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NEPAL UPDATE NO. 9- Mayhem in Rukumkot and Dailekh.

 

Note No.124                                      10.04.2001

by Dr. S. Chandrasekharan

In the period covered in this update, Nepal witnessed the worst ever incident when Maoist insurgents attacked a police post at Thati-Danda in Rukumkot village of Rukum District on April 1, killing 30 Policemen. The attackers numbered more than 500. Twenty-four policemen were taken as hostages. The insurgents took away besides arms and ammunition, communication sets and foodstuffs from the post. Rukum district, as could be seen from the list of incidents has been having regular incidents and yet the Police were unprepared for a major assault. No help could come for the poor policemen though the attack lasted the whole night and a few hours the next morning. Closely following this incident another serious attack took place in Dailekh District where 29 police officers were massacred. Full details are yet to be received on the latter incident.

The attacks have been stepped up probably after the recent convention of NC (Maoists) when Prachand was elevated to the supreme position of Chairman of the party.

When we discussed about Maoist menace two years ago, some analysts felt that we were exaggerating the issue and that most of the insurgent incidents were isolated robberies and had nothing to do with any organised or committed armed groups. They should now read our updates and all the incidents relating to Maoists we had catalogued.

The insurgents have become more daring, more resourceful and have started employing classic guerilla warfare tactics in laying ambushes, in creating a minor incident and then attacking the police parties coming to the rescue and holding open mass meetings for hours in populated places. On February 12, in Syangja the district headquarters, the Maoists conducted an open mass meeting for three hours and then exploded a bomb. Syangja incidentally has a large concentration of Indian ex servicemen.

On February 10, a jeep carrying 11 policemen and a Chinese official of Indrawati Hydro electric project was ambushed and all the occupants were seriously injured..

As part of its efforts to meet the Maoist menace and enhance security to the citizens in affected areas, the government had tabled two ordinances, one relating to the setting up of an armed police force and another on regional administrators. With the parliament proceedings stalled since February, the ordinances are yet to be passed.

The Maoists also held a major convention in the last week of February to elevate Prachand their Secretary as the Chairman and adopted Marxism-Leninism and the "Prachand" path as its guiding principle.

The government on its part, in a fresh initiative made public the names of 294 persons currently in Police custody or serving jail sentences on charges of being involved in terrorist activities, thus fulfilling an important condition of the Maoists to hold talks. The Home ministry in a Press release gave a list of persons still in the custody of the Maoists. Of the 412 persons kidnapped, 255 have returned and 28 have been killed. 131 persons are still in the custody of Maoists. As expected the Maoists not only questioned the figures but said that the government is not serious about talks.

With the government on the defensive and Maoists having a string of successes with ability to strike anywhere, it is doubtful whether any meaningful talks could take place right now.

Bhattarai-Koirala feuds

There appears to be no end to the quarrel between the two senior leaders of the party, Krishna Prasad Bhattarai. What is worse, the supporters of Bhattarai within the party take every opportunity to openly criticise Koirala and are delighted to see Koirala in discomfiture. The latest are the stalled proceedings of the Parliament since February 8. Taking a leaf out of the way the Indian opposition behaves, the opposition in Nepal have not allowed the House to run its regular proceedings for the last two months. And important bills are pending. The issue is about "Laura Air deal," where the CIAA ( Commission for Investigation Into Abuse of Authority) is investigating a case whether irregularities have been committed by the Koirala government. The opposition’s case is similar to the one made by the Congress on Tehelka that Koirala should resign prior to the investigation. Koirala has refused but said that he would quit if he is held guilty either by the Supreme Court or by the CIAA which is reasonable. Unlike in India Koirala is unable to continue with governance as some of his own party men of Bhattarai’s camp are in no mood to cooperate.

The Citizenship Bill

Meanwhile the government committed another faux pax in sending the "Citizenship ( Sixth Amendment) Bill to the King for assent as a finance bill. The bill was an effort to regularise the presence and grant of citizenship to more than 3.5 million people of Indian origin in Terai. The government in its over enthusiasm sent it as a Finance Bill in an apparent bid to force the King to consider the bill within the time limits and not send it back. The King has taken an unusual step to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court on whether or not the Citizenship bill was consistent with the Constitution. There was no constitutional problem involved as any provision in the bill inconsistent with the Constitution ipso facto becomes null and valid. By referring the bill, a constitutional legal tangle has been created and the sufferers are the people of India origin who have been waiting for decades to obtain Nepali Citizenship.

Appendix: Maoist Incidents during the period of the update:

Date : Incident

February

5  Maoist insurgents looted five revolvers from the residents of the Ghang VDC of Tanahu.

7  Three persons, including one policeman, one Maoist and a truck driver, were killed, in the course of police-Maoist clash at Baddichour on the Karnali highway in Surket.

8  Maoist insurgents attacked and seriously injured Rajan Raj Pant, District Chairman of the Nepal Students Union, within the Campus premises in Gorkha.

Some Suspected Maoists Shot dead Bishnu Dev Mahanto, an active NC worker, at the Nuwakhot Parashi VDC in Dhanusha.

In Sindhupalchowk, Maoists kidnapped the forester, the forest office assistant and a peon of the district forest office, looted Rs. 35,000 from them, and set them free after seven hours.

In Bara, Maoist looted Rs. 13,000 at gun point from the employee of the Rural Development Bank.

10  Maoist ambushed a jeep carrying 14 people including 11 policemen, one Chinese official, an explosive expert and the jeep driver along with some explosive meant for the Indrawati Hydro Power Project, in the Sitaini VDC of Sindhupalchowk. In the exchange of fire that followed, all 14 were injured, nine of them seriously.

In the similar police-Maoist clash at Tatopani, one policeman was killed.

Seven policemen were injured in a clash with the Maoists at a forest in the Tribeni VDC of Salyan

In Rautahat, five persons were arrested on the charge of getting involved in Maoist activities.

In Rukum, the police confiscated some arms and Maoist literature from a group of Maoists at the Sankh VDC.

12  In Accham, two minors were killed and nine others seriously injured when a bomb planted by Maoists went off near the district prison at Mangal Bazar.

Maoist insurgents attacked the Santada Police Post and the Ilaka Police Office of the same district, following which, the two sides exchanged fire.

In Sindhulimadi, district headquarters of Sindhuli, Maoist insurgents exploded powerful bombs in several places.

In Daiji VDC of Mahendranagar, Maoist insurgents ransacked the office of the Small Farmers Cooperative Union and looted cash, bonds and landownership certificates.

In Syangja, the rebels organised a three- hour mass meeting and also exploded a powerful bomb.

14  Maoist insurgents set ablaze the office of the forest range post at the Sadepani VDC in Kailali district.

In Gorkha, two Maoist insurgents were killed in a police-Maoist exchange of fire at the Baguwa VDC.

In a similar encounter at Damak in Jhapa, one policeman and two Maoist were injured.

15  Maoist insurgents abducted the Secretary of the Syamgha VDC of Tanahu.

17  Six policemen were injured in a Maoist ambush at the Dald VDC of Solukhumbu.

One policeman died and two others sustained serious injuries when they were caught in a booby-trap laid by Maoist insurgents in Lamidanda, Dolakha.

Maoist insurgents set fire to a temporary police post at the Govindpur VDC and another at the Urlabari VDC of Morang.

18  In Baglung, Maoist insurgents looted the camera and important documents from a photographers team taking photographs for the voters identity card in constituency-1.

19  Maoist insurgents shot and seriously injured the Chairman of the Ajgaibi VDC of Rautahat.

One person was killed and four others seriously injured in an attack by Maoist insurgents at Ratipur in Kailali district.

21 One of the persons injured in a Maoist attack at Ratipur (Ramsikhar Jhala VDC) of Kailali district on February 19 died while undergoing treatment in Kathmandu.

Yuva Raj Kattel, a UML worker and Chairman of the Forest Users Federation of Jhapa, who was abducted by the Maoist insurgents from the Bahunidangi VDC on February 19, was released four days later.

22  Maoist insurgents burnt the documents of the of the Small Farmers Development Project in the Dillichaur VDC of Jumla, and also looted the housing materials procured by the Project to build a community building.

Two policemen were killed and four injured in an ambush laid by Maoists at the Belghari VDC of Sindhuli.

In the Ramari Kharjhala VDC of Kailali district, about 50 Maoist insurgents beat to death two persons and injured five others by attacking the house of a local resident.

23  Maoist insurgents looted guns and cash from the houses of several persons, including Mps Khemraj Mayalu and N. P.Saud,at the Bagrakot VDC of Dadeldhura.

24  In Dailekh, Maoist insurgents abducted Dirgha Bahadur Sahi , a central member of the Forum of People of People’s War Affected Area’s

25  One policeman was killed and four others injured seriously at the Makaisingh VDC of Gorkha.

In Bhojpur, Maoist insurgents set fire to a police post in the Pyauli VDC.

Maoist insurgents shot dead Tika Raj Aaran, an NC leader, in the Purano Gaon VDC of Ramechhap. Three policemen were injured in a Maoist ambush while on their way to the site of the incident.

27  Maoist insurgents attacked and seriously injured Krishna Bahadur Bagale Thapa, ex-Chairman of the Takukot VDC of Gorkha.

March

2  In Rautahat, Mahesh Yadav, an NC worker, was seriously injured when he was shot by the Maoist insurgents at Katani.

3  The police confiscated large quantities of arms and ammunition, as well as some Maoist- related documents, from the house of one Gorakh Giri at the Shipkhana VDC of Kalikot.

Maoist insurgents ransacked the police and burnt the documents of the Navachandika Youth Club of the Sundaradevi VDC in Nuwakot.

In Rukum, a 11-year old boy was killed and two others were injured when a bomb left behind by Maoist exploded at the Chhewang VDC.

4  Two Maoist insurgents were killed in the course of a clash with the police at the Lalu VDC of Kalikot.

In Sindhulimadi, Tika Shrestha, a suspected Maoist activist, was rearrested immediately after his release on completion of two years of imprisonment on charges of being involved in terrorist activities.

In Dhankuta, the Appellate Court ordered the release of Udaya Bahudur Basnet, who was being detained since January 27 on suspicion of being a Maoist activist.

7  The police filed a case at the Surket District Court against 29 Maoist activists, including Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, on charges of murder.

Maoist insurgents severely beat up two NC supporters, including a 82 year old man, at the Dhupu VDC in Kandbari on charges of assisting of police in the murder of a Maoist activist about three years ago.

In Rukum, Maoist insurgents released a teacher whom they had abducted about two months ago.

8  In Rolpa, Maoist insurgents looted survey equipment worth Rs. 700,000 meant for use in the survey of a local road planned to be constructed under the basket fund program being implemented in Maoist affected districts.

9  Maoist insurgents ransacked and set fire to four government offices at the Dandagaon VDC of Dhankuta.

13  In the night, about 500 Maoist insurgents set fire to the houses of 50 families in Ward no. 7 of the Malhaniya VDC of Saptari district. They also looted about 280 quintals of rice.

16  Dirgha Bahudur Shahi, central member of the Forum of People Affected From the People’s War, was found murdered at a jungle near the Jagannath VDC of Dailekh, who was abducted by the Maoists about a month ago.

18  The police raided a Maoist cultural function organised at Anekot in Kabhrepalchok district and arrested 65 persons, including Maoist workers and supporters, and the local people.

Two policemen were injured in an exchange of fire between the police and the Maoist at Manedanda of Anekot.

21  Maoist insurgents abducted four employees of the District Forest Office of Jajarkot.

In Rautahat, the police arrested Kumari Moktan, a Maoist activist, under the Public Security Act. 

25  In Rukum Maoist insurgents looted the house of Khem Man Khadka, a UML leader and Chairman of the Rukum District Development Committee.

In Jhapa, Maoist insurgents manhandled the rangers, forest guards and forest watchers of the Rajgarhi, Jalthal and Prithvinagar range posts of the district Forest Office.

26  In Rolpa, Maoist insurgents abducted Rudramani Subedi, a DDC member and coordinator of the Holeri-Sworgadwari road project being built under Basket Fund Program.

27  Maoist insurgents abducted a Police Inspector Madhav Khatri from the bus bound for Ghorahi from Rolpa.

In Jajarkot, Maoist insurgents abducted the headmaster and five students of a local school.

Rudramani Subedi, a UML leader of Rolpa, who was abducted by Maoist insurgents on March 23, was released.

29  The Maoist insurgents attacked and seriously injured Balabhadra Khanal, an NC leader and member of the Tanahu unit of the Nepal Farmers Association, at the Jamune VDC of Tanahu.

30  A policeman was killed and another injured in an attack by some Maoist insurgent sat the police station located at the Pourai VDC of Rautahat

In Jajarkot, the Maoist insurgents abducted Jaya Bahudur Rawal, a school teacher of the Laha VDC.

31 In Parbat, the Maoist insurgents exploded a bomb at the District Land Office.

April

1 In the night, thirty policemen were killed, 14 injured and about two dozen abducted by the Maoist insurgents by attacking a police post at Thati-Danda in Rukumkot village of Rukum District. The 500 and odd Maoist insurgents who had launched the attack also took away arms and ammunition, communication sets and 30 quintals of rice from the police post.

Five policemen were killed and 13 injured in another Maoist attack at a police post at Mainapokhari in the Kavre VDC of Dolakha district. Three insurgents were also killed in the incident.

2  In the night, the Maoist insurgents attacked the Mujhung Police post in Palpa and killed two and injured nine policemen. Eight members of police team heading towards Mujhang for help died on the spot and 10 others sustained serious injuries when the vehicle they were travelling in met with an accident at Siddhababa of the Dhoran VDC in Palpa.

At Dharke in Dhading, the Maoists attacked a police post on the same night. The 15 policemen at the post exchanged fire for about three hours, but had to give up after they ran out of ammunition. The Maoist then vandalized the post, looted arms and ammunition and destroyed the post.

At Duhabi in Sunsari, the Maoists attacked and injured the owner and the manager of the Pragati Textiles.

In Kathmandu, a bomb exploded at the main gate of the house of ex-IGP Achyut Krishna Kharel at Dhumbarah, but caused no serious damages.

A similar explosion at the cowshed of NC-MP Lekhnath Neupane in Dadhikot, Bhaktapur, also did not cause serious damages.

3  In Pokhara, the Maoist insurgents looted some cash and documents from the Small Farmers Development Project Office in the Lekhnath Municipality.

A bomb explosion at the office of the Agriculture Development Bank in Prithvi chowk caused minor damages.

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