No Farewell to Arms?

By Deepak Adhikari

Wednesday saw contradictory statements (aired by BBC Nepali Service) by top-notch negotiating leaders of ongoing dialogue (or is it over?). Though, the committees headed by Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Home Minister Krishna Sitaula looks irrelevant after summit level talks between Prachanda and the Prime Minister, they made two different statements that are likely to jeopardize the peace process.

guerilla_pointing_gun.JPG
When Will This End? Maoist guerillas with their guns in Kailali. Pic by Dinesh Wagle

Krishna Sitaula remarked that Maoists can not participate in interim government unless they allow UN body to monitor their arms. Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that they could not do so before the election of Constituent Assembly. This seems to be the crux of the problem.

Observers believed that April Uprising would sow the seeds of political reconciliation and would result in a peaceful dawn. But as the ongoing dialogues and close-door agreement appear hazy, the peace process has become stagnant. The issue of management of Maoist’s arms has become the intriguing aspect of dialogue now. Given that their power lies in the barrel of the guns, Maoists unwillingness to withdraw arms until the CA election may result in yet another stalemate.

April’s mass protest was hailed as exemplary and extra-ordinary from around the world. But, ironically, a rebel force joining the government is likely to turn out as another uniqueness Nepal is giving to the world. Nowhere in the world does a rebel force agree to participate in the government while their guerillas still carry guns. This way, Maoists have been both the part of problem-solving and the problem itself.

Is a government with parallel armed force possible? Furthermore, Maoists were wary about House of Representative declaring one after another groundbreaking changes. This was unbearable for a force that clams to be ultra radical.

Prachanda, dressed in grey trouser and shirt in June 16, invoked Lord Buddha in his first public rendezvous with media persons. But, he failed to realize that his cadres have not ceased gun-wielding, killings and exhortations. Prachanda and his cohorts are responsible for bizarre rule in remote villages. Coincidently, Prachanda’s neatly combed and gelled hair is targeted to appeal to urban middle class Nepali who have been distancing themselves from Maoists.

‘Govt can feed Maoists during UN monitoring’

BY KULCHANDRA NEUPANE & DINESH REGMI

POKHARA, June 21 – Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said here Wednesday that the government can bear the expenses of the Maoist army during arms monitoring by the United Nations.
“We are preparing to send a request to the UN for arms monitoring,” said Sitaula, adding, “After that, government can consider feeding the Maoists in barracks.”

Sitaula also said that Nepali Congress is yet to decide on the future of monarchy and that monarchy is ceremonial at the moment.

Pointing out that political parties are yet to make public their agendas for constituent assembly elections, he said Nepali Congress would make public its agenda after dates for elections are announced.

When NC workers of Kaski expressed dissatisfaction over Prime Minister Koirala’s recent remarks on monarchy, Sitaula said Koirala was only mentioning the current status of the King, and that ceremonial monarchy is not NC’s agenda for constituent assembly elections.

“We are yet to discuss monarchy, restructuring of state, inclusive democracy as well as economic and social progress,” he said. “All these agendas will be clear by the time dates of constituent assembly elections are announced.”

On why Nepali Army personnel are still stationed at check posts, Sitaula said that the understanding is not to allow army to appear armed in public places. He added the matter would be sorted out through UN monitoring. When reminded that the sides to negotiation have agreed not to demonstrate arms in public, he said that is in the process of being implemented.

He also said that government would not spare Nepali Army personnel and officials found guilty by the High Level Commission, of suppressing the people’s movement.

When prodded whether action would be initiated against the King, Sitaula said, “We will take action against everyone based on the commission’s report.”

After the June 16 agreement, Prachanda disclosed that interim government with Maoist involvement will be formed within a month. UN has shown eagerness to monitor the weapons. But, the government’s delay to send letter to UN, UN’s lengthy process of decision making is not taken into account by both sides. Both SPA government and Maoists are working without adequate homework. A mere appearance in PM’s quarter doesn’t guarantee peace that the Nepalis are desperately longing for.

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

102 thoughts on “No Farewell to Arms?

  1. Kirat,
    You are certainly a genius and i have been following your views since two months.Your are akind of reformist. But I feel that Bharat Keshar got the good treatment from the people. He was thinking that he was a CHHOTE RAJA and he can do anything and escape. That was his problem. I can give names like others like that: Sathchit, Prazwol,Dr; Giri, Kamal Thapa. Because they were instigating violence in Nepal by encouraging the King, they understand the language of violence only.Now in the hospital bed, Bharat Keshar must have understood the mood of the Nepalese people. If he again does something, his house may be attacked.

  2. I found the army’s ‘refutation’ of Prachanda equally absurd. It, (RNA) defended the country’s nationhood?

    “Nepali Army has—behind it—a history of over 225 years old culture of glorious nationalism, protection of territorial integrity and selfless sacrifice for people’s security. Nepal’s history is testimony to the fact that from the past to the present, the NA has always remained committed to protect the country’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and dignity of the people”

    That’s what the army spokesman said. Couldn’t he have been at least a little more truthful? He could have at least admitted that the army wasn’t always so good. Being in denial is always a bad sign.

  3. Hi Thuldai, just ragging Diehard with that genius comment. With a reputation like the one he has, Bharat Keshar was really stupid to hang around ASCOL campus after his car allegedly hit a motorcyclist. These Royalist do seem a bit dumb. Look at Sarad Chandra Shah-he had to run away-really sad that the so called Nepalese elite seem so short sighted.

  4. manan, the other point I am worried about is if someone high ranking within the (R)NA is stupid enough to go for a coup. It is possible you know. Never underestimate the foolishness that some people are capable of.

    I wish the UN would get here quick. I am quite fed up with the Maoists posturing and lying too. They demanded 2 crores from my friend’s company recently-but they don’t know my friend very well. He would rather die than hand over that money.

  5. just to escape the moderation am reposting this.

    manan, the other thing I am worried about is if someone high ranking within the (R)NA is stupid enough to go for a coup. It is possible you know. Never underestimate the foolishness that some people are capable of.

    I wish the United Nations would get here quick. I am quite fed up with the Maoists posturing and lying too. They care more about themselves than the country. They demanded 2 crores from my friend’s company recently-but they don’t know my friend very well. He would rather die than hand over that money.

  6. ************************************************
    O!! Hear me brethen well! I have been enlighted by the burning bush on the top of the mountain!
    And the Almighty commandeth me to dispense these words of wisdom to the mortals!

    So hear well, O! Mortals.
    ************************************************

    It’s so hearty to see, so many youth consulting, debating, arguing and even sometimes spewing vitriol at each other, but it’s fine since they are fuels that stoke the engine of free society and plods it forward and here at UWB we can see the fine example of this. But rationality should prevail over emotion, if you are propounding your ideas through your comments here to create a progressive society, but if you are just venting your frustration and anger then you have a free pass to be an ‘Idiot’.

    Public beating of General Keshar character is flat wrong for the civil society. Regardless of the speculations, who was at fault of two parties involved in an accident and how inappropriately they behaved at the moment that gives no right to the mob to dispense justice as they see it fit. Swift justice sounds so comforting and soothing to our hearts and yes, that’s how it’s supposed to be as long as your instincts and intuitions are flawless to identify the perpetrator correctly. Since our instincts/intuitions can’t be right every time, that’s why a civil society needs something called ‘Judiciary System’ and process. Now, one might argue, since the judiciary system is an eunuch that’s why mob had to step up to fill its role. Well, this argument may sound plausible but what if you are at the receiving end of this justice?

    When it comes to propagating/discussing/commenting/arguing on the ideas of all the possible TANTRAS there are, regardless of LOK/PRAJA/GANA, probably we Nepalis are the single race in modern history, which might have invested hundreds of hours doing so. But, when it is time to act accordingly, we just do the opposite. So, there is something inherently wrong with our learning process/method or may be worse, the whole idea of all the TANTRAS, we learned it upside down.

    Until we learn to act civil and bear responsibilities of a civil society, we are no better than the Talibans in Afghanistan, who are prompt to castrate you in football stadium filled with audience without any trial.

    Beating of Keshar guy seems to be more of entertainment for the mob rather than dispensing justice, if our youth are looking for entertainments, I suggest they move to Afghanistan where justice is more entertaining.

    And YES! Take along the GENERAL TOO!!!

  7. yeah kirati bro i am also with u, i don’t remeber when has there ever been effective law n order in nepal that some people wants us to follow now when those singh arseholes were the one to violate first. RNA really lacks discipline, doesn’t follow rules of engagement n r the major human right violators than maoists….watever that reform is should make them more professional n disciplined force…..

  8. agree with Yahoo there except venting the frustration part. Venting frustration on the website is the best way to vent a frustration. Much better than kicking the dog!

  9. yo kukur ra kaila baa ko nata chai bujhiya nani..

    kukur lai laa-tta hanyo vane kina kaila ba vanne?

    kripaya malai bujhai dinus ko, ukhan chai ke ho vanera!!

  10. what a wastage of brainpower. just fighting with each other and fomenting on crap like somehting sumsher instead of thinking something constructive

  11. I will be damned, if I am included into that Brainpower Club. I always thought I was devoid of any grey matters between my ears.

    Now, the larger than life question of the day is: How to think constructive? In fact what constitutes constructiveness? And where do I get a ‘Golden Guide’ to thinking constructive?
    Probably at Ratna Pustak Vandar.

    Thinking constructive and getting away from the muck of usual politics, let’s invest our constructive thinking into arts and culinary:

    How to make an apple pie out of ‘kodoko dhendo’?

    Please send in your CONSTRUCTIVE recipe, and we will have it presented at Martha Steward’s show.

    cioa

  12. This Kirati bro has had too much Tong-ba! Sounds like Gurkha boy wants Nepal Army to be just like his dad’s Gurkha Regiment under the Gora Sahibs, but in Nepal’s case under Prachanda Sahib, innit?

  13. ram lal, how goes washing the dishes for the cockneys? pitiful job, innit?

  14. 1. Remember that for India Sikkimizing or Bhutanizing Nepal there is just a hurdle and that is the NEPAL ARMY.

    2. Mahato the Indian agent in the Nepal Cabinet(Agriculture Minister) is speaking for his brethren living in India. Conclusion is “Blood is thicker than water”.

    3. Let’s talk of reforming the Nepal Army but just don’t blame them all of being a rapist.

    4. Let’s make our military more strong by uniting the people’s army with the National Army and use them for nation building.

  15. Kirat,
    All I have to say is…” a little learning is a dangerous thing” ala Alexander Pope.

  16. ram lal, stick to washing those dishes OK? That quote by the gora seems just apt for you. Pity you don’t have the brains to realise what the gora means. Funny thing with people like you is that you think you do.

  17. There is fight between Sherchan and Oli about who is Acting PM. GPK had officially annonced it was Sherchan. OLi came from Geneva on last Thursday.There is no statement to that effect.So two dogs are fighting for a piece of HADDI.They don’t care about Nepal’s problem.

  18. Kirat,
    When you talk about reforms in the army, we must think first about three culprits in the army who already destroyed the image of the army. First, Bharat Keshar, 2nd, Sachit Shamsher and Prazwol Shamsher.Apart from PJT for the time being.

    Bharat Keshar started fundamentalist Hiduism in the army and public life. He is like RSS in Nepal.He can kill as many people as he can. During the King’s rule, he misused a lot of money. He was involved in killing Pundit Narayan Prasad. You can imagine how close he is still with the King when Queen and Paras couple went to see him in the hospital.That means King has not changed.So Girija and Sujata are wrong to defend even a ceremonial King.

    Sachit is another half-mad who spoke against the SPA leaders and people’s sentiment. He was the one to incite the King to take power. That is the worst of former C in C.

    Prazwol is the biggest culprit of all because he made a lot of money from commissions from the purchase of arms. He was the one who made the army budget double.He had very fruitful relations with weapons mafia like Avaya Shrestha and Rohini Thapaliya. His wife made money through Kalyankari Kosh. He was made Ambassador in France. It was really surprising that a person who said that he, as C In C, “the army was not morally responsible for Royal Massacre of June 2001”. He should have been declared a Deshdrohi and kept in jail for saying that if it was another country. Gyanendra must be a sickman when he appointed Prazwol as Ambassador.

    When all these three culprits who spoilt the army are not prosecuted, there cannot be reform in the army. Present secondman RK is equally a dangerous man. He was writing article under the psuedo name of Ajaya P Nath supporting the King’s actions apart from heading the secret death squad against the people.

    How you can reform such an army headed by sort of “Gang leaders”. They have been milking the gentle soldiers for sending to UN missions, from their rations, their uniforms, weapons, boots everything.I do not think there is difference between gang leaders and these miltary generals. As an example, you saw the marriage of PJT’s daughter. You better know where the money comes from for the Chief of the army. Army is the most corrupt institution in the land.

    There must be a separate Commission to investigate the corruption and wrong doing in the army.And then only reform can take place.

  19. I guess self gloating is an art perfected by Kirat- this malady affects all our leaders as well, from Prachanda to Madhav and Gagan Thapa. So its clear where you are coming from.

    Just keep on patting youself in the back with title of Great Reformist without a clue what reform entitles- you are sure to hit a dead-end. By then it will not only be your friend’s plight but yours and mine,too.

    You comment can be termed “hangfire”

  20. I can read lots of arguments and counter-arguments regarding reforming the Army.

    But please any one define what does ‘reforming Army’ mean? What areas are we looking into?

    Is it just firing Army generals or downsizing the strength?

    If I remember well, the parliament had placed the Army under its control and changed its name to the Nepal Army. How much positive impact has it made?

    Just screaming ‘reforms’ without specifying the areas of concern and brief modality of undertaking reforms is like shooting in the dark. May be it is fashionable to call for ‘reforms’ everywhere.

  21. Ok, here is my personal opinion on the reform needed for (R)NA-

    1. Reform needed to make it a truly national army that serves the interest of the people via their elected representatives.

    At present it is still not clear that when push comes to shove who the army will side for. The King or the Nepali people? This ambiguity is unacceptable to me. The Nepal Army should always be for the people.

    2. Reform needed to rid the (R)NA of nepotism and corruption.

    Only an idiot would deny that nepotism (afno manche) is the deciding reason why soldiers are promoted in the (R)NA at present. This is wrong, promotion should be based on ability and competence-it should be made a meritocracy.

    While corruption cannot be totally erradicated the level of corruption within the (R)NA is ridiculous. I know the two guys who supply the army with foodstuffs in two major regions of this country. The (R)NA guys incharge rob their own soldiers of two decent meals a day just to line their wallets. I can only imagine how much worse it gets when the question of arms and other logistically support purchases get. The guilty must be punished and a mechanism must be established to control this rampant corrution.

    3. Reform needed to improve military strength, fighting skill and professionalism.

    a. Military strength

    The (R)NA is ridiculously armed. They should have by now at least a dozen transport helicopters (Russian Mi-17) but even less than three are airworthy at present. An Mi-17 helicopter (second hand) costs less than USD 2.0 mio (NPR 15 crore). They should have at least a fleet of six fixed wing transporters (they only have one Avro and two Skytrucks, the Skyvans are always broke). They should have enough small arms and explosives with ammunition to last them two straight years (they were already low on bullets within the first year of the king taking over).

    The weapons and logistics side of the army is so ill managed it is laughable. As a result the army has no mobility. If the Maoists attack in Rolpa or Lamidanda the support troops can get there only when the fighting is
    already over-useless!

    Military intelligence is also zero. How can Maoists in numbers of three thousands attack a garrison in a remote area where a large village means less than one thousand people and the Army not know about it even a day in advance? It’s baffling.

    b. Fighting skill : They can’t overpower a bunch of rag tag villagers turned into rebels using stolen weapons and ammo’s. Need I say more? Army needs to invest in proper training.

    c. Professionalism : Everywhere the army goes they end up alienating the local people with their overbearing attitude and behaviour. The human rights abuses committed by them are legion. It is so bad that the people have no confidence in the army as defenders of their interest-instead they are looked upon with fear. Unless this is reversed and the army acts in a more professional manner they will alsway lose. Remember what Mao said-the people are the sea and we(PLA) are the fish. All armies would do well to remember and understand this.

    Well the above are the main points I want addressed. As I have stated before- how exactly to go about doing it is for the experts to decide. I am not an expert but unlike a lot of you I have enough common sense to realise that with this army the Maoists will always remain the strongest political force in this country.

    My desire for reform of the army so that it emerges a stronger force arises from my hatred for the Maoists.

  22. By way the Swedish football team needs reform too! They are getting battered by the Germans!

  23. Kirat,
    I agree with most of your reform package.But the former culprit Generals also must be punished to give the example for the present ones. Why there is punishement in police only and not in the army ? Why three firmer IGPs have been prosecuted and there is no Generals punished ? Is it not a State partility or discrimination ?

    It is because Army is more close with the Palace.Palace depends on the security of the Army. In Nepal, there is no equal justice under law. If you are double corrupt than other guy, he can go to jail, but you can walk scot-free.As I am free I can give troble to others on top of that. That is very dangerous and you can not create a society based on equality and justice.

    From the very beginning of our history, we believe in violence and nepotism. A State can only prosper when there is equal opportunty, reward and punishment. Violence and nepotism are our dangerous enemies.

  24. LIMBU, yep I agree with you. Under due process of law they must be punished if found guilty.

  25. “1. Remember that for India Sikkimizing or Bhutanizing Nepal there is just a hurdle and that is the NEPAL ARMY”

    Firstly, India does not want to Sikkimize Nepal. Indira is long gone and today’s India wants economic trade with the rest of the world more than anything. Lastly, what could Nepal’s Army do against India or China today? We have no air power or lift capability. Don’t waste time reminiscing about the glories of centuries ago. Our best bet is to be the land corridor between our two giant prospering neighbors. It is time for 21st century thinking, and that excludes both feudalism and communism.

  26. Bharat Keshar has been found guilty. Looks like at least the cops don’t want to be associated with the monarchy.

    Frankly, I’m looking forward to a day when the army gets to be so professional that it tries people like BKS and others. But until then its we civilians that have to dispense some much needed justice.

  27. All naive fools. Bharat Kesar, called the Military police first to get him out of the situation. They said call the cops. He called the palace – same response. Guilty my ass, it’s just political retribution. With attitudes like this, we will definitely end up like Cambodia and the systemic killings a la “The Killing Fields”. This country is long gone.
    Even an old palace bull dog was abandoned by the King when he cried out for help.
    We all know Gyane and Prachanda were and maybe still are buddy-buddy. Worse is yet to come.
    All fools – completely blank to the impending situation unfolding, slowly but surely.

  28. Kirat,

    It seems you give a lot of weight to newspaper stories. Anyway it is pointless arguing on behalf of old hated men. Easy to take the band wagon. Justice in this country is non existent. Until people experience things themselves, everyone is a know it all.

  29. Reform in the army is obvious, you don’t need a phd to tell people where to begin etc. But, having said this it is still the best amongst the worst. Our entire institutions needs an overhaul – beginning with the parliamentarians, the judiciary and then going for the security forces. Just targetting the army is like treating your wounded arse, when your head is severely injured and your neighbour is still battering you with a baseball bat.

  30. pl, well I know the papers in Nepal are pretty crap. But I can read between the lines. Besides it’s you vs the newspapers-I am afraid you have not established much credibility yourself-I mean should I instinctively trust a blogger called pl?

  31. We are not undestanding all the things blaming to R(NA). If we don’t trust R(NA) then why not we dissolve it. Why SPA is taking their security instead of their own or PLAs if they have less trust? Why these R(NA)forces are being mobilising to patrol the city? Reformation will certainly take place once the maoist join the government like Prachanda had said. But SPA should also should say something about R(NA) and their future. The face of the patrolling R(NA) seems confused about their future and patrolling like a loser of the war. The king’s RNA has lost the battle but whatabout NA. SPA should be atleast transparent about the future mission not by just passing the things insde the PM’s room wihtout giving hints atleast to their activists (let’s forget about the people).

  32. Yeah Kirat,

    You got it – don’t trust anyone. Includes a blogger called Kirat as well.
    Word to the wise : If you don’t believe a word I said and rather believe the “crap” newspapers print (in your own words), then why waste your energy picking arguments with people you don’t trust?

  33. Heard this General Bharat called the Military police, but they said no way and gave him 100 number to call, then he called the palace – again the reply was call the cops. Poor bull dog. Faithful to master, but master just keeps kicking you. Probably true that Prachanda and Gyane are hand in glove. There is no such thing as loyalty, honour or any of that medieval crap when it comes to the unlikely duo. Wait and watch my naive little buddies. Watch and wait.

  34. Hey Kirat or Kirti whatever your name is,

    Why don’t you switch your name to “The last word – I have to have my two pence worth”.

  35. pl you want me to believe that the Bharat Keshar incident was all pre-mediated? That’s stretching things a bit too far, me thinks. Learn to read between the lines.

  36. Bharat Keshar & sons have patched up with MOTORBIKE WALE Sherpa. Bharat Keshar had the screw of his brain in the right place after he got the good jolt by the people. Now he will know what is Loktantra.

  37. State of Confusion

    A. What maoists will do with their weapons before the Interim Govt ?
    B. What UN will do ? weapons management, Observation or disarmament ?
    C. Weapons will be laid down permanently or it would be temporary ?
    D. What is the economic policy of maoists ?

    Can any body give me the answers of above questions on the basis of speeches and interviews of Prachanda ?

    Who understood of what from Prachanda till now ? Nothing is clear. Impossible is nothing.

  38. Hahhah i love this fellow Kirat, he is such a tabloid artist. His hippocracies are limitless because he himself does not realise it.

  39. Scoop,

    Gyanendra and Prachanda were buddies before?

    That’s news to me.

    But as you know, buddies can sometimes become enemies.

    (If you’ve seen photos of Rumsfeld shaking hands with Saddam, you’ll know what I mean.)

    But do you have any evidence that they were? Sounds like an old wive’s tale to me.

  40. What does Loktantra mean?
    I am confused. Does it mean that the peoples wishes are catered to under the legal provisions or does it mean that everything we the people want has to be done no matter how unresonable, and that law will be taken into the hands of whoever wishes and not the legal representatives? Or is this just a phase of anartchy we are passing through where cops are scared to even control unruly crowds? I don’t know, maybe people can enlighten me here, because if it is the case that we are allowed to take things into our own hands and if we are allowed to have arms (as Prachanda wishes by rooting for a nation of militia- and he is calling all the shots), I for one will like to know because with the state of affairs here I for one won’t mind doing so, as the security forces are lame ducks, one has to look out for one’s own.

  41. This is a news to me, just heard that Ram Bahadur Thapa “Badal” and couple of his associates have gone underground and are actively training the new recruits. So the tactics is whereas Prachanda and his side-kick hobnob in Kathmandu and hammer out SPA and arms managements issues, other will be waiting in wings in hide-out far from the eyes of UN,SPA and any other monitoring bodies. They are creating force which will not be accounted for in issue of weapon management- so I guess this is their fall back strategy or something sinister, who knows?

  42. Manan,

    Is your head in the ground? Have’nt you read the latest interview by a senior maoist comrade Shrestha who was disciplined for voicing his opinions against Prachanda? Where are you buddy in Timbuktoo?

  43. Debilitating the State’s Security Forces – Utpal Raj Misra

    It would be an overstatement to say that it came as a surprise but it was enough to give any thinking person some jitters. The “champions of democracy” of Nepal, who legitimised themselves as supra constitutional and claim to hold the reigns of the country did not dare open their mouths when Prachanda, sitting in the country’s command station, slammed the system and vilified the army. Ironically this came at a time when Baluwatar is at its zenith of power. Finally after a week of silence the rebuff, which was long overdue, came from the army itself. But this time a senior minister in the government was quick to retort, accusing the army of trying to disrupt the peace talks !!

    The politicians seem to have forgotten (if not foolishly undermined) the Army’s role in arriving at this point. No matter how hoarse they shout about the army’s role in suppressing “andolaan 06”, the fact remains that the army was the only institution that had the capability to counter the rebels, when the party cadres were being mercilessly killed throughout the last decade. And it was the only force that protected the party leaders for a decade, when they were holed up in Kathmandu.

    The parties have always been suspicious of the army, mainly because the ghost of 1960 never ceased to haunt them. But history shows that the party leaders have been, by design or by virtue of naivety, terrible managers, especially when it comes to the armed forces. It is also a common knowledge that at many instances, irresponsible dealings and blatant political intrusions and pressures in the working affairs of the armed forces has invoked ire of the servicemen against the political leaders. One can always marvel at the folly of the leaders, never even to attempt to take the security forces in confidence.

    The story starts in 1991 when Krishna Prasad Bhattarai headed the interim government and Yog Prasad Upadhyay was the Home Minister. The inability of the
    Home Ministry to give orders to fire in defence to the police when attacked by unruly mob resulted in lynching of nine police personnel. The incident sparked a police revolt. Timely intervention by the palace and specific orders given to the “right persons” by Late King Birendra is said to have averted what could result into a major crisis. The incident was never reported to the public and in absence of vibrant media the story never leaked beyond certain circles.

    Attempt at making the security forces, especially the police, answerable to the people never ensued. Rather the parties started taking key officers under their wings and using them for their political advantage. One of the more popular examples is the huge controversy regarding the appointments of Inspector General of Police, Achyut Krishna Kharel and Dhurva Bahadur Pradhan in 1997. A big fiasco was created when the new UML-RPP (Chand) government unceremoniously fired Kharel, who was considered close to the Congress party and appointed Dhurva Bahadur Pradhan instead. This incident is important to note, because it depicts the insecurity and the mistrust of the party politicians in the security institution.

    Time and again some political parties, including the UML, had expressed reservations while the issue of bringing the army under the parliament was raised when Congress party had the full majority. Madhav Kumar Nepal has gone on record saying that he feared that the army would be dictated and operated by the majority party in the parliament and would be used to crush the oppositions. While parties themselves could never agree on the issue of bringing the army under the parliament, the politicians never ceased to vilify the army of being loyal to the palace and palace as not letting the parties work in this direction. One wonders whether they were always so keen on bringing the armed forces under the parliament. What had prevented them to pass a bill with the approval of 2/3 majority in the parliament at the time?

    In 1998, Prime Minister Grija Prasad Koirala gave a go ahead to the infamous Kilo Serra I and II and Romeo operations, even though he was fully aware that the police force was not trained and equipped to handle insurgency. Although, Koirala supporters have attributed this decision to the “wish” (of Late King Birendra) not to unleash the army against its own people, there is little doubt that it was due to Koirala’s inability to trust the army. Even later, when the police operation spelled disaster, Koirala decided to create a new force rather then entrust the army with the job of fighting insurgents. Hence, the Armed Police Force (APF) was born.

    The AFP was the baby of the Nepali Congress. Kum Bahadur Khadka, when home minister, was even accused of filling the rank and file of this new fighting force with his loyalists and supporters. But it did not take long before disenchantment grew in this new force against the government. The very ranks and file of the APF grew agitated because of corrupt practices of the Ministers, which resulted in risking the lives of the men fighting insurgents. After every big defeat of the APF, allegations of Ministers misappropriating the arms funds and political intrusion in decision making had surfaced. One of the more serious allegations that surfaced after an APF base in Satbariya, West Nepal was run over by the Maoists in April 2002 was that Home Minister, Khum Bahadur Khadka had forced them to rent the building he owned there, despite the officers’ repeated pleas, that the location was strategically vulnerable.

    The story of now suspended APF chief Sahabir Thapa, shortly after the Satbariya incident, verbally abusing Khum Bahadur Khadka, in Nepalgunj airport in front of everyone and challenging Khadka to fire him if he could, is well known in security circles.

    Only few months before the above-mentioned incident, the biggest controversy ever regarding the Army had occurred. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala had resigned, openly accusing the army of not obeying his orders. The Maoists from Holleri, Rolpa had abducted 71 police personnel in July 2001 and according to news reports the government had decided to mobilize the army against the Maoists. Radio Nepal went on for several days blaring that the Army had surrounded the Maoists in Jungles around Budhagaon area and rumours started going around Kathmandu that hundreds of Maoists were killed. But nothing had happened. Later actual fact emerged. The army had surrounded the Maoists and taken position but never opened fire despite orders from the government. Army always took a stand that the orders did not come a) from the right quarters and b) in a written form.

    Whereas doubts can also be raised at the army’s intention, it appears that the inability of Koirala to give orders through the right channels and his refusal to give a written command gave way to the incident. According to the 1990 Constitution, the army could function only when decisions of the Defence Council and the Cabinet was endorsed by the supreme commander of the army. Allegedly, Koirala never referred any documents regarding deploying the army to the King nor give any written orders to the Chief of Army Staff.

    Whatever the case, Koirala rather than try to facilitate the correct procedure, chose to lash out at the army and the palace and then resigned. The political party circle then became rife with the rumour that the “Maoists was run by the palace to undermine democracy”.

    The political parties always saw the security forces as threats. Even as they held the seats of power and even as hundreds of young security personnel lost their lives in defence of democracy and the very Constitution, the political parties drafted. The leaders could never treat the security forces as their own.

    At present the parties argue that because of the army, the King could take power in 2005 But have they given a single moment of thought as to why the Nepal Police whom the very leaders had taken under their wings and their own baby, the APF were more than happy to lock them behind bars? Now even after they have deprived the monarchy of all powers and claim total legitimacy and claim to have brought the army under parliament, why do they still accuse the army of doing things that the government disapproves?

    If the army is under the parliament and under the command of the government, isn’t it the government’s responsibility to refute any unfounded allegations made by the rebels ? If the government had issued a statement as soon as Prachanda made the allegations would there be any need for the army to say anything? How can allegations of a rebel leader, who still commands a militia force fighting the State, not be rebuffed ? Have the political parties given the decision of running a country to Prachanda, so that he can decide on the number of armed forces of the country?

    If Nepal had only 20,000 troops as suggested by Prachanda then do the political parties think that they would still be making deals with the Maoists today? Would the people be “democratically” protesting in the street fighting autocracy? Would the Maoists ever agree to come up in democratic set up of governance?
    The present government has already made a mistake by directing the Army to drop fresh recruitments and cancel its arms orders, even as the Maoists are on a “donation” drive and abduction spree. The Government has already started efforts to leash the military and release the jailed rebels, while getting nothing in return except promises from the Maoists. True Prachanda came out in the open for the first time and expressed his commitments but no confidence building measures has been taken from the Maoists so far.

    Another mistake of the government has been to let the rebel leader vilify the army openly. This is alienating the army, which has promised to remain under the jurisdiction of parliament. It was this inaction of the government that forced the army to make a statement for its own defence. Yet another blunder has been to accuse the army of trying to disrupt the on-going talks. True, a ray of hope for peace exists but have the leaders thought what will happen if the talks fail and armed attacks resumes? By criticizing the army, even after the State authority is completely under the parliament and the cabinet, the government is not doing anything more than advertising its own myopia, incompetence and folly.

  44. Scoop,

    I haven’t heard. Unfortunately, I’m not in Nepal. However, I fail to see how taking ‘disciplinary action’ against someone who spoke against you can mean you’re in cahoots with the royalists.

    Are you sure there’s a rule like that? If there is, please tell me. I’d be thankful to you for letting me know. That way, Nepalese politics would be greatly simplified.

  45. manan,

    Are you really understanding what I am saying, or do you just like to argue for the hell of it?
    The correct answer from you should be I have’nt read the interview by Comrade Shrestha.
    Don’t confuse yourself by going into the nitty gritty to the background. Just know that Comrade Shrestha in his interview has said what many have suspected all along, that Prachanda was in favour of ganging up with the palace, while Baburam was in favour of ganging up with India – to put it in the most blunt layman terms. Both were never in favour of getting together with the parties.
    If you need to know more,there is an excerpt of the interview in Nepali Times. Manan, maybe you should pay more attention to a host of information sources out here and not just depend on this blog and call it your holy grail for information.
    By the way, all the players will be known and this will unfold “peel by peel” , can’t say more.

  46. Scoop,
    I read the article by one Utpal raj mishra from top to bottom. What i understand from the article is that there is very confusing information on Holleri scandal. Army says one thing, palace says another thing and political leaders say completely another version. I think Govt must issue a White paper on that episode. I differ with the details given by Misra.

    Who had stopped the Military to make a limited action plan to contain the Maoists in the districts of Rolpa and Rukum at its infancy ? Our army is the worst of its kind. In India also, Army is fighting insurgency without asking from the Govt the State of Emergency like our Army did. Since the time of Prazwol, Army was politicised. What he spoke in the Military Academy of Shivapuri was a total rubbish and too political in nature. GPK must speak about this now. He always says that there is a “grand design” but never expalins them. he wants to make the people confused. You can not decieve all the people all the time.

    I urge GPK to speak clearly. Prachanda should also be the honest to the people.In Baluwatar his speech was so confusing about the military.I ask all the leaders not to make confusing statements. Make statements very short, precise and to the points. Do not make another 5O Point Agreement to confuse the people.

  47. Scoop,

    Which issue of The Nepali Times was the interview in? I’d like to know. To increase my limited understanding of Nepali politics.

    You say I shouldn’t trust only this blog. But of course, when there are people like you who come here and are ready to dispense advice to ignoramuses like me, why do I need to go anywhere?

  48. Scoop, Thank you for bringing out the facts…
    The same forces which were blaming the King are now blaming the Army…
    They are not satisfied with the commision from corruption…they want to plant their own men in the Army….they are not giving any thought to how they will disarm the PLA, remove fear from the countryside…there is no rule of law today..Maobadi agents creating incidents and instigating mobs to beat up people in the full glare of the TV cameras(Bharat Kreshar incident)…

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