Digitized avatar of a copy of today’s press release issued by the Royal Nepal Army. (translation below)
According to reports emerging out from different parts of the country, Maoist comrades have gone to the looting and extortion spree. That is happening after the rebels have announced three-month long ceasefire. Press release issued by the Royal Nepal Army daily lists the details of the Maoist crimes. Why is this happening? Is the party having difficulties feeding its militants? “If so,” we heard Ram Chandra Poudel, a senior Nepali Congress leader saying yesterday, “The government is ready to provide the amount required to feed their army.” Poudel’s intention was that government is ready to anything to stop Maoists from harassing general people. Very good. At a time when people are utterly hopeful about the peace prospects in the country, Maoists should stick to their words and promises. No problem if they want to stay in defensive position, but they should keep quiet and stop harassing people.
Also the parliamenterians raised issues about Maoists activities in the Parliament yesterday. Here is what the Kathmandu Post reported today under the title Maoists on extortion spree:
Leaders of the Seven-Party Alliance (SPA) on Wednesday accused the Maoists of intensifying extortions and urged them to stop it immediately.
Speaking at today’s meeting of the House of Representatives, Nepali Congress lawmaker Devendra Raj Kandel said the Maoists, in a letter to him, asked him to “donate” Rs 100,000 recently. He said the letter was dated 27 February 2006, three months after the Maoists and the political parties signed their understanding. Kandel said the rebels have been issuing threats to his men living in Maheshpur village, Nawalparasi for not paying the sum.
“Even if others give them money, I won’t give them a single paisa,” Kandel told the Post. “I have instructed my people (in Maheshpur) accordingly.”
Kandel survived a shooting by rebels in August 2003. The rebels also bombed his homes in Nawalparasi.
Stressing that the Maoists are still continuing with their extortions, Kandel told the House, “On one hand, they say they are going to hold a dialogue, and on the other they are exacting donations.”
“The SPA should take this seriously.”
Likewise, speaking at a function in the capital, SPA leaders accused the rebels of continuing with extortions and terrorizing civilians. Urging the Maoist leadership to immediately stop such activity and facilitate the peace process, they also said the government was ready to support the Maoist army if the latter agreed to put an end to such doings.
“Maoists have been extorting money on the excuse of feeding their 20,000-man army,” said CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal. Asking the Maoists to stop all atrocities against people, Nepal added that he was ready to take responsibility for feeding the Maoist army.
Speaking at a function organized by All Nepal National Free Students Union (ANNFSU) in the capital, Nepal welcomed the Maoists decision to return land and property that were unlawfully seized in the past. “The Maoists should immediately stop collecting donations,” he added.
Nepali Congress General Secretary Ram Chandra Poudel asked the Maoists to stop terrorizing and troubling innocent people. Adding that Maoists should stop extorting money, Poudel assured, “The government is ready to provide the amount required to feed their army.”
By the way, here is a quick translation of the Royal Nepal Army press release (that we have posted above) issued today evening:
After Maoists Adbuct: On May 7 Maoists abducted five general people named Santoshi Malla, Shanti Malla, Nanda Laxmi Malla, Ujeli Malla and Kedar Nepal from Gamgadhi Bazaar of Mugu district and have taken them to an undisclosed place.
Maoists Extort: On May 10 Maoists forcefully demanded Rs. 50 thousands to Rs. 1 hundred thousands from the local merchants of Amargadhi area of Dadheldhura district.
On May 8 Maoists forcefully demanded Rs. 10 thousands from a local merchant of Battar, Nuwakot district.
On May 8 Maoists forcefully collected food items from general people of Bhikbasti, Belauri, Nairang and Dekhatbholi Villages of Kanchanpur district.
Maoists Loot: On May 9, Maoists looted one motorcycle, 192 bicycles, 50 axes, 6 saws, 9 carts, 1 mobile set from the Sagarnath Forest Development Project in Bhaktipur VDC of Sarlahi district. They also looted clothes of the staffs of that office.
And Maoists are continuing the abduction policy. Here is another report from TKP under the title Rebels abduct 5 APF men:
[B]reaching the ceasefire, Maoists abducted five policemen of Armed Police Force (APF) from Bhumahi Chowk of Ramnagar VDC in Nawalparasi, Tuesday.
The plainclothes policemen were deployed in the area with weapons ahead of the visit of APF AIG Raviraj Thapa who was coming via Bhairahawa from Pokhara to attend a police convocation ceremony at APF’s training school at Bardaghat, reported our correspondent.
Sub-inspector Bam Bahadur Kunwar, head constable Krishna Prasad Rijal and constables–Dharmaraj Jaishi, Bharat Thapa
Magar and Nawaraj Shrestha are among those abducted.
However, Maoists’ “district government chief” Chinak Kurmi, said locals had handed over the policemen to them after seizing them due to their “suspicious activities”.
On Tuesday night itself, the rebels had tried to hand over the policemen to human rights activists.
However, they were unsuccessful as the five refused to go without their weapons. One SMG, four pistols and 124 rounds of bullets were lost, said the police.
Claiming that they did not seize the weapons, Maoist leader Kurmi said that they could have been taken by locals. He had also assured there would be a search and the weapons would be returned if they were found.
However, SI Kunwar had insisted fearing they could be court-martialled if they left without their weapons.