Interim Nepal Government: End The Bargain Soon

The Seven Party Alliance (SPA) and the Maoists have failed to hammer out an agreement regarding formation of the interim government. The major sticking point is division of portfolios amongst the four major parties- NC, UML, NC (D) and Maoists. The difficulty in power sharing amongst various political parties is understandable. Not only do different parties have different claims about their strength; but each of them will also be competing in the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.

This only adds to the complications of power sharing negotiations. None of these parties want to be seen as weaker or junior partner in the interim government. With one eye fixed at the CA Polls, the parties think the make up of the interim government will symbolically reflect their strength. That’s why the Maoists are claiming the post of deputy prime minister and the UML wants either the Home or the Finance ministry. But Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala wants to retain all three powerful ministries-Defense, Home and Finance-with the NC.

Bargains, bluffs and protracted negotiations are the realities of coalitions the world over. So, expecting a swift deal overnight would be asking too much from the parties. That said, we want to draw the attention of the seven-plus-one parties to the current fluid situation. Close to the first anniversary of the April Movement, we have achieved a lot. But it is also true that a lot remains to be done. The major task, which will go a long way in consolidating the gains of the April Movement, is holding the CA Polls. Election is a power making/power eroding process. Once election is held and people provide mandate to certain political forces, it legitimizes that political power. On the contrary, rejecting other political forces in the polls, people erode their legitimacy. We need elections not only to decide the future of monarchy in Nepal but also to establish through popular will who they want to see ruling the country. Once elections are held we will get rid of the problem of legitimacy that every political party is claiming now. Continue reading Interim Nepal Government: End The Bargain Soon

‘MPRF Hired Professional Killers in Gaur’

Dr Mathura Shrestha, a prominent human rights activist, visited Gaur a day after the carnage, in which 28 persons died. Dr Shrestha served as Health Minister in the post-1990 interim government. He attended a meeting of MPRF in Delhi and met also Chief of Janatantrik Mukti Morcha, Jaya Krishan Goit, a couple of times. Dr Shrestha out-rightly rejects Prachanda’s view of outlawing MPRF. He suggests that addressing the Madhesi problems and implementing the decisions taken by the SPA plus Maoists, thus far, help restore peace and democracy in this country. Dr Shrestha shares his opinion and recounts eyewitnesses’ count on the Gaur carnage with Puran P Bista and Ghanashyam Ojha of the Kathmandu Post.

Q: How do you recount the gory incident of Gaur after your recent visit?

Dr Mathura Shrestha: Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) had made an announcement through mikes five days ago for holding a public meeting in Gaur at 11 pm on last Wednesday. Madhesi Mukti Morcha (MMM) set up the stage for the carnage after it, too, decided to hold the public meeting on the same ground at the same time on the same day.

The locals feared of something. As a result, president Deo Padayar Gupta of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Rautahat branch, invited the MPRF and MMM cadres to attend the meeting on Wednesday morning at around 8:00 am.

But none of them attended the meeting. At around 10 am, rallies of both the parties began. Some of the participants in the rallies had come from adjoining VDCs. The rallies, organized by both the parties, met near the district court. The participants in the rallies waved, clapped their hands and welcomed each other’s rally, showing an understanding on the holding of Wednesday’s public meeting. The locals took this incident as a good gesture that MPRF would hold its meeting first, and then MMM would do so, on the same ground but at different time. Then, the Maoist rally passed through Gaur, while MPRF’s rally converted into a public meeting at the Rice Mill ground.

The ground is near the district court. First, the MPRF cadres dismantled the MMM stage built for the public meeting. A few MMM cadres present there were beaten up. These MMM cadres left the ground to inform their leaders of the incident. Chairing MPRF’s meeting was Ram Prasad Biswas. No sooner had Biswas taken his chair as a chief guest, than the MMM cadres entered the field and began to disrupt MPRF’s meeting. Then, from the southern and western sides, some people fired shots at MMM cadres. Later, some MPRF cadres fired from within the stage at MMM cadres.

According to eye witnesses, MPRF cadres used socket bombs and small fire arms, besides sharp weapons and cleft bamboo sticks. I think MPRF had hired notorious higher killers.

Q: How can you claim so when you were not present there?

Dr Shrestha: Within two minutes, over a dozen MMM cadres were killed. Then, the MPRF-hired professional killers chased the MMM cadres. Some of the MMM cadres not acquainted with Gaur entered into nearby houses for safety. They were dragged out of these houses and killed. Some of the MMM cadres were chased as far as eight kilometers and killed. Some of the dead bodies were buried in a water canal.

I was told by eyewitnesses that eight of the killers were local Nepalis and 25 others were Indians. The three locals are Balru, Hafij Mukhiya and Binda Hasin Sahani. The eyewitnesses recounted that “the police force could do nothing”. But local police contradicted this statement saying that “they blank-fired to stop the killings”. Some local people even claimed that Upendra Yadav was staying at the house next to Dr Tayab and the superintendent of police escorted him up to Barganiya near Nepal-India border.

What was heinous was that five of the women were raped in public. Two people caught their legs and other MPRF cadres raped them in public. Later their breasts were chopped off and burnt to deface their identity. Gagan Singh, Bhusan Singh, Baban and Guddu Jha were involved in raping and chopping-off-activities. Two local Muslim girls were taken away and their whereabouts are still unknown.

Q: Are these rapists local or Indian criminals?

Dr Shrestha: They should be local people because the local residents knew them well and everyone could pronounce their names clearly. Twelve of the MMM cadres were killed at Hajmonia, some 12 kilometers away from Gaur. They included three women and nine men. Continue reading ‘MPRF Hired Professional Killers in Gaur’