- Created: Thursday, 14 May 2009 21:20
- Written by Andrew Alexander
FRFI 177 February / March 2004
Pressure against the people’s war in Nepal has escalated with a recent incursion into the country by Indian forces who burned and looted homes of suspected Maoists. This confrontation is a direct result of the frequent attacks against the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA), including:
• 1 December in Kailali, 15 RNA soldiers killed in a lengthy battle
• 4 December in Morand, four mercenaries killed
• 13 December in the western region, 10 RNA soldiers killed by mines
• 14 December, 14 members of the Armed Police Force ambushed and killed in the Mahottari district and ten security personnel killed in the Kapilvastu district.
The list goes on. Up to the middle of December a total of 287 security personnel, including the army and armed police, have died since the breakdown of the ceasefire on 27 August 2003.
In addition to the continuing clashes with the army, there has also been a rise in strike action. On 3 January a strike called by ANNISU, the student wing of the Maoist rebels, brought life in the Mechi and Koshi zones to a standstill, causing major disruption to travel and closure of shops in the major cities, affecting nearly 1.6 million students. ANNISU announced the strike to demand that the government make public the whereabouts of some of their comrades who have gone missing. To coincide with this, the banned All Nepal Women’s Organisation (ANWO) has called a countrywide general strike on 8 March, International Women’s Day. ANWO’s chair emphasised the building of ‘model villages free of the oppression of women in the liberated areas’, where women have equal rights in property, politics and every sphere of society, and called for greater participation by women in the local revolutionary people’s governments.
The feudal government continues to act with indecision in dealing with the deepening crisis. On the one hand they have extended their assaults by continuing their brutal policy of collective punishment: RNA soldiers are told to kill 10 Maoists to every soldier/policeman killed. The reality is that the majority of those killed are not Maoist guerrillas but non-combatant peasants who refuse to give information about the Maoists.
However, because of increasing desperation the government has introduced a ‘surrender and amnesty’ policy, assuring security, jobs, and other offers to those who surrender. Communications Minister Kamal Thapa stated that ‘the government will provide certain “financial aid” to those who will help seize weapons, explosives and other sensitive materials’, adding that ‘their identities will be kept secret’. Free medical treatment, education, employment and loans to start businesses were also offered. The government also claimed it will later on grant full freedom to them, allowing them to follow any political ideology they believe in’!
In the absence of a bourgeois parliament the monarchy has had to openly resort to such direct tactics to split the movement. They will be unlikely to fool the majority of the Nepalese people who have experienced the naked brutality of the King’s army and police. The reality has been the opposite – increased desertion from the police and army to the People’s Liberation Army.
In response to these events Christina Rocca, the US Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, went to Nepal on 16 December 2003 for a four-day visit where she met with both the King and Prime Minister to discuss ‘security issues’. Rocca, who reports directly to Colin Powell the US Secretary of State, arrived with pledges of continued US assistance to fight the Maoist insurgency. She arrived amid a huge cross-party counter-demonstration outside the Royal Palace. It was her first visit to Nepal since Washington decided to freeze Maoist assets in the US after declaring the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) a terrorist organisation.
The British Labour government has also intensified its pressure by approving ‘big increases in the sales of arms to Nepal where security forces are fighting Maoists,’ The Guardian said. ‘Last year, Britain provided Nepal with two military helicopters with funds from its “conflict prevention” fund,’ the paper added. The British government has also agreed to provide two STOL (Short Take-off and Landing) aircraft to the RNA as a grant assistance under its Global Conflict Prevention Pool. Israel has also managed to get itself a slice of the pie. They have sold the RNA high-tech infra-red surveillance devices which have been fitted to their helicopters and will considerably help monitor Maoist activity on the ground.
Despite the recent incursion India claims that it has a ‘non-interference policy’. The Indian Foreign Minister Yashwant Sinha recently said ‘we never impose our views on Nepal. India and Nepal are two of the closest neighbours and we give friendly advice to Nepal only when we are asked or if it is very essential.’ Well, we can determine then that Delhi considers the situation as critical, for he went on to state ‘we feel concerned about Nepal’s Maoist problem, if we encourage Nepali Maoists, then we would be encouraging Maoist Communist Centre and People’s War Group (the two main Maoist organisations in India). It’s not in India’s interests...we need energy and Nepal can produce energy.’
The Indian government continues to incarcerate Chandra Prakash Gajurel, a political bureau member of the CPN, on trumped up charges of having insufficient travel documents. Furthermore, India has been continuing its military support to the Nepalese government with a supply of over 1 million 5.56 calibre bullets for modern rifles to Nepal. Indian Special Forces have also arrived in Nepal with military supplies to provide counter-insurgency training to the RNA.
This intensification of the war against the Nepalese people is being continued by the imperialist countries. Yet despite this joint aggression, the rebels are still making steady gains.
Victory to the Nepalese
Sources and quotes used in this article were taken from the Maoist Information Bulletin, Nepal News, A World to Win News Service, the BBC World Service and The Himalayan Times.