News from the People's War in Nepal

Countrywide General Strike and Military Actions

Revolutionary Worker #1214, October 5, 2003, posted at

The Maoist People's War in Nepal has been rapidly moving forward since August 27, when a seven- month cease-fire came to an end.

In recent weeks, the People's Liberation Army, led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), CPN(M), has delivered big blows to the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) in pitched battles throughout the country.

And in a three-day general strike--called by the CPN(M) and the United Revolutionary People's Council--the masses of people in Nepal expressed their determination to achieve complete political change in the country. According to A World to Win News Service, the general strike "constituted a highly successful kind of referendum in which the people gave their active approval to the three points put forward by the CPN(M)--a round table conference, interim government and election of a constituent assembly."

The BBC reported, "For three days, an entire country came to a standstill." Acknowledging that the general strike was a test of political strength to demonstrate which side the masses are on, BBC summed up: "Nepal's Maoist rebels... have successfully demonstrated their political clout in the Himalayan kingdom."

"The first thing that seems different during a general strike, or bandh as they are called here, is the air over Kathmandu city--it's clean," said a BBC correspondent in Kathmandu, describing the scene in the capital during the September 18-20 strike. "On a normal working day, hundreds of thousands of vehicles belching diesel and petrol fumes turn this upland valley into a swirling caldron of pollution... With all transport stopped and most shops and businesses closed, even the main streets become promenades for families and places for boys to fly kites and perform daring maneuvers on bicycles."

The AWTW News Service reported: "Open Royal Army lorries bristling with soldiers were virtually the only vehicles to venture onto the streets. The royal government issued orders to halt any demonstrations and `shoot on sight' anyone violating the nightly curfew, but no amount of repression could make people go to work or school, open their shops and otherwise conduct business as usual. Big stores, shops and street peddlers alike respected the shutdown. The situation was the same in other cities and towns as well. Schools and offices were closed everywhere. Even local airline flights were cancelled. The factories of Biratnager in the east lay silent. Pokhara, a city normally bustling with tourists and trekkers, came to a standstill. A young Western backpacker was quoted as saying she was surprised and a little bewildered, but she understood that Maoists do not target tourists."

Government officials and the media tried to say the success of the bandh was due to Maoist "intimidation." But the strike was clearly an expression of the will of the people and as a statement by the CPN (M) pointed out, the bandh was actually a big defeat for the monarchy's attempts to terrorize the people.

The night before the bandh,the government reported they had achieved a big military victory--that 57 Maoists had been killed in a military confrontation with the Royal Army in Bhawang village in the district of Rolpa in western Nepal.

But a statement by Comrade Prachanda, the chairman of the CPN(M), set the facts straight. The Royal Army had surrounded and attacked a PLA unit, which was able to break through and escape in order to prepare a counterattack. Seven revolutionaries, including a woman company commander, were killed, along with seven Royal Army soldiers. Comrade Prachanda concluded, "If the enemy has really recovered 57 dead bodies, then either it has massacred previously detained revolutionaries in its custody, as it did during the state of emergency period, or it has shown its cowardly character by killing unarmed civilians."

A new Maoist Information Bulletin #4[issued by the international department of the CPN(M)] reports that during the seven months of the cease-fire and negotiations, millions of masses and urban middle strata were won towards the democratic program of the Party. Hundreds of thousands of people attended public meetings held by the Maoists in different parts of the country. A number of opinion polls conducted by reputed journals and organizations put the Party and its leadership much ahead of all the political parties and their leaders in Nepal. The MIF #4notes that although the negotiations failed, they provided "favorable ground to raise the People's War to the third and higher stage of a strategic offensive."

Determined Resistance

During the cease-fire, the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) had repeatedly violated the agreed upon "code of conduct"--arresting and killing many people. On August 17, even as a third round of talks were taking place, the RNA murdered 19 Maoists in Doramba village, in eastern Nepal.

Now the RNA has been trying to launch offensives against Maoist revolutionary base areas, but they are meeting determined resistance by the People's Liberation Army.

On September 7, a hard-fought military confrontation that reportedly lasted 19 hours took place between PLA and RNA soldiers in the village of Korchawang in Rolpa district, a red area in western Nepal.

According to press reports, Maoist revolutionaries encircled and attacked a large heavily armed contingent of around 300 Royal Army soldiers on patrol in the Rolpa countryside. When the RNA unit ran out of ammunition, an RNA helicopter tried to re-supply it by air-dropping boxes of ammunition. But some of this fell into the hands of the revolutionaries. The Maoist weekly Janadesh reported that the helicopter came under fire and was unable to land. On the following night the Royal Army again tried to come to the rescue of their besieged troops. Janadesh reports that the government troops eventually withdrew after suffering dozens of casualties, and the PLA was able to seize 13,000 M-16 bullets and 4,000 SLR rounds, as well as a huge amount of the air-dropped logistical material intended for the besieged government troops.

The strength of the People's War is also being felt in the cities. In the beginning of September a series of bombs hit government targets in the area right around the royal palace in Kathmandu--the central office of the Nepal Rastra Bank in Baluwatar, the land survey office at Kalanki; and the land revenue office in Bhaktapur, which was filled with Royal Army soldiers.

According to Janadesh, "The motive of the blasts seems [to be] to destroy the reactionary infrastructure in order to accomplish new democratic revolution. Maoist revolutionaries have informed the people in advance working in the office to avoid civilian casualties by the blast." The Maoist Information Bulletin reported that the CPN(M) "has expressed sincere regrets for the loss of a number of innocent lives during sabotage actions in Kathmandu and elsewhere, and has vowed to exercise more caution in the future."

In January 2003, the Maoists had agreed to a cease-fire and negotiations from a position of real strength. The People's Liberation Army had been launching huge military offensives--some involving thousands of guerrillas--and winning major battles against the RNA. The Maoists had set up new people's governments and extended areas of control beyond their strongholds in Rolpa and Rukum in the West. And even the mainstream press had to admit that the guerrillas controlled most of the countryside--and that the government only had power in the cities and district headquarters. Now the PLA is building off this strength.

According to the MIF#4,"Daring military actions by the PLA have rocked the country since the morrow of the breakdown of peace negotiations and cease-fire. Every day dozens of military actions, mostly in the form of commando raids, ambushes, sabotage and annihilations, have taken place in almost all the 75 districts of the country. The discernible new trend has been to focus the military actions more in the cities and Terai (plain) areas and carry out more of decentralized actions, which has spread panic on the enemy camp...

"Successful raids were carried out against police outposts in Sarlahi, Rupendehi, Chitwan and elsewhere; dozens of RNA soldiers were killed in successful ambushes in Achham, Surkhet, Kalikot, Kailali, Dhading, Sindhupalchok, Dolkha, Udaipur, etc.; and several informers annihilated."

New Crimes by the Royal American-Armed Forces

Meanwhile, the King's reactionary army is carrying out new crimes against the people. The AWTW News Service reports that in the countryside and even in the capital, the Royal Army is raiding homes and torturing and killing unarmed civilians, including members and leaders of parliamentary parties and the office of the negotiations team. They have "disappeared" several progressive journalists and writers, and they are again resorting to tactics like blaming the Maoists for the deaths of civilians killed by the RNA and killing unarmed civilians and then claiming they were Maoists killed in an armed encounter. In the Achham district in western Nepal, it was reported that seven girls were gang raped and four were severely beaten by RNA soldiers.

Janadesh reports that in the cities the government is arresting many activists including a central member of a progressive writers association, a woman leader of the democratic movement, and a leader of the Maoist student organization.

The Royal Army violated the Geneva Convention on prisoners of war--when it captured and then killed in cold blood a number of Maoist leaders, including three district committee and area committee leaders in the Surkhet district and a section commander of C company of the 7th Battalion of the PLA, and the government has unleashed spies throughout the country. Janadesh reports that "these notorious spies, who have been helping the reactionary state and their imperialist bosses, had been warned time and again to quit such crimes of espionage against liberation. Such criminals who disobeyed and committed crimes time and again, and caused killings and arrests of revolutionary people were annihilated throughout the country and in capital."

U.S. Intervention

During the cease-fire, the U.S. continued to work to defeat the People's War in Nepal. Right before the cease-fire started, the U.S. began joint military exercises with the Royal Nepalese Army--in the western region, in the heart of the People's War. While negotiations were going on, the U.S. continued to give military aid and training to the Royal Nepalese Army.

Even after the Nepalese government retracted the "terrorist" label on the Maoists--while negotiations were going on--the U.S. pointedly added the CPN(M) to its "terrorist watch list." And the U.S. also forced Nepal to sign a five-year "anti-terrorist" agreement--in which the U.S. will provide arms and training to counterinsurgency forces.

The U.S. has continued to provide the reactionary regime with money and weapons. But some of these efforts to modernize the RNA have backfired. During the cease-fire period, the U.S. sent thousands of M-16 automatic weapons to the Nepali regime. But some of these weapons have already been captured by Maoist revolutionaries in the districts of Chitawan and Kapilbastu--simultaneously providing clear evidence of U.S. involvement and modern weapons for the revolution!

U.S. involvement has become so critical to the regime that the Maoists have begun to call the RNA the "Royal American Armed Forces."

A Janadesh reporter spotted a contingent of the American army providing military training to the Royal Army Sixth Division in Baireni, Dhading district. This kind of thing used to go on in remote areas. But now, U.S. training is being conducted in what is considered a secure area near Kathmandu, on an island protected by a river. More than a dozen American military experts and hundreds of Nepalese army soldiers are said to be involved in lessons on how to fight the Maoists in the hilly regions.

The U.S. and other powerful countries are also stepping up efforts to help the reactionary Nepalese government hunt down and arrest leaders of the CPN(M). (See "Nepal Regime, India Target Maoist Leaders.")

On September 21, a former Nepali minister said, "There is no question of foreign intervention because Nepal is not yet a failed state." As the AWTW News Service points out, there is already foreign intervention. But by echoing Bush's code words - "failed state"--for justifying U.S. intervention and adding the word "yet," this representative of Nepal's ruling class was admitting the extent of their isolation from the people.

The A World To Win News Service, which provided information for this article, can be found at: The Maoist Information Bulletin #4, excerpts from Janadesh, other news from the People's War and statements by Prachanda and other leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) can be found at:

This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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