Tag Archives: maoists

Did UN official accused of bias by Israel protect Maoist violence in Nepal ? (Book Excerpt)

– by NepalForeignAffairs.com team

Former senior UN bureaucrat Kul Chandra Gautam’s book is already creating a lot of ripples.

Ian Martin was the head of Amnesty International before serving as UN special envoy to East Timor and Nepal. He acted as the inaugural head of UN Mission In Nepal (UNMIN) from 2006 to 2009. UNMIN was established to assist Nepal’s peace process following the peace agreement between Nepal government and Maoist rebels in 2006. Martin is a Cambridge educated Briton, whose controversial role in Nepal led the Nepal government to reduce UNMIN’s mandate, before finally ending the mission in 2011, on a rather bitter note.

Martin has been heavily criticized by Israel for a report prepared by his team in 2009. He led a UN committee of four to investigate incidents during the Gaza War. Israel was joined by the US in calling the report as biased. Israel’s criticism stated, “in both spirit and language, the report is tendentious, patently biased, and ignores the facts presented to the committee.”

Ian Martin was the head of United Nations Mission In Nepal (UNMIN) and led a committee to investigate incidents in the Israel-Gaza conflict. (Picture: ictj.org)

For the first time after the time of UNMIN, some of their activities and unreported incidents have been brought to light in a book by a former senior UN bureaucrat. Kul Chandra Gautam, who served as Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, has been involved with Nepali civil society and in the peace process. His book, “Lost in Transition: Rebuilding Nepal from the Maoist mayhem and mega earthquake” is out tomorrow. It has already created a lot of ripples in Nepal, including very approving reviews for its counter-narrative to the dominant view in Nepal that eulogizes violence and undemocratic means to grab power by destabilizing the state.

What follows is an exclusive excerpt from the book, detailing some role of UNMIN and its high officials in Nepal that very few people other than Gautam have been privy to.

Kul Chandra Gautam, a former senior UN official details some of the unknowns regarding UNMIN’s role in Nepal. His book is out tomorrow (Picture: ipsnews.net).

… People began to see that UNMIN was unable to restrain the massive pre-election threats and violence by the Maoists against candidates of other political parties. Following the elections, and the installation of the Maoist-led government, people saw many illegal and criminal activities taking place in Maoist cantonments or by Maoist combatants outside the cantonments. UNMIN’s seeming inability to control or even monitor such activities began to erode the public’s faith in UNMIN.

A video-taped speech by Maoist Chairman Prachanda at a party training event in the Shaktikhor cantonment just prior to the 2008 CA election revealed how the Maoists had hoodwinked the UN into accepting much larger number of combatants than was actually the case, and how the party intended to use its cadres, including its ex-combatants, to influence the election. UNMIN’s credibility nosedived, when instead of protesting the Maoists’ cynical remarks disparaging it, UNMIN sought to defend itself and the Maoists by saying that Prachanda’s remarks “needed to be understood in a certain context”.

Some dramatic cases of criminal activities in the Maoist cantonments; the free access and use of the cantonments by Maoist leaders for political training and indoctrination; and the seeming inability of UNMIN to do anything about such actions, led to serious disappointment with its performance, especially given the Nepali public’s very high expectation of UNMIN. Increasingly a growing number of leaders of the non-Maoist political parties, civil society and the media became critical of UNMIN’s performance, many attributing a certain pro-Maoist bias on the part of UNMIN.

Worried about their poor judgment, in early 2010, I wrote a long memo entitled “Quo Vadis UNMIN?” and shared it with Karin Landgren, Ian Martin and Tamrat Samuel. I cautioned them about giving undue benefit of doubt to the Maoists and unfair criticism and pressure on NC/UML to be more flexible and compromising. I have retained copies of my long private exchanges with them – mostly by emails – in my files.

In essence, the UNMIN leadership listened to my views politely, but generally chose to ignore them.

UNMIN became so influenced by the circle of self-proclaimed “progressives” that it ignored and dismissed the views and advice of many Nepalis who had a much deeper understanding of and respect for the United Nations, including those who had served in senior positions in the UN system …

In September 2010, UNMIN had prepared a report of the Secretary-General to the Security Council (S/2010/453) on the status of Nepal’s peace process recommending further extension of UNMIN’s mandate. This report was so unbalanced and objectionable that four former Foreign Ministers of Nepal coming from different political parties – KP Sharma Oli, Chakra Bastola, Ram Sharan Mahat and Prakash Chandra Lohani – wrote a joint letter of protest to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

As former foreign ministers, and strong supporters of the United Nations, they registered their objection to the tone and content of the whole report and pointed out several specific paragraphs which were against the letter and spirit of Nepal’s Comprehensive Peace Accord and related agreements. They objected to the report’s treatment of Nepal’s national army on par with the former rebel force, whose members were in temporary cantonments awaiting integration and rehabilitation. They also objected to the report essentially treating the Government of Nepal on par with the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

Indeed, neither the UN nor most Western diplomats insisted with the Maoists that if they wanted their cooperation, they had to unequivocally renounce violence, accept political pluralism (not just “multiparty competition”), and abandon their declared objective of “state capture” through either ballots or bullets.

Martin’s implied assertion that Nepalis … could not think for themselves, reminded me of the former Singapore Ambassador Kishore Mahbubani’s book entitled “Can Asians Think?” Yes, I argued, Nepalis can think for themselves.

Karin Landgren replaced Martin as UNMIN head in Nepal. UNMIN has been controversial and accused of protecting Maoist violence in Nepal (Picture: frontpageafricaonline.com).

Rights and Wrongs. Two Photos, Two Stories. Justice and Injustice. Nepal

Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Ganga Maya Adhikari have been staging a fast-unto-death seeking justice for their murdered son Krishna Prasad Adhikari. Krishna was killed by Maoist cadres during the Maoist insurgency in Chitwan in 2004.
Nanda Prasad Adhikari and Ganga Maya Adhikari have been staging a fast-unto-death seeking justice for their murdered son Krishna Prasad Adhikari. Krishna was killed by Maoist cadres during the Maoist insurgency in Chitwan in 2004. Pic: eKantipur.com
Seventy former Maoist combatants (two of them pictured) formally entered the Nepal Army as officers on Monday (26 Aug). Former People's Liberation Army combatants’ integration into the national army was a key component of the peace process that began in 2006.
Seventy former Maoist combatants (two of them pictured) formally entered the Nepal Army as officers on Monday (26 Aug). Former People’s Liberation Army combatants’ integration into the national army was a key component of the peace process that began in 2006. Pic: eKantipur.com

Two powerful images were splashed on the front pages of Nepali newspapers over the past week. Lets start with the most recent one- that of the former Maoist combatants- smiling to cameras, holding and kissing their kids with their wives by their side- who have been integrated into the Nepali army as officers.

A reporter from Kantipur newspaper caught Basudev Ghimire, one of the graduating officers, by surprise at the graduation ceremony (Tue, 26 Aug) with a question: “Do you know Pawell?”

“No, I don’t,” came the reply from the man who, as a Maoist guerilla, was known as Pawell. “I have already forgotten it.” Continue reading Rights and Wrongs. Two Photos, Two Stories. Justice and Injustice. Nepal

Contradiction, Evidences Suggest, is the Communist Religion in Nepal

Temple hopping CP Gajurel (You spotted him! Silver-haired and in white kameej) of the Maoist party at the Doleshwor Mahadev temple.
Temple hopping CP Gajurel (You spotted him! Silver-haired and in white kameej) of the Maoist party at the Doleshwor Mahadev temple.

By Siromani Dhungana

Communist movement in Nepal is full of controversy and contradictions. Nepal has seen communist leaders who once called parliament a “butcher’s shop, where dog’s meat is sold by displaying the goat’s head” got elected in the same parliament to lead a government. This country has also seen communists who waged a bloody war against parliamentary democracy join the mainstream, got themselves nominated to the parliament and take part in elections of a parliament to be the largest party in the House.  The country has also seen atheist communists who condemned religion as opium turn into devotees and companions in temple hopping. Continue reading Contradiction, Evidences Suggest, is the Communist Religion in Nepal

By a disgruntled graffiti artist?

While the CPN-Maoist continues to engage in talks with the government and the alliance of parties that dictate the government, they have already started publicity campaign to boycott the elections scheduled for 19th November. We present here photos and this update:
KATHMANDU, AUG 13 – The dialogue held between the government and the poll-opposing 33-party alliance ended inconclusively here in the Capital on Tuesday. The meeting ended without forging any agreement with the agitating political parties, including the CPN-Maoist, after the alliance proposed the government to defer the Constituent Assembly polls slated for November 19.

This was the first official meeting between the government and the 33-party alliance which has been opposing the CA polls. During the meeting held at Hotel Himalaya in Lalitpur today, the 33-party alliance forwarded an 18-point charter of demands including the abrogation of 25-point presidential decree issued on March 14, dismissal of the current Khil Raj Regmi-led government and postponement of the CA polls slated for November 19.

Home Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Minister for Information and Communications Madhav Prasad Poudel and Health Minister Bidhyadhar Mallik represented the government side at the meeting.

Likewise, CPN-Maoist leaders Dev Gurung, Hari Bhakta Kandel, and Chairman of the Nepal Communist Party-Revolutionary Mani Thapa, among other leaders, represented the agitating 33-party alliance . CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya was, however, not present at the meeting.

The alliance has also proposed to scrap the ongoing election preparations and start a new process of government formation and election process. “They proposed to start afresh by forging consensus on a party-led government and a new election process,” said government spokesperson Madhav Poudel. “We told them that the government is ready to hold talks on every other issue expect the deferral of slated CA polls,” he added.

Minister Poudel said that the government was not in favour of deferring the November 19 CA polls. He added that the next round of talks with the 33-party alliance will take place in a day or two. (source: ekantipur)

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A Maoist Attempt of Merging the Judiciary into the Executive

Appointment of the SC Chief Justice as the Prime Minister will be Supreme injustice to the people of Nepal.

Political parties in democracy can, of course, be good or bad but most certainly without a capable leadership of political parties, the democratic system will never be anything but bad. –tweaked version of Albert Camus’s quote on free press

By Siromani Dhungana

On January 30, before the Maoists proposed appointing incumbent Supreme Court Chief Justice as Prime Minister, I had written in in this blog: “Democracy in Nepal is on the verge of collapse. Most of the indicators of democracy are either dismantled or dead. The basic notion of democracy- ‘check and balance’- has been destroyed and now there is only the check of the communist-led government.”

Unfortunately, the Maoists have proved me right yet again with their flabbergasting proposal. You don’t have to be a political scientist to know what the Maoists are trying to do is completely against the basic notion of democracy, that is, the check and balance. And, incompetent and shortsighted opposition parties are once again going to be fooled by the UCPN Maoist. And that will cost Nepal’s fledgling democracy dearly.

The propose of appointing incumbent chief justice as the Prime Minister of the country has apparently showed that the largest political party of Nepal is trying to ruin the basis democratic concept ‘check and balance’ among major state organs — judiciary, executive and legislature.

If materialized, the Maoist proposal will not only ruin completely the independence of judiciary but also jeopardize the entire justice system of Nepal. On the other hand, it will also help undermine the importance of political parties in Nepal which will have repercussion in the long run.

It is for sure that the Maoists want to resume their war-time ‘kangaroo courts’ which they operated in villages in a direct challenge to the existing judicial system. Even after ending armed conflict in 2006, the party had floated the idea of reviving ‘kangaroo courts’ in 2007 in an effort to step up pressure against the then interim government headed by NC leader Girija Prasad Koirala.

The Maoists never believed in current judicial system in Nepal. They have constantly argued that this is the one State organ that still represents that feudal, old Nepal. They have constantly flouted Supreme Court decisions. Their senior leaders, including the PM, have every now and then spoken against the judicial system and courts in general. They think, after controlling executive and having had largest number of seats in legislature parliament (dissolved in May 2012), the judiciary is the last  bastion that still remained out of their sphere of influence. The fact that the Maoists couldn’t win notable number of seats in the recently held elections of national committee of Nepal Bar Association despite fighting polls against democratic candidates in partnership with the UML-supported lawyers shows their poor presence in judicial sector.

And now, suddenly, they have this new-found trust in judiciary! Doesn’t sound plausible at all. Those who have been criticizing and flouting judicial decisions are now suddenly seeing ‘most independent and trustworthy’ person in the head of the same judiciary.

And at a time when the SC is already stretched- and is functioning with only around half of dozen judges and can’t fulfill vacant positions because there doesn’t exist a mechanism in the absence of parliament.

And at a time when the SC has issued quite a few orders staying or stopping several controversial decisions of the Maoist-led government including in the case of Dekendra Thapa. Continue reading A Maoist Attempt of Merging the Judiciary into the Executive

The Maoist Idea of National Productivity: More Cash for the Party

King Mahendra reportedly said in the mid-1960s: “Communism does not travel in a car.”

Some say he used the word ‘truck’, not ‘car’. Whatever. I think, communism does not but communists do. Communists travel in the most luxurious vehicles according to their availability. Nepal’s ruling UCPN (Maoist) is an example how controversial communists can become when they struggle to maintain a balance between their ideology and lifestyle. The party floated new jargon in its just concluded seventh General Convocation, that is, national productivity.

Is this concept a major paradigm shift in ideology of UCPN (Maoist)? What is the covert intention of chairman Prachanda? Can Maoists translate concept of national productivity into action? And can they bring about any changes in lives of ‘proletariats’ for whom they claim to be engaging in politics.

By Siromani Dhungana

Surrounded by Pulsar-riding cadres of Young Communist League (YCL) and party leaders who have already elevated themselves to the elite class from the proletariat that they were until recently, and flanked by his Mustang-rider deputy Dr Bhattarai talks about austerity but indeed encourages corruption, nepotism and favoritism in his government, comrade Prachanda announced in the Hetauda Convention that his party will be focusing on national productivity.

That announcement didn’t come at a surprise to those who are familiar with inherent nature of UCPN (Maoist) – which is popularly known as ‘cash Maoist’ (as opposed to the dash Maoist, the Mohain Baidya led CPN-Maoist) due to the party’s excessive focus on amassing ‘cash’ through intimidation, forced donation and brazen corruption.

I do not think, the concept of national productivity will bring any differences in ideological front of the ruling party. His concept of national productivity neither supports capitalist economic system nor socialist. Rather, I think, there are two implied meaning of Prachanda’s proposal: to maintain a hold on all economic/financial resources and to divert attention of his cadres from political issues to other less contentious issues. Continue reading The Maoist Idea of National Productivity: More Cash for the Party

Dear Comrade Prachanda….think before using the word ‘democracy’

Before calling Baburam a democrat, Prachanda should answer the following questions:

By Siromani Dhungana

Speaking at the seventh General Convention of the UCPN (Maoist) in Hetauda on February 2, comrade Prachanda, after encouraging his followers against main opposition Nepali Congress, posed a close-ended question to his cadres: “Is Baburamjee against peace and constitution? Is he an undemocratic leader?”

His cadres clapped and laughed but did not dare to answer because it was a close-ended question and Maoists cadres are not free enough to oppose their headquarters.

Dear comrade, yes you and your fellow incumbent Prime Minister (Baburamjee) both are indeed undemocratic leaders. Your deputy has dual character. He talks about uplifting lives of the poorest of poor but in practice he does nothing for them. In an interview with the Indian newspaper DNA, he says:

Q: Yet, Maoists in India are popular with the poorest and with many intellectuals, including the likes of Anuradha Ghandy, whose memorial lecture you will be delivering. So why did it not capitalise on this support?

A: (Smiles) I think this is for the Marxists and Maoists of India to asses as to why they failed to make an impact. But seeing this from a theoretical level, parliamentary democracy does not address the problems of the poor masses and people in backward countries like India and Nepal. There is too much disparity, with one section enjoying the fruits of democracy and the majority in the country — the dalits, the tribals, the women, the poor — are deprived of their genuine democratic rights. This contradiction is there. I think the radical communists are trying to champion the cause of the downtrodden.

Comrade Prachanda, your deputy thinks ‘parliamentary democracy does not address the problems of the poor masses and people in backward countries like India and Nepal’. So, which is the most suitable model of democracy for a country like Nepal? Continue reading Dear Comrade Prachanda….think before using the word ‘democracy’

Nepali Politics is a Game of Corrupt Rulers versus Incompetent Opposition

It’s very simple to understand current Nepali politics. It’s a game between two blocks. One is incompetent and the other is extremely corrupt. Yes, the ruling leaders are cunning, corrupt, and hell bent on extending their tenure at the cost of national consensus. What about the opposition leaders? Are they serious and capable to end country’s political impasse? Can they ensure change that the people want to see in politics? The answer, unfortunately, is a big NO.

By Siromani Dhungana

One thing is for sure. The ruling parties have a clear objective: they want to make a lot of money before they leave the government. Leaders from ruling parties are cunning enough to create a catchy phrases and jargons against parties in opposition. They are good at blame game.

What about opposition leaders? They are good for nothing. They do not have a clear agenda, plan, tactic, or vision to solve immediate and long-term challenges that the country faces. Moreover, the high level leadership of opposition parties – namely the Nepal Congress and UML – is not capable to fight against or challenge tactics applied by the UCPN Maoist in Nepal’s politics.

I do not mean that leaders from NC and UML challenge Pushpa Kamal Dahal in changing tones and tactics every second day or rely on propaganda as the Maoists are doing. Nor they should give ‘false hope’ and sell ‘dream of Switzerland’ to people as Maoists did during the insurgency and continue to do so even now. Continue reading Nepali Politics is a Game of Corrupt Rulers versus Incompetent Opposition

Badhshala- A Bad Director Can Never Make a Good Film

Letter written by the Defence Ministry.
Letter written by the Defence Ministry. Click to enlarge

This is yet another example of former adversaries- the Nepali Army and the Maoists- coming together to cover their dirty secrets (conflict-era crimes).

By Siromani Dhungana

Habituated to the filthy political drama, the government imposed a ban on Nepali movie Badhshala (Slaughter House) in a clear sign that the government is going to be a butcher for the Freedom of Expression (FoE). In a letter (see pic above, and below by Ministry of Information and Communication to Nepal Film Development Board) sent to Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC), Ministry of Defense has asked to impose ban on the movie citing on the vague reason: ‘…some issues including use of Army regalia in the movie’. Republica, in an editorial, writes:

In a deplorable move, the Ministry of Defense, [currently led by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai],  has requested a ban on Nepali movie Badhshala, citing a rarely invoked rule. Apparently, the filmmaker should have taken permission to use Army regalia in the movie. But many Nepali movies have previously depicted characters in Army uniforms without any interference from the government. Hence the Defense Ministry’s reasoning falls flat at the outset. All previous movie bans were conducted by censor board (for example, the movie ATM that was banned for vulgarity). This is the first time that the Defense Ministry has gotten involved in preventing a movie’s screening.

American judge Potter Stewart says: “Censorship reflects a society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.”

So, the question is has our government lost its confidence? And whether it is heading towards an authoritarian regime? Many say that is exactly what is happing. Continue reading Badhshala- A Bad Director Can Never Make a Good Film

Rising Naxal Insurgency. Challenge for Rising India

DW’s article on India’s Naxal war for Kantipur भारतको ‘नक्सली’ युद्ध

naxal war challenge for india
click to enlarge

Why can’t those who can bring peace (or create war!) in other countries do the same in their own society?

By Dinesh Wagle

Do you know what the update was from India’s commercial capital a day after the ghastly Maoist attack in Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh last Tuesday? “The stock market barometer Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) Sensex crossed the 18,000-mark for the first time in 25 months on Wednesday,” said a report posted on the website of The Hindustan Times. “Crossing 18,000 is a healthy sign and foreign institutional investors (FIIs) support continues,” said Divyesh Shah, CEO, Indiabulls Securities. Continue reading Rising Naxal Insurgency. Challenge for Rising India