From A World to Win News Service

Three-Day General Strike Great Success in Nepal

Revolutionary Worker #1237, April 25, 2004, posted at

We received the following from A World to Win News Service.

April 12, 2004. A World to Win News Service. The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) called for a three-day general strike for April 6, 7 and 8 on the occasion of the 15th anniversary of the historic days in 1990. At that time, the Nepalese masses besieged the Royal Palace on the call of the revolutionaries, while the parliamentary parties- -the United Left Front and Nepali Congress--capitulated to King Birendra and betrayed the people. This year, the Maoists' call for a Nepal bandh took place amid a fluid political situation among the parliamentary parties.

The CPN(M) has been leading a people's war since 1996 to achieve a new-democratic revolution and thus open the doors to socialist revolution. That war has reached the stage of strategic equilibrium between the two sides and the Maoists' preparation of a strategic offensive. In this context, the three-day Nepal bandh dealt an important blow to the semi-feudal, semi-colonial system of Nepal. The CPN (Maoist) set out the main slogan, "March forward on the Great Path of establishing a People's Republic, Make the general strike on 6, 7 and 8 April a great success." According to the leaflet published by the weekly newspaper Janadesh March 9, the Party's month-long programme of action comprised propaganda and agitation, mass mobilizations, mass actions, and military actions. It included regional bandhs, burning effigies of the current king Gyanendra and his son, and mass actions against companies and institutions associated with the Rana and Shah families (the widely hated core of the Nepali ruling classes), in addition to the national bandh.

During the course of preparing the general strike, there were many centralized and decentralized military actions throughout the country. The People's Liberation Army led by the Party took over the Bhojpur Royal military barracks. Some 40 Royal Army soldiers were killed, 25 others wounded, and 51 modern weapons and 10,000 rounds of ammunition were seized. Three weeks earlier, the Maoist-led revolutionaries took over Beni, the district headquarters of the Myagdi district. There the PLA seized 137 modern weapons and killed 150 Royal military forces.

During the period of the general strike, the entire country remained closed down, including cities and towns outside Kathmandu, such as Pokhara, Biratnagar, Birgunj, Bhairawha, Nepalgunj, Dhangari, Mahendranagar and others. In Pokhara, the Royal Army terrorized people and tried to force businessmen to open their enterprises. Those who refused were beaten and tortured. In Kathmandu, the Royal Army escorted some vehicles and tried to keep them running. But people boldly defied the Royal Army and the capital remained completely closed. The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) criticized the government for using force to open their businesses.

In the meantime, as the Maoist-led people's war has been developing through leaps and bounds, the struggle of the five parliamentarian political parties, previously withering, regained some momentum when the CPN(M) issued a statement saying that it would support all forms of struggle heading towards uprooting the feudal monarchy. Around 25,000 protesters held a demonstration in Kathmandu on April 1. The more the Gyanendra regime tried to clamp down on the people, the more the participation of the masses increased.

Different sections of the people have come out into the street. Organizations of professors, writers, journalists, doctors, lawyers, and teachers have been taking part in the demonstrations. The main demonstration called by the five parliamentary parties was scheduled for one day, but nevertheless it carried on continuously on the following days, showing increasing aggressiveness and determination to sweep away the feudal monarchy. The Gyanendra regime imposed a curfew and banned any gatherings except religious events within Kathmandu's ring road. The excuse for this was to thwart the possible penetration of Maoists in the demonstrations held by the parliamentary parties. But in fact, the Maoists are not the only ones who want to overthrow the feudal monarchy right now. This has become a demand of the people in general. For instance, the Nepali weekly Jana Astha said April 7, "The movement will examine the honesty of NC [the Nepali Congress Party] and the UML [the equally parliamentary party that falsely calls itself the United Marxist-Leninists], the parliamentary leaders, to see how honest they are when they are now leading struggle. The scenario appears that the people will never forgive them if once again they betray the people in return for seats in the king's parliament."

People in Kathmandu chanted slogans like Gyanendra Shah murdabad! (Downwith King Gyandndra), Gyanendra Paras lai fasi de!(Death to the king and his son) and Gyanendra Choor Des Chhod (Thief Gyanendra, leave the country).

The regime opened fire with rubber bullets and CS teargas, which is internationally prohibited, and lathi-charged the demonstrators (using long clubs). Around two thousand were arrested and detained. A report by the National Human Rights Commission said authorities were denying detainees basic sanitation facilities, food, and water. Further, the army was issued orders to "shoot on sight" suspected Maoist agitators. In the city of Mahendranagar in western Nepal, the Army arrested 25 students taking School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams. They were blindfolded and taken away. Similarly, the Royal Army arrested 80 more students in Acham district who had just come home from their SLC examination. A Royal terrorist general declared that these students were all suspected Maoist fighters.