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.]
Maoists want all killed to be declared martyrs and they ghearoed the rostrum of the parliament today to make the point. We can expect the Maoists to try to hunt down the perpetrators of Gaur massacre if the government doesn’t strongly and efficiently act. The Maoist party leadership will come into strong pressure from the cadres if government fails to bring the criminals to justice.
Dr. Bhattarai said:
The naike (derogatory word for leader) of the criminal group [read that as MPRF] must be arrested and the outfit must be outlawed. They can’t do such criminal thing. People might tell us that we had also fought in the past. Yes, we fought against the state openly declaring that and denouncing the then constitution. But how can you wage arms if you claim to support the present constitution and political setup. If you want to fight, first say that you don’t support the constitution.
Another video 2 (from the same day but added on March 24)
Another video 3 (from the same day but added on March 24)
Committee Formed to Probe Gaur Massacre; Unilateral, Unacceptable, says CPN Maoist
An emergency meeting of the Council of Ministers was held at Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Baluwatar residence on Friday to discuss Wednesday’s Gaur carnage and security situation in the country. The meeting also decided to set up a four-member judiciary committee headed by the Patan Appellate Court judge, Hari Prasad Ghimire to launch an investigation into the Gaur incident. According to sources, the committee has been directed to submit its report within 15 days. The committee also includes officiating secretary of Rastriya Satarkata Kendra Ram Sarobar Dube, Joint Attorney General Tika Bahadur Hamal and Deputy Inspector General Niraj Pun as its members. The cabinet meet has also urged all parties, civil society and general public to help make the Constitution Assembly (CA) elections successful by making a commitment to prevent such acts of violence from recurring.
Talking to media persons outside Baluwatar, government spokesperson and Minister for Information Dilendra Prasad Badu said that the government was committed to initiate action against those responsible as per the committee’s report. Badu further informed that the meeting had decided to heighten security for the CA elections. Meanwhile, stating that the government had formed the probe committee with a unilateral approach, Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai today said that the committee was unacceptable to them. During today’s meeting, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula, who had gone to Gaur on Thursday to inspect the situation there, briefed the cabinet about the clash that occurred two days ago.
According to sources, the Council of Ministers criticized Sitaula, claiming that the incident had occurred due to the lack of foresight on the part of local security agencies. Meanwhile, PM Koirala today discussed the Gaur killings and formaiton of the interim government with Nepali Congress (NC) leaders this morning. Likewise, the PM had also debriefed the Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rukmangat Katuwal regarding the country’s security situation.