Daily tourist routine was interrupted in Lake Side, the tourist hub in Pokhara, with the spectacle of a Maoist public shaming. Pic by Neil Horning
By Neil Horning in Pokhara
(And other media reports about recent Maoist activities)
Nov 2: Today the daily tourist routine was interrupted with the spectacle of a Maoist public shaming. A crowd of jeering Nepalis filled the Camp Chowk intersection and surrounding roofs in Lake Side, Pokhara, Nepal’s prime tourist destination. Maoists positioned on the steps of the “S-mart” corner store held up a man in a tattered business suit and smeared his face with black while the large crowd cheered on. It was a supercharged atmosphere. Tourists gathered around the edges of the crowd argued with locals about the rule of law, while all of the Nepali spectators seemed to be calling for blood.
CRY FREEDOM: Dabale Lama, who was rescued from illegal Maoist detention at a factory in Thimi, where he was brutally tortured, breaks into tears while being presented before the press by the National Monitoring Committee on Code of Conduct for Ceasefire on Wednesday. He was rescued with the help of human rights workers.
From the rumors flying around the crowd it was possible to piece together a facsimile of the situation. The accused was a famous Nepali singer, and he owned a dance bar named “Namaste” on lakeside. It had been locally believed that he was forcing his girls into prostitution for years, but he would bribe the authorities to avoid punishment. The latest accusation was that he cut off an employees hand after a disagreement, and afterward offered Rs. 1 lakh to keep quiet. He paid some of the hush-money, but later sent the employee running from the shop when he demanded the rest. The rumor was the Maoists were to string old shoes around his neck hand him over to either human rights workers or police.
Afterward, a young local woman who had just a few weeks earlier ranted about how bad the Maoists were, said with an ear to ear grin that she liked the Maoists now and that she felt proud to be a Nepali.
Other Reports of recent Maoist activities:
Maoists take ten army vehicles under control for 5 hrs
Nov 2: Maoists took ten Nepali Army (NA) vehicles on the Mahendra Highway in Sarlahi district (above) for nearly five hours Thursday on suspicion that the vehicles might be carrying weapons. The rebels stopped the army vehicles – four heavy trucks, five jeeps and one armoured vehicle – which were en route to Itahari, Sunsari district, from Kathmandu at Paurahi area on the Mahendra Highway at around 8:00 a.m., state-owned Radio Nepal said. The Maoists released the vehicles after five hours as no weapons were found inside them. The NA said the vehicles were carrying utensils and cloths for the army men in Itahari. The Maoists released the vehicles in the presence of local media persons and human rights activists. (source)
OHCHR calls on Maoists to stop ‘law enforcement’ activities
Nov 1: The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) has called on the Maoists to stop their “law enforcement” activities around the country. In a statement issued Wednesday, the UN rights body said, “The OHCHR-Nepal calls on CPN-Maoist to stop its “law enforcement” activities which have intensified recently especially in the Kathmandu Valley, and which have resulted in serious abuses of human rights.” “OHCHR-Nepal considers these parallel “law enforcement” activities to be illegal, as well as in violation of international human rights standards to which CPN-Maoist has made repeated commitments,” the statement further said, reminding that these commitments included the directives issued as a result of the Maoist Central Committee meeting on 2 September, which explicitly stated that party cadres shall not conduct abductions, torture and ill-treatment. The meeting had decided that those responsible for such actions would be held accountable.
The rights watchdog mentioned that in its letter sent to the Maoist leadership on Tuesday, it had confirmed the abductions of 39 individuals in the districts of Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kathmandu in October alone. The CPN-Maoist itself publicly declared on 21 October that more than 80 individuals had been taken into captivity, whom they accused of being linked to criminal activities.
According to the OHCHR-Nepal, Maoist cadres have held individuals incommunicado in hidden locations – thus increasing their vulnerability to human rights abuses. In September and October, OHCHR-Nepal made visits to eight places where the CPN-Maoist held individuals in captivity in the Kathmandu Valley. These places included several factory buildings occupied by the rebel party, and the offices of Maoist sister organisations, including the All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) and the All Nepal Transport Workers Union (ANTWU). The OHCHR-Nepal said it has received reports of at least seven other locations in Kathmandu Valley used by the Maoists for the interrogation of individuals.
“OHCHR-Nepal has investigated a number of reports of ill-treatment and torture, including severe beatings. OHCHR-Nepal staff have witnessed serious injuries among those held captive by CPN-Maoist, consistent with claims of ill-treatment and torture,” the release said. The OHCHR-Nepal also complained that Maoists had at times obstructed the officials from gaining immediate access to those in captivity. “OHCHR-Nepal calls again on the CPN-Maoist leadership to stop all parallel ‘law enforcement’ activities, and especially incidents of torture and ill-treatment. State authorities have sole responsibility to arrest and detain criminal suspects, and it is essential for the re-establishment of the rule of law that all parties respect this,” the statement quoted Sandra Beidas, the Officer-in-Charge of OHCHR-Nepal, as saying. (source)
Maoist cadres with dokos (baskets) and brooms giving Thamel a facelift on Tuesday. Maoists have been launching such clean-up. Pic by Prakash Mathema
NC cadres protest rebel bullying
BY YUVRAJ ACHARYA in KATHMANDU
Nov 1 – About 40 district presidents of the Nepali Congress (NC) party have urged Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to forcefully raise the issue of continuous intimidation, abductions and extortion by Maoists at the district level during the next summit talks.
Speaking at a consultation meeting held by the prime minister at his official residence at Baluwatar Wednesday, the heads of the party’s district units said the situation has not improved at all at the local level despite agreements one-after-another signed by the Maoists at the center.
Most of the district party chiefs suggested that the prime minister ensure the Maoists implement the agreements and pacts immediately. They claimed that the Maoists were still demonstrating arms and keeping their so-called courts active in the districts.
They gave the example of Maoist action against party district-level leaders in Kalikot a couple of days ago. In response, Koirala said he would take up the issue with the Maoist leaders immediately, according to Tara Man Gurung, Sankhuwasabha district president of the party.(source)
NC condemns Maoist excesses
KATHMANDU, Oct 31 – Breaching the ceasefire agreement, the Maoists have not yet released Nepali Congress (NC) activist Kriti Bahadur Thapa of Dasera-3 in Jajarkot district, who was abducted some two months ago. The NC has strongly condemned the Maoists’ activities of abduction, extortion and intimidation, and demanded the unconditional and early release of Thapa. The party has also urged the government and human rights activists to make initiatives for Thapa’s safe and prompt release. A group of Maoists had abducted Thapa from Jajarkot on September 12. NC has also urged the Maoists not to violate the past pacts and understanding by intensifying abduction and intimidation of political activists and civilians and tearing flags and pamphlets of other political parities.
On Saturday, Maoists had attacked NC district level activists and abducted six of them from Kalikot, while the latter were holding a village reconciliation campaign. Meanwhile, Maoists have been forcefully integrating CPN-UML activists in their sister organizations in Nawalparasi district. According to Tilak Mahat, UML district office secretary, Maoists have been gathering UML cadres from Benimanipur, Shiva Mandir and Kawasoti VDCs for forced participation in Maoists programs, warning them not to speak against Maoists.
On Sunday, Maoists had captured Narayan Timsina, immediate past chairman of Kawasoti VDC, for two hours.
Mahat has urged the Maoists to adopt open and competitive democratic politics by stopping such apolitical activities.
Several locals ‘missing’ after Maoist action
INARUWA- Maoists have not yet opened the house of Gauri Shrestha of Bharaul-3, Sunsari, which they had padlocked on October 23, after they clashed with a group of locals who were allegedly gambling. Also, the whereabouts of local Naveen Rai and Jeewan Shrestha, whom the rebels abducted following the incident, and seven others who were declared “culprits” by the Maoists, is unknown. The rebels then stated they would “take action” against the seven men within 15 days, locals said. Shrestha and his family have been staying at their neighbor’s house since. “They (Maoists) have made us homeless. Our children have not been able to go to school, as all their books and uniforms are locked inside the house,” said Shrestha’s wife Kavita. On the night of October 23, a group of locals, who were reportedly gambling during Tihar, had attacked Maoist cadres at Bangebazar in Bharula-3 leaving a rebel cadre “critically injured”. In retaliation, the rebels had abducted the duo and padlocked Shrestha’s house the same night, claiming that the house was used by gamblers. (source)
Rebels allow VDC office to open, impose diktats
BY PRAKASH BARAL
PARBAT, Oct 31 – Pressing government officials to work as per “policies of the peoples’ government”, Maoists have issued a diktat that VDC office at Pipaltari — closed under rebels’ pressure five years ago — be opened immediately. The rebels have also ordered that the office must use letterheads of the Tamuban Mukti Morcha, a Maoist allied organization, and stamps with rebels’ emblem for all official work. Most VDC offices in the district remained closed in the last five years because of Maoist pressure. Of the 55 VDCs in the district, only around a dozen were functional during the period. Lately, the rebels have started to force VDC officials to open the offices and work under orders of the “peoples’ government”.
“The rebels have ordered me to open the office immediately. They have also said that all paperwork of the office must be done on the letterhead of the Tamuban Mukti Morcha and that the office must use a stamp of the Maoists,” said Pipaltari VDC secretary Mukunda Lamichanne. “The rebels have also said that they will gradually open other VDC offices in the days to come,” he added.
Earlier, the Local Development Minister Rajendra Pandey had instructed all VDC chairmen to open their respective offices. However, no offices could be opened at that time.
Currently, the staff at the Pipaltari VDC are a confused lot, uncertain whether to open the office and work as instructed by the rebels. “We do not know how the district authorities will respond to our using Maoists’ letter pads and stamps,” said Lamichanne.
Meanwhile, officials at the District Administration Office too are in a similar dilemma. “We do not know what we should do, if suppose we receive a letter from the VDC on a Maoists’ letter pad tomorrow. There are no policies made regarding such issues,” said an official at the DAO.
Maoists thrash NC-D worker
KATHMANDU, Oct 31 – In yet another blatant violation of the ceasefire code of conduct, Maoists brutally thrashed a Nepali Congress – (Democratic) activist in the capital. On Sunday evening, Maoists abducted Prabin Khadka of Bishnu Budhanilkantha VDC-4 from Chu Fan Restaurant, Maharajgunj, and released him on Tuesday evening after beating him mercilessly. Khadka was admitted to Medicare Hospital, Chabahil, in the evening, with deep bruises on his soles, thigh and back.
Maoists handed over Khadka to his relatives at Brighter Tooth Paste Factory in Thimi. “After abducting me, they hit me with sticks on different parts of the body,” Khadka, 30, said. He claimed that the Maoist tortured him and added that they had beaten him over a hundred times on the temple, charging him with being involved with gangsters Chakremilan and Tejendra.
The victim’s brother Shyam Khadka said that before abducting his brother, the Maoists had threatened him (Shyam) over telephone and demanded he surrender to Maoists. Binod Bhattarai, NC-D chairman of Kathmandu Constituency number 3, informed that Khadka was released when party president Sher Bahadur Dueba and minister of state Ramesh Lekhak took initiative in the matter. (source)
Maoists attack, abduct NC cadres
KATHMANDU, Oct 30 – In yet another instance of outright violation of the ceasefire code of conduct, Maoists last Saturday attacked Nepali Congress workers in Kalikot district and abducted six of them. An NC statement said the Maoists attacked NC workers, including district-level leaders, while the latter were holding a “Village Reconciliation Campaign” at Nelmudi VDC. The Maoists beat up the NC cadres, broke the mikes used by them and also tore NC party flags before abducting them. The abductees include NC Mahasamiti member Durga Bahadur Shahi, District Working Committee treasurer Brish Bahadur Bam, members Surya Bam and Karna Dhwoj Bam, Nepal Farmers’ Organization District President Purna Bahadur Shahi and NC cadre Jaya Ram Bam. Another cadre Surya Bahadur Bam managed to escape. Similarly, Maoists in Rautahat district abducted NC cadres Naresh Raut Kurmi, Jawahir Raut Kurmi and Krishna Nandan Yadav on Monday. The NC has condemned the abduction and demanded unconditional release of the abducted.
Meanwhile, Maoists in Udayapur district detained transport employee Pusparaj Raigain, 45, from Gaighat on Monday. Maoists claim Raigain has been sheltering his brothers, Ganesh and Madan, who were accused by the rebels of murder. (source)
Maoist convention disrupts hotel services
KATHMANDU, Oct 30 – Services in most hotels and restaurants in the capital suffered after the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers Union (ANHRWU), on Monday, forced staff and personnel to participate in their third general convention.The convention that kicked off at Basantapur in the capital in the afternoon also paralyzed vehicular movement for some hours in the New Road and Ratna Park areas. “The union ordered us to send a maximum number of employees to the convention,” said a senior-executive of a leading five-star hotel, who refused to be quoted, fearing possible threats. “Around 150 workers- one third of the employees – joined the union’s convention.” A senior member of the Hotel Association of Nepal said that as workers went to take part in the convention, executive-level-employees in some hotels had to perform basic duties in place of junior workers. “Though the forcible participation of workers did not severely affect the day-to-day operation, it certainly created some difficulty,” he said.
Asked why he chose to join the convention, an employee of Hotel Yak and Yeti said it was due to fear. “I am not interested in the Maoists politics, but I participated in the program as was under pressure to do so,” he said. Sharing his painful experience, he stated, “I felt really bad. If the participation was for protecting workers’ interest, it would be ok. But, only slogans in favor of the Maoists were shouted. It became just a Maoist political event.” On the eve of convention, the union had ordered main hotels and casinos in the capital to erect a well-decorated gate around the hotels, hanging a banner on the convention.
The impact on restaurants is still severe. “As they took away almost all my workers, I was forced to down shutter for a couple of hours,’ said a restaurant owner, elaborating his upsetting story. “ I could not offer lunch to my regular customers.” Talking to the Post, Yogendra Shakya, former president of Hotel Association of Nepal said politicization in hotels should be halted, as the politics done in the name of unions has badly hit the hospitality sector. “Obviously, employees should be allowed to form unions at hotels. But, the unions should not be permitted to affiliate with the political parities,” he said. “Unions are carrying on the agenda of political parties of their affiliation.” (source)
Maoists occupy public utilities
INARUWA, Nov 1 – In blatant violation of various accords, including the ceasefire code of conduct reached between the government and Maoist leadership, rebels have captured several public utilities even as they continue with abductions. The rebels have turned the Saptakoshi Ashram, an elderly home of Barahachhetra VDC-1, into a “barrack”. Following the rebels’ occupation, half-a-dozen elderly people residing at the premises have been displaced, according to the victims. A group of some 100 Maoists, part of the rebel’s cultural unit is staying there, according to locals. “They have promised to quit the Ashram soon,” said Ganesh Birai, chairman of the Ashram. Likewise, Maoists have been occupying the Regional Soil Laboratory at Tarahara. The rebels have set up a “military camp of People’s Liberation Army (PLA)” inside the laboratory.
Similarly, the Sai Baba petrol pump along the Jhumka section of the Mahendra highway has been taken over by the rebels for the last one month. They have set up two check posts inside the premises, posted sentries around the premises while other cadres continue their activities inside. Meanwhile, the rebels have placed Nabin Rai and Jeevan Rai of Bharaul-3, Bangebazaar, in their “labor camp” on charges of being involved in gambling during Tihar. (source)