Thursday, June 09, 2005

Prachanda: "A Man in Control"

Blogdai found this excellent article in today's kathmandu post. we do occasionally reprint good articles to facilitate their greater exposure. It reiterates perfectly what we mentioned below (blogdai: "the beginning of the end"). Seems like "The Fierce One" has a fierce public relations problem on his hands. Looks like he spends quite a bit of time apologizing for maoist mistakes. -=blogdai

Apology notwitstanding, Maoist excesses continue

By Tilak P. Pokharel

KATHMANDU, June 8 - Maoists have attacked innocent civilians umpteen number of times and made several "pledges" not to repeat such "mistakes". Yet, civilians continue to fall victim to their barbaric acts.

Most recently, Maoist Supremo Prachanda again issued a statement on Tuesday "repenting" the June 6 attack by his cadres on a passenger bus in Chitwan, killing at least 38 civilians, the highest civilian casualty in any single incident since the rebels launched the armed insurgency in 1996. In the statement, Prachanda said that the attack contravened "party policy" and pledged that the findings of an "internal probe" into the incident would be made public.

Prachanda had issued a similar statement on November 16 after a passenger bus in Dolakha hit a Maoist-laid landmine on November 13, 2002, killing two civilians. In his statement, Prachanda had said such an attack was "beyond their imagination". At that time too, he had pledged to probe into the incident and had said the outcome of the probe would be made public. However, that never happened.

And yet another "beyond-their-imagination" incident occurred in Sarlahi on April 9 where a public bus hit another land mine in which five passengers were killed.

Likewise, when the Maoists went on a rampage attacking leaders and cadres of the People's Front Nepal (PFN) in September-October last year, Prachanda, in a statement on October 6, had said that the attacks were against "party policy". However, attacks on PFN members continued unabated for several months even after this.

The cold-blooded murder of journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa by the Maoists in Dailekh in August 2004 was also followed by an apology by Maoists Spokesperson, Krishna Bahadur Mahara. Mahara had said that his party had no policy of attacking or persecuting journalists and indicated that all attacks on mediapersons by the rebels were "aberrations".

Likewise, the Maoist cadres had set fire to an ambulance in Dhankuta on May 17 last year, besides torching a private vehicle. Incidentally, the incident occurred just a couple of days after a statement by Prachanda in which he had said that his party didn't have any policy to attack civilian targets.

The first ever public apology from the Maoist leadership came during the 2001 cease-fire when Prachanda had said the "forceful collection" of donations by Maoist cadres was against the party policy. That, however, didn't stop the Maoists from extorting common men and women.


At 5:04 AM, June 10, 2005, Anonymous Soaltee said...

Not completely related to the Prachandra story but a very good read indeed that shows India's ill-intentions towards Nepal.

Nepal: Ominous Activism Across The Southern Border

By Krishna Singh Bam

With the Indian government energized over recent developments in
Nepal, this is a time for heightened vigilance in the kingdom.
Reminiscent of the pretext it used in the early 1970s to intervene
militarily in what was then East Pakistan, New Delhi has started
voicing concern over an increase in the number of Nepalese coming
across the border, mainly due to the escalation in Maoist violence.

Leading Indian newspapers, long known to reflect official thinking,
have started underscoring what they call deterioration in the
political and economic situation since King Gyanendra took over full
executive control of the government on February 1.

These reports are circulating at a time when former Nepalese prime
minister Girija Prasad Koirala, the leader of the recently formed
seven-party anti-palace alliance, is in New Delhi lobbying Indian
leaders for support. Former deputy prime minister Bamdev Gautam, a
leading member of Nepal's main communist party, the United
Marxist-Leninist, is also in the Indian capital for the same purpose.

Their consultations follow India's decision to open direct talks with
the Nepalese Maoist rebels. Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai, the chief Maoist
ideologue said to be close to New Delhi, met senior Indian leaders
under the auspices of Indian intelligence agencies last month. He is
reported to have met Koirala and Gautam to work out a broader alliance
against the monarch.

Considering Nepal's long porous border with India and the traditional
religious, social and cultural ties between the two countries, New
Delhi's interest in the kingdom should not arouse much concern. In
recent years, the Maoist movement has emerged as a serious threat
within India as well. At least nine out of the country's 28 states are
experiencing strong extreme left-wing insurgencies. Some Indian
analysts have described the Maoist insurgents as a greater threat to
national security than Kashmiri separatists.

A Maoist takeover in Nepal would energize fraternal groups in India,
seriously challenging the internal security of a vast and diverse
country. Recently, New Delhi decided to almost double the size of
security forces along the border, from 25,000 to 40,000 men, over the
next three years.

This spurt in Indian interest in Nepal would have been laudable had
the motives not been in doubt. In the past, India has used political
instability in Nepal to further its own political, economic and
security interests. In 1950, New Delhi promised to back the tottering
hereditary Rana regime in exchange for a treaty that would firmly
place Nepal within India's security grip. Once the treaty was sealed,
India wasted little time in undermining that regime, which was
eventually displaced in a New Delhi-backed plan.

Over the next decade, India manipulated successive Nepalese
governments for its own interests. Indian diplomats were known to be
present at cabinet meetings and to convey sensitive decisions to New
Delhi. An Indian mission arrived in Kathmandu to integrate Nepal's
military more closely with India's. Indian military personnel were
posted on key locations along Nepal's northern border with China.

In 1960, King Mahendra dissolved Nepal's first elected government, led
by the Nepali Congress, and disbanded parliament because of, among
other things, its failure to challenge Indian interference in
important affairs of the country. For nearly two years, India armed
and trained exiled members of the Nepali Congress and actively backed
an insurgency against the royal regime.

India's defeat in the war with China in 1962 forced New Delhi to
change strategy. It then sought accommodation with the royal regime,
to prevent the kingdom from veering closer to China, while continuing
to host exiled Nepalese leaders. During the next 28 years, King
Mahendra and his son Birendra moved to build Nepal's international
profile. Alarmed by India's annexation of the Himalayan kingdom of
Sikkim in 1974, King Birendra proposed that Nepal be declared a zone
of peace. The Indian establishment, which saw these developments as
part of an egregious royal attempt to pull Nepal out of India's
exclusive sphere of influence, had little leverage to block them.

In 1988, Nepal decided to buy several consignments of Chinese arms at
bargain prices. India, which saw the move as a clear violation of
Nepal's treaty obligations with India, reacted strongly. Calculating
that China would be disinclined to spoil recent improvement in ties
with India over Nepal, New Delhi imposed a crippling trade and transit
embargo against the kingdom.

Recognizing that the embargo only served to stoke patriotic fervor
among ordinary Nepalis, and strengthen the royal regime, New Delhi
engineered a pro-democracy movement. The fall of the Berlin wall and
the burgeoning wave of democracy across the world provided the perfect

India's purpose was not to overthrow the royal regime per se – perhaps
not even to ensure the restoration of multiparty democracy. It was to
build sufficient pressure to force King Birendra to sign an 80-page
treaty that would have, among other things, placed Nepal firmly within
India's security umbrella and guaranteed India's exclusive rights on
Nepal's vast water resources.

King Birendra's decision to lift the ban on parties came as a shock to
India. Making the best out of the situation, it presented a version of
the same treaty to Nepal's new leaders, who then perhaps recognized
the real motive behind New Delhi's support for their movement.

Between 1990 and 2002, India found it easy to manipulate political
parties to further its interests. Some of the new leaders, like
Koirala, were born in India. Others had participated in the Indian
independence struggle. Still others either studied in Indian cities or
had spent decades there in exile. Once in power, these leaders amassed
wealth and invested it in property, banks and businesses in India.
This gave India another tool.

>From the mid-1990s, when the Maoist insurgency began with a ragtag
band of disgruntled yet ideologically motivated members, India served
as a safe haven. The Indian government maintained that the Nepalese
rebels were benefiting from the long and open border and were being
sheltered by fraternal groups. It is clear, however, that the rebels
could not have bought arms and trained on Indian soil without official
government backing.

After King Birendra and his entire family were killed in a palace
massacre in 2001, officially blamed on a drunken Crown Prince
Dipendra, Indian television channels sought to sow confusion against
the new monarch. When King Gyanendra dismissed the last elected
government the following year, for its failure to hold elections,
India sought to use the newly marginalized political parties to breed
instability through perennial street protests.

During this same period, India tried to pressure the palace into
signing an extradition treaty covering third-country nationals, which
Nepal considered an infringement on sovereignty. New Delhi also sought
rights to develop hydroelectricity plants in the kingdom at highly
disadvantageous terms for Kathmandu. King Gyanendra's visit to India
kept being postponed for one reason or the other. Clearly, there were
some key assurances India wanted before the royal trip. Instead, the
monarch stunned India by taking full control of the government for the
following three years.

India reacted by imposing an arms embargo and pulling out of a South
Asian summit in Bangladesh the Nepalese monarch was to have attended.
Over time, New Delhi began reconsidering its knee-jerk reaction.
During a meeting on the sidelines of the 50th anniversary of the
Afro-Asian summit in Jakarta in April, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan
Singh reassured King Gyanendra that arms shipments would resume very

Over the following weeks, there was much confusion over India's actual
policy toward the kingdom. This was often blamed on the resistance
mounted by communist parties supporting the Singh government. Behind
the scenes, however, much more was going on.

For the Indian establishment, Nepal falls strictly within its zone of
influence. In recent months, the royal regime has been working to
lessen Nepal's economic dependence on India by, among other things,
seeking to expand trade and commercial relations with China.

The first direct passenger bus service linking Kathmandu and Tibet
began last month. Efforts at developing Nepal as a transit point
between China and India have received a fresh impetus. Nepal expects
to provide the transit facility with the objective of expanding its
service sector and physical infrastructure development.

Nepal expects China's modernization of Tibet will assist the
development of its own mountainous northern districts. Specifically,
the kingdom hopes to benefit from a railway project linking China with
Tibet's heartland, which Beijing plans to complete this year, two
years ahead of schedule. Recent reports say the Chinese government
plans to extend the railway line to the Nepalese border. Chinese
officials say the railway will bring in 5.64 million tourists to Tibet
over the next five years. The Lhasa-Kathmandu bus service is likely to
benefit. Nepal and China have taken special interest in developing the
kingdom's vast hydroelectric power potential.

With its economic dominance in the kingdom under threat, the Indian
government is faced with another reality. Nepal's military has been
developing close links with the United States. Since September 11,
2001, Washington has armed and trained the Royal Nepalese Army in its
fight against the Maoist rebels, which the State Department has
designated a terrorist group.

Despite the upswing in Indo-U.S. relations in recent years, New Delhi
sees Washington's involvement in Nepal as a direct challenge to its
role. With the U.S. military bogged down in the quagmire of the war in
Iraq, the Indian government has evidently concluded that Washington
would be unwilling to intervene more forcefully in Nepal. India feels
assured that it could fulfill its interests by pressuring the royal
government. The Koirala-led alliance and the Maoists have become
useful tools.

In reality, little of substance has changed in Indian policy toward
Nepal. Over the last 58 years, India has been pitting the monarchy and
the political parties against each other. Whenever one has gained
ground, New Delhi has stepped in to shore up the other. From the
Indian establishment's point of view, perpetual instability in the
kingdom is the best guarantor of its dominance.

Indeed, direct Indian military intervention in Nepal – a possibility
the Maoists have been pointing to from the start – would have been the
best solution. However, Nepalese public opinion, given the sordid
legacy of bilateral relations, is stacked heavily against India. For
the Indians, the political, military and human costs of subduing such
an embittered populace would surely rival those in Kashmir. Moreover,
a country coveting permanent membership of the United Nations Security
Council cannot be seen invading another country.

New Delhi, furthermore, is still reeling from its bitter experience in
Sri Lanka in the late 1980s. Indian soldiers were dispatched to the
island nation to protect the minority ethnic Hindu Tamils from the
depredations of the Buddhist Sinhalese-dominated government. The Tamil
Tiger rebels, fighting for a separate homeland for Sri Lankan Hindus
in the north and east, later joined hands with the government to chase
out the Indian soldiers. Some 1,200 Indian troops were killed in the
ill-fated peacekeeping operation and the Tamil Tigers went on to
assassinate former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi, who had dispatched the

India has embarked on a slightly different route this time. From
reports leaked to the Indian press, the core of New Delhi's roadmap is
becoming clear. It seems to involve the formation of a coalition
government assembling the parliamentary parties and formally dividing
the Maoist party, already facing serious rifts. New Delhi will then
nudge the king to call for national consultations with all political
parties, including those Maoists who are ready to talk. The outcome of
such a dialogue could be a national government in which the king would
have a formal presiding role.

The next phase of New Delhi's plan involves the mobilization of the
Indian army against the Maoist faction outside the peace process. For
this, India will seek the full cooperation of the United States,
Britain and China. The crisis in Nepal would be raised at the United
Nations Security Council. If a resolution mandating an international
stabilizing force were to be adopted, India's insistence would be that
the bulk of the peacekeepers come from South Asian nations with
experience of international peacekeeping operations.

What is being proposed, in effect, is a major Indian military
intervention in Nepal to further New Delhi's geopolitical interests
under the United Nations flag.

At 1:48 PM, June 10, 2005, Blogger blogdai said...

Great article Soaltee,

Blogdai feels that indian military intervention would most likely take the form of direct action against maoist groups within India. PWG, RIM and others have been supplying nepal's maoists and are their principal lifeline.

I might also take issue with the author's implied "closeness" between U.S. forces and the RNA. Remember, the Yanks have to maintain a balancing act between China and India while not looking like they want to take over. The training of RNA forces has not been as extensive as is implied. Mostly, the U.S. sends M-16's. The U.S. tried to broker a deal to send 10 blackhawk helicopters to Nepal, but the deal was nixed because Deuba's government couldn't find any extra baksheesh in the deal.


At 8:38 AM, June 14, 2005, Anonymous C.K said...

PRACHANDA: A KILLER who craves attention.
A useless, cold blooded bastard who kills innocents..a life taken can never be excused. I wish someone kill these bastards first.
30+ Innocent civilians....what have they done? Doesnt these Maoist bastards have families?Brothers and sisters?

At 11:13 AM, November 20, 2006, Anonymous jamekarol said...

prachanda is the most popular leader of nepal.
In most of nepali's view he is their hope for future .
He is the person who broght the
voice of backward people

At 4:10 PM, November 20, 2006, Blogger blogdai said...

Funny, I've never met a "backward" nepali.

Funnier still, if there were such a thing, i doubt that cold-blooded murder would be their way of express their "voice."

this thread is 18 months old: talk about "backward."



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