Nepal: ‘Disqualified’ PLA combatants lay siege to UCPN-M headquarters

[Revolutionary soldiers of the now-disbanded–(mission not accomplished)– People’s Liberation Army, continue to loudly refuse to quietly go away and disappear. — Frontlines ed.]

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HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

Say they will stay put until party addresses their woes

KATHMANDU, 29 November 2012: Hundreds of ‘disqualified’ PLA fighters have been laying siege to Unified CPN-Maoist headquarters in Paris Danda, Koteshwor, since yesterday, demanding that the party address their concerns at the earliest. Security personnel in huge numbers have been deployed to avert any confrontation and damage to the party office.

The ‘disqualified’ fighters, who prefer to call themselves ‘unverified’, today claimed that they have taken the party headquarters under their control. Lenin Bista, who is leading the ‘disqualified’ fighters, said the combatants were ‘not verified in a proper way’ and that they were forced to leave cantonments with only bus fares in their pockets.

The move is the latest one in their series of protests the disqualified fighters have organised in the past. They said the party turned a blind eye to their plight and concerns despite their pressure campaigns several times.

UCPN-M Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai-led government, after several rounds of talks with them, had decided to allocate Rs 600 million in order to give Rs 2 lakh to each of the disqualified fighters. The move was challenged in the Supreme Court and the court in the first week of November issued a stay order, forcing the government to hold back.

Bista claimed that as many as 200 former combatants have been staying put outside the party headquarters while some 150 are on the office premises (inside the gate). The fighters had yesterday padlocked the party office but unlocked it at 3:00pm today following a mutual understanding with party leadership. “We have pitched tents outside the headquarters and surviving on beaten rice and dalmoth (a ready made snack made of golden gram or red lentils). This is the survival technique the party taught us during the time of war,” said Bista. Continue reading

Nepal: former Liberation fighters’ disappointing prospects in Nepal Army integration

[Years after the abandonment of the revolutionary people’s war, in exchange for false promises, the illusory “gains” have proven empty and are losing their remaining adherents. — Frontlines ed.]

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The Kathmandu Post:  “993 combatants choose integration in 3 days”

KATHMANDU, SEP 08 – Altogether 993 former Maoist combatants have filled up forms for integration in the seven main cantonments by Saturday. The selection process began on Thursday.
Many of the 3,123 ex-fighters, who were initially waiting for integration, have complained that the age criteria set by the Special Committee forced them to change their priority. The Special Committee has said only those combatants who were born before May 24, 1988 are eligible to opt for integration.
So far, 202 ex-combatants, including 12 females, have filled up integration forms at the Third Division based in Chitwan. Similarly, 171 have expressed desire to go for integration at the Fourth Division, Nawalparasi; 234 at the Sixth Division, Surkhet; 106 at the Fifth Division Rolpa; 99 at the Seventh Division, Kailali; 82 at the First Division, Ilam and 99 at the Second Division, Sindhuli, according to the Directorate of Public Relations of the Nepal Army. The former fighters willing to join in lower ranks can fill up integration forms until September 30 and the result will be announced on October 7, according to the Special Committee Secretariat. The selection for commanders eyeing the officer ranks in the Nepal Army will start on September 12 in Chitwan. Continue reading

Nepal: Prachanda, Bhattarai, and the end of the People’s Liberation Army

[With the orders by Bhattarai and Prachanda for the Nepalese Army to move in, and seize all 15 PLA cantonments and all the containers of PLA arms, the formal end of the PLA has arrived.  Will this mark the end of Part One of the PLA–with Part Two yet to come in a reconstituted form–or will other forms of the people’s struggle and revolutionary war be found in coming months–is yet to be seen.  This bourgeois Indian account of the PLA’s endgame tells only one side of the story.  —  Frontlines ed.]

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by Yubaraj Ghimire, Indian Express, Saturday, April 14 2012

With Maoist troops gone, Prachanda and Bhattarai lose bargaining power

Maoists have either resisted the demand or backed out of the promise to have their private army dismantled and to hand over their arms to the state. But on April 10, things moved at an unexpected speed in Nepal. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai told the high-powered Army Integration Special Committee that the Nepal army was going to move into all 15 Maoist cantonments, take control and seize the the weapon containers lying there.

Fifteen teams of the technical committee of the AISC had spread out to these camps in order to have over 9,000 combatants vacate them by the evening of April 12. A maximum of 6,500 were to be given the option to join the Nepal army, provided they fulfilled the “relaxed” eligibility criteria. The rest were to be given the option of going into “voluntary retirement”. The army was to take control of the empty camps after that.

Lieutenant General (retd) Balananda Sharma, who heads the AISC’s technical cell, informed Bhattarai from the main cantonment at Shaktikhor that the prevailing tensions, and the intermittent clashes between rival groups of combatants, might take an ugly turn and imperil the rehabilitation and integration process. Almost confirming Sharma’s fears, seven divisional commanders of the Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) issued an unusual warning to Prachanda, chief of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), in Kathmandu on the same day: “neither you nor we are safe .” Prachanda did not take the warning lightly, and advised “Comrade Prime Minister” to rush in the Nepal Army. Reports from Shaktikhor suggested that combatants loyal to the party’s Senior Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidhya Kiran and opposed to the integration process had tried to snatch the weapon containers. Continue reading

Nepal: A “party within the party” for revolutionary Maoists

[The line struggle within the UCPN(M) between the “people’s revolution” faction vs. the “bourgeois republic” faction has now led to separate organized forms within the overall-dysfunctional party.  While debates have led to organizing separate, and opposing, programmatic paths, the issues remain largely unsettled.  Chief among them seem to be: to re-ignite and carry forward the people’s revolutionary armed struggle, OR to squander the remaining (disarmed) PLA forces on ever-shrinking plans for integrating PLA fighters and officers into the Nepalese Army; the question of advancing land reform of the peasants against the feudal landlords, OR to permit the return of lands and privileges to the feudal system in the countryside; whether to advance the struggle for New Democracy with revolutionary communist leadership, OR to retreat further into the opportunist swamp of the bourgeois republic and neo-colonial/comprador relations.  Revolutionary politics once shaped and crystallized the mission of the people’s war; then, with the abandonment of the PW in 2006, the questions became confined to inner-party struggle.  Now the questions and debates and actions are returning to the streets and villages.  The revolutionary Nepalese people are looking to leaders like Kiran, Gajurel, and Thapa to step forward, and lead. — Frontlines ed.]

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Mohan Baidya "Kiran"

Nepal’s Maoist leader fires a salvo at his own party government

by Prashant Jha, The Hindu, Kathmandu, March 26, 2012

People are being betrayed on the Constitution, says Kiran

Senior vice-chairperson of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Mohan Vaidya ‘Kiran’ has said if the integration of the People’s Liberation Army is not “respectable” and a People’s Federal Republican Constitution is not drafted, the Nepali people will have a “right to revolt” again. In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, Mr. Kiran reiterated the demand for the resignation of the government, led by his party colleague Dr. Baburam Bhattarai.

Saying there was an ongoing battle in the party between “right-wing revisionism” and “revolutionary Marxism”, Mr. Kiran said: “We are not against peace and Constitution. But the debate is if our party has made anti-people compromises.”

Hari Bol Gajurel

‘Mistakes’

Mr. Kiran said while the goal of a “democratic republic” — set by the Maoist party in 2005, which led to an alliance with other parties against the monarchy — was tactically right, it could not solve people’s problems and the party should have aimed to establish a “People’s Federal Republic” or a “People’s Democracy’. Asked if this meant one-party rule by the Maoists, he said: “Parliamentary democracy is also class hegemony where five per cent rule over 95 per cent. In people’s dictatorship, it would be the other way round.”

Pointing to mistakes committed by the party, the Maoist ideologue said that during the war they had created an “army, base areas, people’s governments”.

The base areas were opened up and the parallel governments dissolved soon after the Maoists entered open politics in 2006. Mr. Kiran claimed this was wrong and not in favour of the people whose issues Maoists had raised.

Ram Bahadur Thapa 'Badal'

“On integration of our army, the party stand was it should be collective and armed integration of combatants with the chain of command of PLA intact. But what is happening now is disarmament. A national security policy should have been framed first, but we did not pay attention to that either,” he said.

To have a people’s Constitution, Mr Kiran said, there be provisions for “ethnic autonomy; right to self determination; special rights for Dalits, Muslims and women; right to food, education, health and work; revolutionary land reform; and a proportional representation based electoral system”. “But we fear that Nepali people are being betrayed on the Constitution as well.”

Mr. Kiran also reiterated the demand for the government’s resignation. Accusing it of “surrendering to India”, he said: “It signed the Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement [BIPPA] with India without consulting anyone. We had opposed unequal treaties in the past. But the Energy Minister of this government, from our own party, went and approved the Pancheshwor agreement in Delhi recently. They are now talking of a DPR [detailed project report] for the Kosi high dam, despite popular opposition.”

Party unity

The political rift within the Maoists has translated into operational disunity, with the establishment faction of chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai calling meetings of their own loyalists while Mr. Kiran’s dissident faction holds parallel meetings. Separate committees have been set up at all levels, separate offices are used as a base and independent programmes are held.

Admitting that it was an “unnatural” situation, Mr. Kiran called it a situation of a “party within a party, organisation within an organisation”. Asked if the party would split, he said: “That depends on the principles, political roadmap, tactics and strategy which the party will undertake. There is a complex two-line struggle at present. Can we take that forward and resolve it positively? Revolutionaries don’t split; they revolt. If the leadership turns opportunist; a federal, anti-imperial, pro people’s Constitution is not made; and if PLA is not respectfully integrated, Nepali people have the right to revolt.” Continue reading

Nepal: Disqualified fighters occupy party office

Disqualified fighters wage war against party —  Capture Maoist offices in Surkhet ; Say their protest in last stage

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE,  2012-03-22

Disqualified Maoist fighters protesting

SURKHET: Maoist PLA fighters, who were disqualified during a verification carried out by the United Nations Mission in Nepal, today besieged offices of Maoist district committee and Bheri Karnali state committee in Surkhet to protest party leadership’s deliberate neglect of duty to pay attention to their plight.

About three dozen disqualified fighters reached the offices at around 3pm today and barred party leaders and cadres from entering. “We will not allow anyone to enter the office until our demands are met,” said Naradmani Poudel, one of the disqualified fighters. “These offices belong to us from today and anyone trying to enter forcefully will face the consequences.” The disqualified combatants also seized a car and two motorcycles belonging to Dashrathpur-based 6th Division Cantonment.

“We held talks with the party, submitted memorandum and took other peaceful measures to draw the party’s attention to our plight, but all went in vain. So, we are now in the final stage of our protest,” said Poudel. “The party coaxed us into joining the force when it needed us during the war, and now it is trying to welsh on its commitment. For us, the war is not over, and we are fighting for our rights,” added Poudel as he bristled with anger.

Khadga Bahadur Ramtel, secretary of the disqualified fighters for the mid-western region said, “The party made false promises and ruined our future. It’s high time we launched another war against the party to make it guarantee our future.” He warned of intensifying protests if the party did not ensure basic facilities to them. Continue reading

The Announcement that launched The People’s War in Nepal, 17 Years Ago Today

March Along the Path of People’s War!

(thenextfront.com, a revolutionary Maoist website in Nepal, has posted the first announcement of the People’s War (from the time of its launching 17 years ago).  The Next front commented about the challenge this posting gives to those who aim to continue the struggle, despite–and against–the revisionists who have abandoned the people’s war:  “This time we are posting the historic leaflet, which was distributed in hundreds of thousands of copies all over the country at the time of the great initiation of the People’s War on 13 February 1996. Since then 17 years have passed. The mission of People’s War has not fulfilled. The revisionists abandoned the People’s War. They have turned themselves into the true renegades of 21st  century. Now they are in practice of bourgeois democracy. But the class struggle is not ended, the People’s War is going on. In fact, the new phase of People’s War has begun. Revolutionaries have raised the flag of revolution . Dear Comrades ! let us march Along the Path of People’s War! It is Right to Rebel! Red salute ! to our great Martyrs.”)

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Militia members and villagers in Rukum District, Western Nepal. (photo by Li Onesto)

March Along the Path of People’s War to Smash the Reactionary State and Establish a New Democratic State!
Dear Masses of the People,
Today Nepalese society is in a state of grave crisis, whether economically, politically, culturally or otherwise. Where has the present state that has been harping about development and construction for the last fifty years landed Nepal economically? It has landed Nepal in the position of second poorest country in the world after Ethiopia. This state that does not manufacture even a needle in the name of a self-reliant and national economy has handed over the whole economy of the country to a dozen families of the foreign comprador and bureaucrat capitalists. Whereas this handful of plunderers have become billionaires, the real masters of this country and the national property, the toiling masses of Nepal, are forced to eke out a meager existence of deprivation and poverty. The sons and daughters of Nepalese peasants and workers reeling under unemployment and poverty are compelled to lead a miserable life of dishonour and neglect in India and different parts of the world to earn their daily bread. After piling a massive foreign debt burden even on the future generations of the Nepalese people, the feudal and comprador and bureaucrat capitalist rulers are making merry on it. In the name of privatization and liberalization under the guidance and for the benefit of the foreign capitalists, the process of mortgaging the whole country to the comprador and bureaucrat capitalists is now in full swing.

Maoist militia women in Rolpa district, Western Nepal (photo by Li Onesto)

The burden of this economic degradation has to be basically borne by the peasantry, which constitute ninety percent of the population. That every new government formed under this state structure pushes and will push the country economically into a further state of bankruptcy has been historically verified.

To maintain hegemony of one religion (Hinduism), language (Nepalese) and nationality (Khas), this state has for centuries exercised discrimination, exploitation and oppression against other religions, languages and nationalities and has conspired to fragment the force of national unity that is vital for the proper development and security of the country. On the contrary, it has been prostrating itself before the foreign imperialists and expansionists and repeatedly mortgaging Nepal’s national honour and sovereignty to them. The present state has been shamelessly permitting the foreign plunderers to grab the natural water resources of Nepal and to trample upon our motherland. If this process is allowed to continue in the future, the patriotic, conscious and self-esteemed Nepalese have no doubt that the very existence of Nepal will be in jeopardy.
The present state has declared war against the development of the national culture of the Nepalese people by flooding the country with corrupt, licentious and distorted imperialist culture. The feudal and imperialist forces are doing their utmost to replace the democratic cultural values and ideals with Freudian, nihilist and anarchic values. This is a sequel to the conspiracy of the reactionary classes to corrupt the people culturally and preserve their own heaven of plunder. This corrupt cultural value is no less responsible for the burgeoning of drug-trafficking, smuggling, thievery, black marketeering, looting, murder and rape in the society today.
Within this moribund state structure, a coalition government of Panchas (royalists) and Nepali Congress, defamed in Nepalese history for their anti-national and genocidal deeds, is ruling right now. This government has forced not only the peasants and workers of Nepal but also the people of different categories and professions to live in a state of scarcity, injustice and terror. Whereas this state has been treating women as second-class citizens for a long time, now it has intensified rape, trafficking and the process of commoditization through advertisements against them. The whole educational system is tuned to produce slaves for this state and there is rampant anarchy in it. Thus, be they workers, peasants, women, teachers, students, small traders, lower-ranking civil servants, doctors, professors, or people of different classes including the national bourgeoisie, all are victims of this state of feudals and comprador and bureaucrat capitalists. Except for radical change in all spheres, any possibility of reform has now become a mere chimera. Continue reading

Nepal: As the People’s Liberation Army is disbanded, what happens to the warriors?

 [Now, in the last stage of disbanding the Nepalese People’s Liberation Army–five years after the Maoist party abandoned the revolutionary armed struggle and fighters were placed in demilitarized camps–the majority of these people’s warriors have been enticed to accept cash payments for “retirement”, while a minority are being brought into the reactionary Nepali army on an individual, de-politicized basis.  And nearly none have accepted the option of “rehabilitation” (education, job training), as previously “rehabilitated” fighters are deeply critical of the program.  —  Frontlines ed.] ————————

More combatants likely to opt for voluntary retirement

KIRAN CHAPAGAIN, MYREPUBLICA.com

KATHMANDU, Nov 21: With categorization of around 2,000 combatants by Sunday, a few trends relating to the management of ex-Maoist fighters have emerged: majority of ex-Maoist combatants are likely to opt for voluntary retirement, around forty percent for integration and an insignificant number will go for rehabilitation packages.

“Altogether 1,941 combatants, including 1,577 males and 364 females, have been categorized by Sunday. A majority of the categorized combatants — close to 60 percent — have opted for voluntary retirement while around 40 percent have chosen integration,” said Balananda Sharma, coordinator of the secretariat under the Special Committee when asked about the general trend in the ongoing categorization process.

Preliminary data also shows that only a very nominal number of combatants are likely to opt for rehabilitation packages that include vocational training and education. Of the 497 combatants verified over the last two days in the Shaktikhor cantonment, only around 20 combatants have opted for rehabilitation package. Even these combatants have sought time for further consultations and are likely to review their decisions, said Sharma from Chitwan where he is leading a categorization team.

People involved in the verification say a very small number of combatants are opting for rehabilitation packages mainly because of the past experience of rehabilitation of disqualified combatants and lack of trust over implementation of the promised rehabilitation schemes.

“Everyone says they were not happy with the rehabilitation of the disqualified combatants by the UN,” said Sharma. Continue reading