unhappy over this decision as the induction of army would according to them mean that the government is not sure of the capability of the Police organisation to tackle the problem.
Induction of the army is bound to create strong criticism from all sections of people. The Deuba committee which was specially formed to have a dialogue with the Maoists had just had a breakthrough and managed to talk officially to one of the representatives of the Maoists. The Maoists are not likely to continue the dialogue, if the army as is being planned establishes six permanent posts in the disturbed areas of Rolpa, Rukum, Jajarkot, Kalikot, Sindhuli and Salyan. . Clashes between the army and the insurgents will inevitably follow once the posts are established. There is a danger of escalation of the conflict.
After some dithering, the government extended the term of the Deuba committee upto the middle of July. It looks that the Deuba Committee will be able to achieve nothing and the Maoist activities are bound to get worse.
13 : The Maoists attacked a police post located near Musikot, the district headquarters of Rukum.
Maoists also failed to capture the Salle airport in Rukum. They had earlier tried to capture it on Jan 24 and February 13.
14: Maoist insurgents attacked Land Tax office, Agricultural Development Bank offices, landlords and the Police force in different parts of the country.
Two policemen were killed and several others injured in Maoist attack at a police post in the Bhringri VDC of Pyuthan.
15: The insurgents had absconded with 30 rifles and scores of bullets from the post. They also looted Rs. 5.5 million from a nearby branch of the Nepal Bank. and torched the ledgers.
In Rolpa, the Maoist insurgents detonated the bomb, near the gate of the District Administration office.
In Mairhawa, a bomb exploded at the office of the District Land Revenue officer. A pipe bomb exploded at the District Cooperative Office in the Bhadrapur
In the Kartikaswamy VDC of Jumla, the Maoists looted property worth Rs. 150,000 from the house of Khem Raj Neupane, an advocate.
In the Nehoolpur VDC of Bardiya, the Maoist detonated a bomb near a local’s (Ganesh Thapa) house.
16: The Maoist raided the house of Kalyan KC.at the Shankapur VDC in Kanchanpur.
A powerful bomb exploded at the residence of Karna Bahadur Chokhal, an NC activist broke his leg.
17: Five Maoists were killed in a Maoist Police encounter at the Siuna VDC of in Kalikot.
24: Three policemen and one Maoist insurgent were killed when a group of Maoist insurgents attacked a police post and the Dhurkat VDC of Gulmi.
28: A group of about 400 Maoist insurgents attacked the house of Harischandra Yadav, District Education Officer of Parsa ,wounded his brother and looted property worth about Rs.700,000.
29: One policeman was killed and two others sustained serious injuries when the Maoist insurgents attacked the Harmi Police Post in Gorkha.
1: 50 masked and armed Maoist insurgents entered the Community Development Health Office at Fafarbari VDC in Makwanpur and absconded with property worth Rs. 470,000.
At Sarikhet VDC in the same district about 60 suspected Maoist insurgents looted Indian Rupees 200,000 from a local’s residence.
2: Maoist insurgents abducted a VDC Chairman and a school headmaster in Tanahu, VDC Chairman was released on 4th April.
3: In Surkhet, two policemen were seriously injured in a police-Maoist encounter at the Maintada VDC. Seven Maoists were killed in the incident.
In Arghakhanchi, the Maoist insurgents set fire to an abandoned police post at the Hanshapur VDC.
4: In Jhapa, Maoist insurgents looted Rs 344,000 and a rifle from the Gauradah sub-branch of the Nepal Bank Ltd.
One policeman was killed when the Maoists attacked the Area Police Office in Ranmamaikot.
5: Eight policemen died when about 200 Maoist insurgents attacked the police post in Taksere in Rukum. Nineteen other policemen sustained injuries while about 12 Maoist insurgents were also believed to have been killed.
In Dailekh, a group of Maoist insurgents abducted two policemen.
In Hetauda, two masked insurgents entered Nepal Lever Ltd., and set off a pipe bomb.
In Bardiya, Chairman of the Baniyabhar VDC, Mohan Tharu was injured by insurgents.
8: The Maoists insurgents torched a bus parked at the Padampokhari VDC in Makwanpur.
12: Seven persons, including six policemen and a bus conductor, were killed on April 12 when their vehicle got trapped in an ambush laid by the Maoist insurgents while on their way back to the district headquarters after delivering question papers for the SLC examination at the Bageshwori High School in Surkhet.
A Maoist commander lost his right hand in Garkhakot village in Jajarkot when the fuse attached to the gelatine he was lighting went off.
A group of armed Maoist insurgents broke into Tiger Mountain Hotel in the Lekhnath Municipality (Pokhara) and looted property worth Rs. 600,000/-.
13: The Maoist insurgents killed NC activists Uday Bahadur Shahi and Uday Ram Jaisi at the Kaledanda VDC in Achham.
14: The Maoist insurgents kidnapped Reg Bahadur Subedi, a former Assistant Minister, and his son from their residence in Gajul, Rolpa.
20: The Maoist insurgents attacked a police post in Lakhapani, injuring two policemen.
21: The Maoist insurgents shot dead Amar Bahadur Pun, Chairman of Bhawang VDC, Rolpa, in a rented house in Liwang.
At the Sankhamul VDC in Salyan, a policeman sustained serious injury as a result of the explosion of the bomb planted by the Maoists at the main gate of the school.
23: The Maoist insurgents assaulted two teachers of the Saunepani School in Musikot.
26: Two Maoist insurgents and a civilian died and some policemen and Maoist insurgents sustained injuries in a police-Maoist clash at a local forest of the Kunadhari VDC of Surkhet.
A group of Maoist insurgents torched the house of a local NC leader, Yagya Bahadur BC, at the Pokharikanda VDC of the Surkhet district.
In Tanahu, the police uncovered a training centre of the Maoists along with huge quantities of explosives, country made pistols and other documents near Vandipur Bazar.
The Maoist insurgents opened fire on a passenger bus plying on the Birendranagar West Babiya Chour route. Three policemen and a passenger sustained bullet injuries. According to reports some policemen on patrolling duty were travelling in the bus.
27: Three Maoist insurgents were killed in on the spot in a clash with a police team at Syalpakh VDC of Rukkum on April 27.
28: Four policemen were killed and three others sustained injuries in an ambush laid by the Maoist insurgents at Kaule Bhanjyang, Dhading.
30: The Maoist insurgents torched six houses owned by the Animal Development Farm in the Chuchure VDC of Ramechhap and gave away 70 cows belonging to the farm to the local people.
Police arrested one woman commander of the NCP (Maoist) at Damauli while trying to attack the police with a grenade. Three of her companions, however managed to escape.
1: Four insurgents were killed in two separate incidents of police-Maoist crossfire in Rolpa on May 1.
A group of Maoist insurgents forced into a Land Survey Office in the Saranamati VDC of the Jhapa district and burnt away maps, field books and other important official documents.
3: The Maoist insurgents looted a 12-bore gun from the house of one C.L.Shrestha of the Betrawati bazaar in Nuwakot by exploding a gelatine.
The Maoists abducted a NDP worker, Chitra Bahadur Thapa, from the Motichaur VDC in Sindhupalchok district.
4: In Chitwan, the Maoists seized two rifles and 100 rounds of bullets from a rhino patrol team at the Chitwan National Park.
5: The Maoists bombed the office of the Social Services Group, an NGO, at Kuntabesi in Kabhre and destroyed property worth millions of rupees.
6: A group of about 10 Maoist insurgents seized a helicopter belonging to the Ananya Air, which was transporting foodgrains, at Chilkhaya in Kalikot, and released it half an hour later after making the flight crew sign a paper on behalf of the helicopter company that it would stop ferrying police personnel.
A Maoist insurgent was gunned down by the police at the same village in a scuffle that broke out after the police tried to disperse a gathering at a cultural program of pro-Maoist All Nepal Farmers’ Association.
8: A group of Maoist women raided over hundred houses in five villages in Jajarkot and destroyed about 500 liters of home made alcohol in a surprise anti-alcohol drive.
In Dailekh, the Maoist insurgents kidnapped two local teachers, Dirgha Bahadur Dashoudi and Narayan Sharma, on the charge that they had become members of the Tarun Dal, the youth wing of the NC
9: Chitra Bahadur Thapa, a NDP activist who had been abducted by the Maoists from his residence at Bhotechaur in Sindhupalchok, was found dead in a nearby village. Maoists had accused him as a police informer.
13: A group of Maoist insurgents snatched the voters lists of the Dhimal VDC in Makwanpur from a voters list compilation team and torched them.
14: A Maoist insurgent died in an exchange of fire between the police and a group of about 30 Maoist insurgents who had attacked a police patrol at the Malkot VDC in Kalikot .
In Jumla the Maoist insurgents kidnapped and hacked a youth to death.
15: Three Maoist insurgents died and two policemen sustained injuries in an exchange of fire between the police and the insurgents at the Mugra VDC of Kalikot.
16: The Maoist insurgents attacked the Gajul Police Post in Rolpa and killed a Police Inspector belonging to a striking force comprising 75 members.
A group of Maoist insurgents hurled a bomb at a branch office of the Agricultural Developement Bank in Hatia VDC, Baglung, damaging property worth Rs.10 million and destroying all documents and furniture.
In Dolakha, the Police hauled a large quantity of ammunition let behind by some Maoist insurgents who had fled after a two hour exchange of fire.
20: A strike was observed in Banke and Bardiya districts on the call of the Maoists to commemorate the "martyrdom" of a Maoist fighter. No incidence of violence was reported.
21: In Chitwan, the Maoists distributed among the concerned farmers landownership certificates recently looted by them from a Small Farmers Development Project Office.