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Third Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat to India

By Kamal Raj Sigdel

Maoists Want Talks with India: The United Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist (UCPN-M) wrapped up its third phase of protests and declared a fourth one today (Tuesday) concluding that there was no point in holding talks with local parties since they were all controlled by New Delhi. It was more meaningful to talk directly with Delhi.  The party has been hitting the streets demanding the establishment of civilian supremacy in the country.  This is the first instance since the 12-point agreement in 2005 that the Maoist leadership has come out openly against what it calls Delhi’s intrusion in Nepali politics. The implication was that the entire peace process was basically between the Maoist party and New Delhi, with other Nepali parties as fringe players.

The party announced that a national awareness campaign would start from Dec. 25 and run for a month. If the speeches made at the party rally on Tuesday were anything to go by, the Maoists will adopt a strong nationalist pitch in the next few weeks. Still, the party leadership displayed ambivalence in its treatment of India.  “We are ready to hold talks with New Delhi,” Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal told the party rally, held symbolically outside the Constituent Assembly where the Maoists are the largest party. “But what is the agenda? Are we citizens of a sovereign country?” There was the inevitable frustration with local parties. “For the last six months, I have reached out countless times to the parties, but they have all gone in vain,” said Dahal. “It’s a pity that the parties are helpless when it comes to taking any decision on their own as they are remote-controlled by New Delhi.”

India Reacts to Dahal Statement

By Dinesh Wagle

NEW DELHI – Influential Indian leaders and foreign policy buffs expressed a range of views on Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s statements pertaining to India on Tuesday. Dahal had said that he would only talk to New Delhi.

While some termed Dahal’s speech ‘a street talk by an angry leader’, others took it as a reflection of the ‘India will resolve it all’ tendency in Kathmandu.

The Ministry of External Affairs refused to comment. “We don’t want to comment on the internal issues of another country,” said a ministry official.

Former Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha saw Dahal’s speech as contradictory. “They blame India for interfering and then say they want to hold talks with India,” Sinha said noting that the onus of resolving Nepal’s problems lies with Nepali leaders and elected representatives. According to him, Maoists in Nepal have been trying to impose what they wish. “But in democracy, it doesn’t work that way all the time. “When in the government, they wanted to impose decisions through the Constituent Assembly. Now they want to impose things through force.”

Former Indian Ambassador to Nepal K.V. Rajan said India has always been in touch with all political parties in Kathmandu in one way or the other. “The government could rethink if Dahal means to talk straight with the ministry or the Prime Minister’s Office, skipping the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu,” said Rajan.

Dahal offered five key agendas that should feature in the Nepal-India dialogue: 1) scrapping of the 1950 Nepal-India Friendship Treaty,  revision of other unequal bilateral treaties, 3) revision of Indian policy to ensure Nepal’s right to international transit, 3) a tripartite agreement between Nepal, India and China on a long-term strategy for Nepal’s development, 4) Nepal-India border disputes, including Susta, and 5) the Indian army’s withdrawal from Kalapani.

Who is Kapoor to say like that? Dahal expressed serious concern over Indian Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor’s recent remarks against the en masse integration of former Maoist combatants in Nepal Army. Gen. Kapoor’s statement came during Army Chief Chhatra Man Singh Gurung’s India visit that concluded on Saturday. Kapoor had said that “if Maoist fighters wish to join Nepal Army, they should follow the due recruitment procedure as other Nepali citizens aspiring to join the Army.”

“What is the point in India prescribing what should or what should not be done on the Army integration issue, which has been clearly outlined in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement?” asked Dahal, adding that silence on the part of Gen. Gurung was indicative of the fact that the current establishment could not speak against New Delhi “even if the silence could cost us our sovereignty”. Dahal asked: Who is that Kapoor to jeopardize Nepal’s Comprehensive Peace Agreement?”

Fourth Phase: Nationalism on Focus The fourth phase of protests, according to the Maoists, will focus on raising “national awareness” by “exposing clandestine deals” with foreign compradors. “We are approaching a situation when we have to fight not only local compradors but also their foreign masters,” said Maoist Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai. The one-month protest, from Dec. 25 to Jan. 24, is scheduled to culminate in declaration of an indefinite general strike if the government fails to address the party’s demand for a House discussion on the president’s reinstatement of then Army chief Rookmangud Katawal. The Maoist leaders also took strong exception to the government decision to buy arms from India, stating that it breached the peace accord and was a part of the “plot” to derail the peace process and suppress the Maoists.

Related blogs:

1. Second Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat

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Second Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat

…and President denies Maoist allegation

The two-day Singhadurbar gherao of the Maoist ended today peacefully with their chairman Prachanda issuing a threat against the government that his party would start intensified third phase of the movement in a week (20 Nov) if their demands were not met. Wrapping up their picket from Singhadurbar, the official seat of the government of Nepal, the Maoist cadres from different entry points of the sprawling complex marched towards the exhibition road to listen to Prachanda. The Maoist had brought thousands of cadres from different parts of Nepal before the crack of the dawn.

Ministers and several top bureaucrats including the Home minister Bhim Rawal, reportedly reached at his office at 6 am to avoid the blockade. But public transportation was largely affected in the capital. General people were forced to rush towards their destinations a few hours earlier as its uncertain what’s going to happen next. Thousands of police were deployed at different parts of the city. Yesterday some cadres clashed with police personnel after, what the police said, they tried to overstep the prohibited area, leaving around one hundred persons injured. Continue reading Second Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat

A Maoist Agricultural Center In Nepal

By Neil Horning

On the way to Chorkate, Gorkha, about a 3 hour bus ride from the district headquarters, a conspicuous facility covered with red flags is noticeable by the roadside.

Nammuna Agricultural Center is run by the United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) as an agricultural cooperative, intended to teach agricultural skills and collective farming to locals and serve as a model for similar facilities nation wide. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s childhood village overlooks the center.

The cooperative raises buffalo and pigs, farms fish and grows rice and vegetables. According to members, Sarmila Bagle and Hari Khanal, 20-30 Maoist cadres work in the center, with locals (paid 100-400 Rupees or about $1.50 to $6.00 a day) comprising an additional half of the workforce. Gender balance rests at 50%. Cooking is done on a rotational basis involving both men and women, and decisions are made through semi-regular meetings of the members.
Agricultural cooperatives are the first step in a Maoist development strategy known as collectivization, in where the manpower from individual plots is pooled to increase efficiency of production. In China, first land titles were distributed to peasants as part of a land reform process. Next, peasants with individual plots were encouraged to voluntarily join agricultural cooperatives which were later combined into massive communes. The initial stages of this plan met with measured success, while the later stages during the great leap forward have been blamed for massive famines and are the subject of much controversy. Continue reading A Maoist Agricultural Center In Nepal

Madhav Kumar Nepal Set to Become Prime Minister of Nepal

madhav kumar nepal
Madhav Kumar Nepal, veteran communist leader of the Himalayan republic who have been tipped to be the prime minister of Nepal several times in the past and lost from both constituencies in the April 2008 CA elections, is finally set to become the third Communist prime minister of Nepal.

The leader of the moderate Communist Party of Nepal United Marxist and Leninist (CPN UML) who resigned from the post of party General Secretary owing moral responsibilities to his party’s disastrous performance in the CA polls, have already been the deputy prime minister in the cabinet of Manmonah Adhikari, the first elected communist prime minister of Nepal, in 1994 for nine months. He is considered the moderate and inclusive leader in the communist party that, unlike the Maoists, have been taking part in parliamentary democratic elections ever since democracy was restored in 1990. He is criticized as a leader who sometime becomes indecisive and can’t take any firm stands on hard issues.

After the country plunged into political uncertainty with the abrupt resignation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on May 4 the process of forming a non-Maoist government had started in the primary initation of opposition Nepali Congress. The hectic deliberations and possibly some amount of horsetrading finally appeared to have ended today (Sunday) when the CPN UML submitted the signatures of 350 lawmakers (out of 601 CA members) to the CA chairman to open up the way to form the new government. Madhav Kumar Nepal has been backed by 22 different parties representing in the CA including the second largest Nepali Congress. Continue reading Madhav Kumar Nepal Set to Become Prime Minister of Nepal

Addressing the PLA Combatants, Prachanda Outlined How Maoists Wanted to Capture State and National Army

Maos respond to the video: here


The video was first aired yesterday evening by Image Channel. YouTubed today by myrepublica.com

During the uncertain times just two months before the 10 April 2008 Constituent Assembly elections, Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” was addressing a meeting of People’s Liberation Army commanders and combatants at Shatikhor, Chitwan cantonment. In that 2 January 2008 speech, Prachanda talked about how the Maoist leadership had inflated the numbers of the PLA soldiers by almost five-fold and how the Maoist planned to capture the state and the national army. The speech was videotaped. The video was broadcast late yesterday night by Kathmandu-based network Image Channel. [Meanwhile, the elections did happen, which at the time of Prachanda speech, seemed uncertain because of differences between the Maoist and non-Maoist parties over percentage allocation for the electoral systems First-Past-The-Post (PPTP or direct votes) and proportional representation. Prachanda’s party emerged single largest in the CA and four months after the polls Prachanda formed a multi-party government that lasted until yesterday. The reason behind Prachanda government’s fall? It wanted to sack the army chief who, in the videotaped speech, Prachanda says is obstructing the PLA’s integration into Nepali Army.] Continue reading Addressing the PLA Combatants, Prachanda Outlined How Maoists Wanted to Capture State and National Army

Why Nepal is Divided Over the Sacking of Army Chief?

It’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly. Three reasons:

By Neil Horning

In a democracy, the Army should not be a center of power in the slightest. It is supposed to carry out the will of the elected government within the confines of the constitution. To illustrate, when Obama was elected, it was considered a novelty when he did not replace the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. Thus, in assessing this development, I feel it’s not so important to ask why the Maoists are sacking the Army Chief as it is to ask why the other parties are apposing this so strongly.

There a couple of reasons why this could be so. In increasing importance:

1. The Army Chief has important friends in elite circles

Even in the US it’s common to say, “it’s not what you know. It’s who you know.” This could not be truer in Nepal. While the country has gone through tremulous upheaval recently, nepotism, corruption, and crony-ism have hardly abated. While the Nepali Congress and The UML formally apposed the Palace, their upper crust, mostly Brahmin-Chetri members ran in the same social circles with royals and royalists, dined with them, attended the same wedding receptions, ran the same civic organizations, served on the same boards, etc. All in this elite class share the goal of, to one degree or another, preserving the power of their own class-caste. These are social contacts that nearly all Maoist members severed while going underground, if they existed to begin with, and they hardly have had time to return. The Army Chief Surely has many friends within the CPN UML and NC, if not relatives (which trump all), and many favors to call in. Continue reading Why Nepal is Divided Over the Sacking of Army Chief?

And the Last Press Briefing by Ian Martin

Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, addressed reporters at Reporters’ Club in Kathmandu today. Here is the Q and A, as provided by United Nations Mission in Nepal. Here is Ian’s last briefing to UNSC.

Rishi [Dhamala, the Chair of the Club], Thank you very much indeed for inviting me to come to the Reporters’ Club for one final time before I leave my present responsibilities. I want to thank you and the Reporters’ Club for the consistent interest that you have shown in the work of OHCHR and then in the work of UNMIN during my responsibilities for each of those. When I came to open the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in May 2005, defending freedom of expression, freedom of media was one of our priorities. And, as the terrible murder of Uma Singh reminds us, and many other threats to journalists, it’s still an extremely relevant agenda today, and OHCHR and many other colleagues in the United Nations will go on defending freedom of expression and freedom of media.

When people ask me if I am worried that Nepal may see a drift to some kind of authoritarianism, my answer is that the democratic spirit in Nepal is now too strongly alive for that to be a possibility even if some people wanted it. And, I have had the privilege to be in Nepal during Jana Andolan in 2006, and during the Constituent Assembly election, and I have no doubt that people of Nepal who had their say, who demanded peace and change on both those two occasions will insist that Nepal maintains a democratic country in which they have full freedom of expression. Continue reading And the Last Press Briefing by Ian Martin

The Last Briefing by Ian Martin

Ian Martin, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in Nepal speaks at the Meeting of the Security Council on 16 January 2009

The request of Nepal for United Nations assistance in support of its peace process

Mr President,

This is the tenth and last time I am briefing the Council on the assistance of the United Nations in support of Nepal’s peace process, and in particular the work of UNMIN. Although neither the peace process nor the Government’s desire for the support of UNMIN has come to a conclusion, it is an appropriate moment not only to consider developments since the last briefing in November, but also to reflect on the achievements and remaining challenges in sustaining peace in Nepal. Continue reading The Last Briefing by Ian Martin

Now That They Are in Power, Maoist Comrades Start New Fight

Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” and Mohan Baidya at loggerheads

By Renu Kshetry

The central committee (CC) meeting of CPN (Maoist) held on Monday (yesterday) saw party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and leader of the hard-line faction Mohan Baidya present separate political documents. Prime Minister Dahal presented three options on republicanism – the federal democratic republic, people’s republic and transitional republic. It is the first time the party chairman has presented the idea of “transitional republic,” which, some analysts said, could be a middle-of-the road approach. Dahal has now offered to bring together the two factions – proponents of People’s Republic and Democratic Republic. Continue reading Now That They Are in Power, Maoist Comrades Start New Fight

Ian Martin of UNMIN Speaks to the Press

The UN Secretary-General will visit Nepal latter this month, is spokesperson said Thursday. While in Nepal, the Secretary-General will meet with the President, the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and members of the Constituent Assembly. The Secretary-General will also visit Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, the spokesperson said.

Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal, held a press conference at the Reporter’s Club, Kathmandu today. Here is the transcript as provided by the UNMIN. (Note: the questions in some cases are summarised)

Ram Kumar Kamat, The Himalayan Times: I read in today’s newspaper that Girija Prasad Koirala asked you that if Maoist army is integrated into Nepal Army, it will tarnish its image internationally. Apparently you agreed to this when he asked you. Do you want to say anything on that?

Ian Martin: First, let me say that neither I nor UNMIN have ever been an advocate for or against integration. We have never taken a position on this issue. We have always made clear that like other aspects of the peace process, this is for Nepalis to decide and the political actors reached agreements as to the process by which they would decide it. And that’s the special committee that I have referred to and that’s the place where the discussion about integration and re-integration has to take place. And if the United Nations is asked to make international experience available to the special committee then we will be happy to do so, but not with any United Nations proposal or any United Nations model to offer from elsewhere. Continue reading Ian Martin of UNMIN Speaks to the Press