From A World to Win News Service

Nepali Maoist on Hunger Strike Against Torture

Revolutionary Worker #1246, July 18, 2004, posted at

The following is from A World to Win News Service.

July 5, 2004. A World to Win News Service. The Nepali Maoist newsweekly Janadesh reports that Matrika Prasad Yadav is on hunger strike to demand treatment according to the provisions of the Geneva Convention for prisoners of war.

The Indian authorities kidnapped Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar, also a leading member of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), in New Delhi last February, and turned them over to the Nepali Royal Army with no legal proceedings. At the time the Indian government falsely announced that the two had been arrested in the city of Lucknow, the capital of the Indian state Uttar Pradesh, on the border with Nepal.

The June 15 issue of Janadesh said it had learned from military sources that both of these comrades are being subjected to mental and physical torture by the Yudha Bhairab Battalion of the Royal Nepal Army at the Shiwapuri barracks. The Royal Army has not yet explained how the men came to be in their hands after the Indian authorities gave them to the Nepali government, nor have they been publicly presented. The military sources also said that these leaders are kept blindfolded and handcuffed. Time and again they have been asked to surrender under torture. The sources said that because these leaders demanded to be treated according to international law, RNA officers tortured them more. Yadav has begun what he says will be a hunger strike to the death to stop this policy.

Another CPN(M) leading comrade, Mohan Baidya (comrade Kiran), is also in the hands of the Nepali authorities after being arrested in a hospital while he was undergoing treatment in Jalpaiguri, in the Indian state of West Bengal. A fourth party leader, C. P. Gajurel (comrade Gaurav), has been held by Indian authorities under the threat of extradition to Nepal for almost a year now.

In another case, the Royal Army has flagrantly disobeyed the orders of the Supreme Court of Nepal. Evidence has been found that Royal Army barracks have been turned into torture chambers, rape-rooms and annihilation halls for political prisoners and ordinary people captured in the course of the Maoist-led revolution. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) demanded the right to conduct a scrutiny in the Bhairabnath barracks in Maharajgunj, Kathmandu. This is where what many people call "the royal terrorists" have kept Krishna KC, a leader of the Maoist-led student union, since he was arrested in September 2003. The Supreme Court issued an order to let the barracks be checked by the NHRC, but the Army refused, arguing that barracks are sensitive areas. NHRC member Susil Pyakurel said, "We understand that no one is allowed into barracks, but if they are converted into torture chambers, people have the right to scrutinize them". The NHRC is a commission set up by the government itself. The NHRC has been demanding the Royal Army sign an international accord on human rights. But because the king is running the country under a military dictatorship, even his own laws and institutions are considered an obstacle to trying to crush the revolution.

In one of many reactions to this situation, the chairman of A Civil Society for Peace and Development, Dr Sundarmani Dixit, urged the king's newly-appointed Prime Minister Deuba to remove the "terrorist" label from the CPN(M), withdraw the "red corner notice" signalling them as targets for arrest for INTERPOL (the Western-dominated international police agency), and drop many of the court charges pending against Maoist revolutionaries. In a memorandum, he also urged the government to guarantee the security of the Maoist leaders so as to make possible a dialogue, according to Janaastha weekly (June 24). King Gyanendra had called the army out against the revolutionaries for what he said at the time would be a three-month period and then repeatedly renewed this period. Recently he announced that he had renewed their operations for the next six months. This was widely seen as an admission of the gravity of the situation. On July 5, at least a dozen militarized police were reported killed in an ambush south of Kathmandu.