Provoking the Maoists in such a horrendous manner in Gaur is definitely a part of the royalist strategy to derail the peace process. This is very much crucial: Maoists must maintain restrain and cooperate with the authorities to bring the situation in control. Maoist leader Dev Gurung told us that his party would go for retaliation and revenge. That must not happen.
Activists of the Young Communist League (YCL), youth wing of the CPN Maoist, who were injured in the clash with MPRF activists in Gaur, Rhautahat, undergoing treatment at the Medical College in Bharatpur, Chitwan. Pics by Binod Tripathi (another pic inside)
At least 25 people have been killed in a clash between CPN Maoist and Madhesi Peoples Rights Forum (MPRF) cadres today in Gaur, headquarter of Rhautahat district. This is the single largest case of killing since Maoists announced cease fire last year. This is disturbing and alarming because Maoists were not armed and they came under attack from the suspicious group named MPRF or Madhesi Janadhikar Forum. Plus, this was not a fight between government security forces and agitating group but was between two different non-government groups. This makes us ask this chilling question: has the civil war started in Nepal? (Whatever happened during the decade-long Maoist insurgency that saw the deaths of more than 14 thousand people wasn’t civil war for sure.)
It’s an open secret that regressive forces who want to see the king or monarchy in power desperately want to derail the ongoing peace process between the government of Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists. The success of the peace process means the happening of the election of Constituent Assembly that will decide the fate of monarchy (read it as abolishing) by a simple majority. It is widely believed in the democratic circle that MJF was created by regressive force to bring about instability in Terai region so that the election plans could be derailed. The sole intention of MJF seems to fulfill that aim. Provoking Maoists in such a horrendous manner in Gaur is definitely a part of that strategy. This is very much crucial: Maoists must maintain restrain and cooperate with the authorities to bring the situation in control. Maoist leader Dev Gurung told us that his party would go for retaliation and revenge. That must not happen. Maoists must not give the regressive force a chance to do further damage to the fragile peace process. If Maoists react violently and escalate the tension, that will help no one but the royalist regressive forces.
The MPRF rally before the clash. MPRF cadres were armed with lathis. Pic by Shiva Puri
We didn’t think from the beginning that the transition to complete democracy and republicanism would be completely peaceful. It will be painful but the pain has come in such a devastating manner. If this killing spreads and turns into the ethnic clash, we might see genocide in Nepal. A senior journalist who recently visited Nepalgunj told us that the western town was on the verge of plunging into a full fledged ethnic fighting. The situation is fluid and all forces, especially the Maoists, must show restrain and behave responsibly. We understand their pain and we express sorrow over the brutal killings of their cadres in Gaur but for the shake of lasting peace they must show restrain and behave responsibly.
Gaur Killing: At least 25 Maoists were killed in crossfire between the activists of the Maoist affiliated Madheshi Mukti Morcha and the agitating Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) today afternoon in Rautahat headquarters Gaur. District Police Office Rautahat confirmed that the people were killed in the exchange of fire while a dozen more were injured at Rice Mills area in the district at around 2:30 this afternoon. “The clashes between the two parties ensued after they met at the same venue to stage their mass gatherings,” Superintendent of Police Ram Kumar Khanal told ekantipur over the phone. According to Khanal, 13 died at the scene of the clash while a further 12 bodies were found at Hajmonia and Mudbalawa VDCs in the district this evening. He said that some two dozen people were injured in the incident and that a dozen critically injured have been taken to a hospital in Birgunj. None of the deceased has yet been identified, the official said.
Police officials said they were trying to confirm the identity of those killed in the incident. Both the Maoist-affiliated Madhesi Mukti Morcha and the MJF had planned their mass meetings in the area at the same time. Maoist lawmaker Prabhu Shah and MJF chairman Upendra Yadav were to address their respective mass meetings. The local administration has announced curfew from 2:45 pm today till 4 am Thursday in Gaur after the violence.
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal (OHCHR-Nepal) has condemned the violence between supporters of the MFJ and the Maoists in Gaur. OHCHR-Nepal also confirmed the death of 12 persons in the clash. The UN rights body said quoting sources at the Gaur Hospital that some victims died as a result of head injuries caused by beatings with bamboo batons. Some of those admitted at the hospital are with serious head injuries. OHCHR said its human rights officers were in Gaur to investigate the incidents, including the causes of death.