Gaur killing update:Rautahat police on March 24 arrested six persons from district headquarters Gaur and Sirsiya village on suspicions of having being involved in Wednesday’s deadly Maoist-Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) clash that claimed 28 lives. The police had made the arrests during a series of house-to-house searches today, district police office, Rautahat said.The names of the six, however, have not been publicized. (details) Also: India to Help Nab Assailants
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) today held a memorial service for the Maoist cadres who died in Wednesday’s Rautahat carnage at Tundikhel’s Khulla Manch in Kathmandu. Maoist Chairman Prachanda draped party flags over the bodies as a mark of respect. The Maoists had airlifted the bodies of 25 of their fellow activists who were killed in the clash with the Madhesi Peoples’ Rights Forum (MPRF or MJF) cadres to the capital yesterday.
A Photo Blog. All photos taken in Open Air Theater in Kathmandu. All pics by Wagle. Captions will be added later.
It was a day for mourning not only for the Maoists of Nepal but also for those who are praying for the success of the peace process. And it was yet another historic day for Nepal as Kathmandu saw what was unthinkable before: 25 dead bodies of the Maoists cadres were lined up in open air theater this afternoon. They were all Maoists, attendants of the memorial service in Tundikhel were told, and 17 of them were verified by the party. The spectacular show of the corpses has one strong message: how far the Maoists have come in the past one year. During the insurgency Maoists would carry away the corpses of their comrades along with them; they would hide the corpses, bury them quickly or even try to reduce the actual number of casualties on their side. Today it’s a different scenario. They are involved in the peace process, their arms (not all though) have been put inside the UN supervised cantonment sites, they are represented in the parliament, and, comrades are on the verge of joining the interim government. That is why Maoists publicly displayed the corpses amidst a ceremony that was attended by major political leaders of the parties in the ruling alliance. Speaker of the parliament and Home Minister also briefly attended the memorial service.
Here is a vidoe from the venue: (Another video inside)
Maoists say they didn’t start the Gaur fighting (and a team of human rights activists have concluded that the massacre was perpetrated by the professional criminals), they didn’t fire bullets. Instead, Maoists are demanding that the government should take action against the attackers. Expressing the commitment to the peace process Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, the second in command in the Maoist party, said that such incident would not obstruct the peace process. He said: “We might have done some technical mistake [by choosing the same venue for the Gaur meeting] but we didn’t start the fight. Those who attacked us were militarily trained. We Maoists are also militarily trained and no one without military training can attack us [that way].” At one point, Dr. Bhattarai asked: “What if others declare war against us?” The crowd responded: Fight back, fight back! [Prachanda, the Maoist chairman, was present in Tundikhel but didn’t address the meeting. When the announcer said Dr. Bhattarai would address the ceremony as the last speaker, Dr. Bhattarai appeared stunned. It appeared that he was insisting Prachanda to speak. They took a few seconds and Ramchandra Poudel, who was seated aside Prachanda, intervened! He sounded like, jo bole pani bhaihalchhani, janus na Bhattarai ji! [Doesn’t matter who speaks, go and speak Dr. Bhattarai! I didn’t hear these words but mentioning these based on the body language and facial expression of three leaders. So you have the liberty to not to believe this.]