Nepal: People's War Intensifies
Govt Threatens to Send in Army
Revolutionary Worker #1055, May 21, 2000
The People's War in Nepal, led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), is now in its fifth year--fighting to overthrow the reactionary government and establish a whole new revolutionary society. The revolutionary people have stood up to encirclement and suppression campaigns by the government. The party has mobilized the masses to not only fight the enemy, but begin exercising new forms of people's power. Guerrilla zones have been established throughout the country. And especially in the Western Region, tens of thousands of peasant masses have stepped forward to join the people's army, local militias, and revolutionary mass organizations.
Up to now, the police have been the main force sent in by the government to fight the people's army. And since the start of the war in 1996, over 1,200 people have been killed.
Now, the government has announced it is planning to send the army in against the People's War. This represents a serious escalation of the government's counter-revolutionary efforts--and underscores just how much the Nepalese ruling class is threatened by the continuing growth of the revolution.
The May 10 Kathmandu Post reported that the government had decided to station the Royal Nepal Army in half a dozen "Maoist affected districts." In announcing this, the Minister for Information and Communication, Jay Prakash Prasad Gupta, did not name the districts where the army will be sent, but said they would be stationed in "such areas that are most prone to Maoist activities."
Since the start of the People's War, the government has carried out the most brutal and murderous acts against the people. Police forces have gone into villages, rounded up people, taken them into the forest and killed them. Women have been raped. Many have been "disappeared." Thousands of people have been jailed. Anyone suspected of being a "Maoist sympathizer" has been targeted for arrest or on-the-spot execution.
In spite of this, the People's War has continued to advance, especially in the western areas of Rolpa, Rukum, and Jarjakot--but also in other areas throughout the country.
Even the government has admitted the extent of the war--identifying 31 districts (out of a total of 75) as "Maoist flashpoints"--with 17 of them classified as "Affected" and 14 as "Very Affected."
The bourgeois newspaper Kathmandu Post regularly carries news about successful actions by the people's army--the killing of police and other reactionaries, the burning down of police posts, and the capture of guns, ammunition and money. And reports of large-scale actions, involving hundreds of guerrillas, indicate that the people's army has continued to grow and develop--not only in absolute numbers but also in terms of its level of organization.
One Kathmandu Post editorial in March, calling on the government to "deal firmly with the insurgency," said: "At the moment, Maoist rebels are very active in finding strategic bases for their own operations. As such, withdrawal of police post from a key location can only give them a free hand to use that place. This might make any future re-posting of a police station difficult there."
The advances of the People's War have put the government into a severe crisis and there has been intense in-fighting within the ruling class over how to try and crush the revolution.
Elections in the Spring of 1999 brought Krishna Prasad Bhattarai to power. Under his rule, a High-level Consensus Seeking Commission was formed to "find a solution to the Maoist problem." This Commission announced it was trying to have "talks" with the Maoists. At the same time, there has been a huge debate in the ruling class and in the bourgeois media over whether to strengthen the police and continue to rely on them to fight the People's War--or to send in the army.
After less than 10 months, on March 17, Bhattarai was forced to resign after forces within his own party, the Nepali Congress, led a campaign to oust him. Former Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was brought back to power.
A month later, Koirala announced he would support the Commission assigned to solving the "Maoist problem" through the National Defense Council--which consists of the Prime Minister, the Defense Minister and the Chief of Army Staff. He was clearly laying the basis to send in the army, stating, "Once the army is mobilized through the Defense Council, Nepalis will not have to worry about the Maoists." According to Nepal's 1990 Constitution, the NDC is empowered to regulate the army--which is under the control of the King.
Koirala was determined to project a hard line against the People's War. The CPN (Maoist) called for an "armed bandh" (shutdown) on April 6. And in response, the Superintendent of Police announced that government forces had been given the authority to "shoot if necessary," declare "riot areas" and impose curfews. In the days leading up to the bandh, the police arrested people for distributing pamphlets and posters and raided the houses of suspected "Maoist sympathizers." The Home Secretary said that at least 7,000 additional police were being deployed across the country. In spite of this, the bandh was successful.
On May 3, Home Minister Govind Raj Joshi admitted, "Dozens of police posts have been removed after the Maoist activists started attacking the northern hilly districts of the mid-western region. Banks have been relocated. Dozens of government offices have not been able to function effectively. Non-government offices have given up their visits to these places."
For months there has been talk about beefing up the police forces, by adding 10,000 or more specially trained forces to combat the Maoists. But now, it looks like in spite of efforts to strengthen the police, the government is getting ready to deploy the army against the People's War. But the government remains embroiled in debate over how best to attack the revolution. On May 12, Koirala stated that he would not mobilize the army against the Maoist insurgency. But he said, "the Army is the last resort" and added that the government was working towards stationing Royal Nepal Army personnel in all of the country's 75 districts, for national security and "in case of a natural disaster or calamity."
The Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), led by Comrade Prachanda, has been preparing its cadre, the people's army, and the revolutionary masses to take on new challenges--ideologically, politically, and also militarily. And there continue to be successful actions against government forces and the building of areas where the masses are exercising new people's power.
Already approximately two million people are beginning to exercise new people's power in large areas in which the enemy's hold on power has been broken. These are not yet base areas, but the aim is to develop them further through war and the people increasingly taking power into their own hands. In today's guerrilla zones, led by the Party, the masses are building new organs of power, defending and expanding them with guns snatched from the enemy. This is mainly concentrated in the West. But there are also strong guerrilla zones in the East where new waves of masses are coming forward to join the People's War.
The revolutionaries in Nepal know that the path of Maoist people's war is a protracted and tortuous process. And they are determined to fight through all the twists and turns. The enemy centralizes its forces and carries out encirclement and suppression campaigns to try and re-establish power. In response, the people's armed forces fight to defend or reestablish the people's power. In some cases, the revolutionary forces may have to leave the area. But then, the enemy cannot stay there for long because the people's army carries out actions in other places and the enemy is forced to disperse and decentralize its forces. Then the people's army and the masses are able to again recapture local power--and again, the enemy is driven out of the area. This is one type of revolution/ counter-revolution, restoration/counter-restoration that is taking place.
If the army is sent in against the People's War, this will represent a major escalation in the government's counter-revolution against the people.
The police have already committed thousands of crimes against the people. Amnesty International, which sent a delegation to Nepal earlier this year, warned that Nepal is courting a human rights disaster. In February, a visiting UN official, Special Rapporteur Asma Jahangir, accused the police of resorting to extra-judicial killings against Maoists and said that numerous people had disappeared from police custody. And U.S. imperialism and Indian expansionism are playing a particularly sinister role in assisting the Nepalese regime in its genocidal campaigns of suppression. The reactionary states of Israel, Sri Lanka and Peru are also involved. British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook recently visited Nepal and announced that he had discussed the "Maoist insurgency" with government officials.
The comrades in Nepal are inspiring the people of the world with their fierce struggle to uphold, defend and apply Marxism-Leninism-Maoism--shedding blood in the cause of the people and defeating brutal campaigns of encirclement and suppression by the enemy. Their struggle is our struggle. And now, with the threat of the Nepalese Army, it is even more urgent for the people of the world to support the People's War in Nepal.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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