Complexity in Nepali Politics

Continuous and intentional violations of peace deal and meekness of the government to take any corrective measure created a vicious cycle of state-of-flux and lawlessness. …Because of frequent indefinite strikes, distribution of citizenship cards across Terai and collection names for voters’ list has been severely affected.

By Chattra Bahadur

A leading daily newspaper recently published the results of the survey stating that almost 70% of the respondents pointed out that the foremost challenge before the government is to maintain law and order situation. And the response is not entirely surprising. We are witnessing frequent and increasingly violent indefinite strikes, shortages and unavailability of essential food items, rocketing price rise with shrinking job opportunities, growing insecurity, etc. At the time of height of the Maoist insurgency, it was often reported that the presence of the government was restricted to the capital and the district headquarters only. However, at present, it appears that the government is not even present in the capital or in the district headquarters.

After the fall of the royal regime and the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) coming into power, the Maoists returned to the negotiating table; and finally, the peace deal was brokered. The longstanding demand of the Constituent Assembly was agreed upon and, in return, the Maoists renounced their armed struggle. For the most Nepalese, it was huge relief and offered a ray of hope of elusive political stability and prosperity.

However, hopes of people were dashed soon to considerable extent when the Maoists could not forego their love for brute force, intimidating tactics, kidnapping, open extortion (often phrased as willful donation), forced indoctrination, swift rebuttal and brutal repression of any opposition, and the top leadership continuously being in state of denial of all the wrongdoings of cadres instead of taking disciplinary action. At the same time, the SPA government stood as a silent spectator even when the Maoists violated every single article of peace accord citing lame excuse of ‘fragile peace process’ and ‘still looming threat of reactionary and regressive forces’. And inability to enforce the peace deal in the letter and spirit, and inability to enforce strict measures for each violation on the part of the government have significant share wherein any sane Nepalese sees a remote chance of normalcy coming back.

Passive posture of the government to take any concrete stand on any issue has cost the nation dear. Continuous and intentional violations of peace deal and meekness of the government to take any corrective measure created a vicious cycle of state-of-flux and lawlessness. It is becoming evident that brutality and devastation of any nature could be justified as a political compulsion and crucial means to achieve the end without accepting any moral responsibility of such actions. All these actions have gained new ‘respectability’ and ‘acceptability’. The organizers of indefinite strikes dominate media space upholding such actions as ‘venting frustration’ in response to the government apathy and police brutality. In the end, they hold the government and reactionary elements responsible for all the damages because, in any case, their demands are genuine and their protests were peaceful. The civic society and human rights activists find the government and ‘unseen forces’ (regressive and reactionary forces) accountable for loss of lives and damage of property. The government surprisingly does not respond either positively or negatively. Continue reading Complexity in Nepali Politics

Nepal Talks: An Interview With A Local Maoist Leader

By Neil Horning

The following is a translation of an interview conducted with Com. Karan, the Maoists District Secretary of Kaski, in the Maoists district office on February 22. The first part of the interview consists of questions devised by me, and the second consists of questions submitted to me online and from friends in Pokhara. Special thanks to Mahesh Bandari for serving as my translator.

Part 1:
The Medheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) has raised many of the same issues that you have historically, and has recently said that they will contest the constituent assembly elections. What type of challenge do you believe this will pose to you?

It won’t effect the election because these are the same issues that we had years before. Now just before the constituent assembly the Medheshi Peoples Rights Forum has stolen our ideas. They are just trying to benefit from the Maoist work in the past. They are opportunists. It may reflect some weakness on our part that people were manipulated into supporting the MJF. We were going to raise all of those issues that they did during the constituent assembly. However, it is telling that while the MJF raises many of our issues, they do not talk about land redistribution or empowerment of marginalized casts. This indicates they are actually a Hindu fundamentalist organization in the Pocket of the King and the BJP.

Would you say they represent the ruling class of the Terai?

Yes

It has been reported often in the News that you are seizing voter roles, because the Electoral Commission is excluding migratory workers, people in rented houses and political activists who currently reside outside their district. Now that there are Maoist lawmakers in Parliament, aren’t efforts at the central level enough?

We are not doing that in on all locations, but only some, and only to put pressure on the Government. The government must provide a fair way for all people to vote peacefully.

What will you do if the government does not do this?

I am confident that the central deliberations will go our way. We will continue to apply pressure. It is unacceptable that someone would not be able to vote simply because they have a reason they can’t be at home, and there are too many people affected. The government must accept this.

Are you doing anything to ensure that people who are give donations to you do so out of genuine support rather than feelings of intimidation?

What the press says about intimidation is very partial. There are a quite a few people who believe that those who give us money do so out fear. However the majority of people are highly attracted to Maoist politics and that is why they are giving us donations.

What type of Maoist policies and programs are being conducted in this district/area?

We are doing the same types of policies and programs that are conducted in other districts, as per the direction of our party.

Can you give an example?

First we are coordinating with other political parties. We want to implement all of the social programs though the other political parties in a cooperative manner. Second, we are doing development work. For instance, the path from Nayapul to Gandruk needs to be maintained periodically. The last time this happened it cost 20 lakh. This time we did it and it cost 5 to 7 lakh (1 lakh = aprox. $1400 US). Continue reading Nepal Talks: An Interview With A Local Maoist Leader