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Nepal Update No 11: The Maoists strike with a vengeance

 

Note No. 128                                  10.07.2001

by Dr S. Chandrasekharan

Maoists strike on the eve of King Gyanendra’s birthday: In one of the worst incidents since the eruption of Maoist insurgency, 46 police men were killed in attacks on police posts at three different places in Lamjung, Nuwakot and Gulmi.  The death toll could be more.  More than twelve policemen are also missing.  While Lamjung had experienced serious Maoist activities in the past, the other two places particularly the one at Gulmi must have been a surprise to the authorities.  (An analysis of the incidents may be seen in the Paper 274).  Earlier on July 3rd, 11 policemen on patrol in Nepalgunj were abducted.

A large number of Indian Gurkha pensioners live in Gulmi and the Indian army welfare teams regularly visit Gulmi.  Besides implementing small projects for the welfare of the people, Indian army doctors under all disciplines visit Gulmi to check the health of the pensioners.

Nuwakot is another district which had prospered due to Indian aid.  The two hydroelectric projects, the Trishul and Devighat are located in Nuwakot.  A large number of roads have also been constructed with Indian aid.

The latest second road, built by the Nepalese Army and the Chinese to Tibet from Kathmandu will also pass through Nuwakot.

As a prelude to the nation wide strike called on 12th July this month, the Maoists struck at different places in Kathmandu itself.  An explosive device went off with a loud bang on the street outside the house of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Baluwater adjoining the Prime minister’s residence.  This place besides the Palace is one of the heavily guarded places in Kathmandu.  Another bomb exploded near the Balaju textile mills.

Explosive devices were planted inside effigies and banners in Kathmandu, Patan and Bhaktapur, all close to each other.  The banners had slogans against the King, Girija Prasad Koirala and also against India and U.S.A.

The Maoists by displaying their anti Gyanendra banners and committing incidents on the eve of his birthday have virtually thrown a challenge to the King.  While inaugurating the Parliament sessions, King Gyanendra made it clear that the Army will be used for internal security (Para 23 of his speech).  For the first time after the proclamation of multiparty democracy under a constitutional monarchy in 1990, troops were used on June 2nd near the Palace buildings to avoid any untoward incidents after the Palace massacre.

The Maoists did not fail to exploit the palace massacre as one of conspiracy to remove a "liberal Birendra" from the scene.  Prachanda who elevated himself as chairman recently, said "Terming it a family conflict, planned propaganda of both national and international reactionaries, and the drama seen while performing the last rites clearly prove that the massacre is a result of conspiracy.  To think that King Birendra’s patriotic stand and liberal political ideology were not the reasons for the royal deaths would be very misleading politics.  The late King was not in favour of PM Koirala’s plan to mobilise the army against the people’s war.  P.M.Koirala and the Indian capitalists, hegemonist rulers and other national and fundamental reactionaries did not tolerate late King Birendra’s liberal thought."

The media is full of stories that King Birendra did not want to use the army against his own people and how the King brought in multiparty democracy to Nepal on his own in 1990. They were wrong on both counts.  Constitutional monarchy was forced on King Birendra after a mass movement when many of the Maoists now extolling the virtues of the late King were in forefront in their march towards the Palace and many were killed.  Secondly the Maoists have been allowed to grow more due to the intransigence of the Palace and the internal bickering between the two senior leaders of the Nepali Congress.  In the recent months Koirala had repeatedly requested for the use of the army to stem the growing violence of the Maoists.  Had it not been for the Palace massacre, with the late King  Birendra still rejecting the use of the army, the Maoists would have been emboldened to declare a "people’s republic’ in five of the districts (Rukum, Dolpa, Pyuthan, Jajarkot and Kalikot)where they have complete control

High Level Committee submits report on June 14: The High level committee appointed by the King submitted its report which said that in the course of investigation it had carried out observation of the site, examination of the witnesses and the physical items and materials found near the scene.  Strangely the Committee described the report as "facts and not the conclusions of the Committee that came to light."

The report has been analysed in great detail by the media and is not being gone through. What is surprising is that none in Kathmandu or in other major towns like Pokhara, Biratnagar believe the report to be true.  An eye witness account given in a press conference by Captain Shahi a relative of the late King even while the High level committee was investigating, did not help matters either.  Captain Shahi could not have come out with a detailed eye witness account to the press without approval of the Palace.

While all political parties expressed satisfaction over the report, the Maoists continued with their conspiracy theory.  Prachanda said " The report makes it clear that the incident was the outcome of a serious conspiracy.  This has further increased the significance of our conclusion that an all-party government of patriotic and pro people forces should be formed and steps taken ahead to institutionalise the republican system."

There were fears that there will be another spurt of violence soon after the publication of the report of the High Level Committee.  This did not happen.   

Maoist incidents during the period under review is given in the Appendix.

Appendix:

Date: Incident

May

22 Mukti Prasad Sharma, President of the Pyuthan District Committee of the NC, was abducted by the Maoist insurgents from his house.

25 The insurgents attacked the Pattharkot police post in Sarlahi.  Three policemen were seriously injured.  The insurgents also looted arms and walkie-talkie.

26 A group of about 500 Maoist insurgents captured 14 policemen and looted their arms, and also destroyed a police post in Bhirkot, Tanahu.

The Maoist insurgents looted important documents, including land ownership certificates and loan papers, and Rs 305,900 in cash, from a sub branch office of the Agriculture Developement Bank located in the Athrai area of Terhatum district.  The insurgents also destroyed the sub-branch office through bomb attacks.

27 The insurgents attacked the building housing the Informal Education Project being operated by the United Mission to Nepal in the Dullu VDC of Dailekh, and causes losses worth Rs 6.9 million.

In Jajarkot, the insurgents forced the census enumerators and supervisors to leave the seven VDCs and seized all documents from them.

In Pyuthan, the insurgents abducted a policeman of the Khungri police post.

29 In Dhanagadhi, the Maoist insurgents attacked the Lalbojhi VDC police post, killing three and injuring two policemen in the process.  Ten Maoists were also suspected to have been killed in the incident.

In Syangja, the insurgents looted a sub-branch office of the Rashtriya Banijya Bank at the Chapakot VDC.  They also destroyed office document and distributed furniture and other office goods among the villagers.  Later, they destroyed the local police post.  No policeman was present at the post during the attack.

In Sankhuwasabha, the insurgents seized the house of an NC leader, Man Bahadur Majiya Jimi, at the madi Mulkharke VDC and distributed all his cash and goods among the local people.

30 The Maoist insurgents set fire to the Small Farmers Development Project Office in the Dhenauri VDC of Tulsipur, destroying all office document.

The Maoist insurgents set fire to all documents of the Rural Development Bank Office in the Hekuli VDC.

A group of Maoist insurgents broke into the press of the Chandeshwori Publications (P) Ltd. at Balaju, Kathmandu and damaged press materials and office equipment worth Rs 1 million.

31 In Gauradaha, Birtamod, the insurgents abducted Puranmal Agrawal, a local businessman, and his son, but released them after 72 hours.

June

11 In Banke, the police shot dead a suspected Maoist insurgent on the banks of the Rapti river.

About 60 women Maoist insurgents destroyed a police post at the Rawadolu VDC of Okhaldhunga.

In Lamjung, the Maoist insurgents forced the Chairman of the Ishwaneswor VDC to resign and locked the VDC office.

14 Five policemen were injured in a clash with the Maoist insurgents at the B.P. Nagar police post in the Barchhen VDC of Dhangadhi.  The insurgents surrounded the police post and hurled bombs at it, and decamped with 19 pieces of various kinds of arms.

16 In the night, the insurgents hurled bombs at the Police beat and the Area Police Office at Bhanuchowk in Dharan, injuring two policemen.

In Sunsari, the insurgents set fire to the documents and furniture of the Small Farmers Cooperative Society Ltd. at Chhitaha.

In Bhojpur, the insurgents exploded a bomb at the District Education Office.  The explosion caused minor damages.

The insurgents set ablaze two temporary police post at Korobari and Topgachhi of Jhapa district.  The police post were empty at the time when the incidents occurred.

17 Suspected Maoist insurgents hurled petrol bombs at two local shops of Biratnagar, causing minor damages.

In Morang, the insurgents killed Lahare Chan Biswas of the Siswani Gadari VDC.  They also broke the limbs of several persons, including the VDC Chairman, in the Danguwa VDC.

In Jhurkiya VDC of Morang district, the insurgents looted weapons from three houses.

18 In Jumla, the insurgents abducted three plain-clothes policemen.

In Rolpa, they abducted a local school headmaster.

In the Phurkot VDC of Kalikot, three Maoist insurgents died and four others sustained injuries in the course of a clash with the police.

In Siraha, the police arrested 14 persons, including an eight years old boy, on the charge of being Maoist insurgents.

In Biratnagar, seven persons believed to be close to the NCP (Maoist) were arrested while shouting unrestrained slogans.

In Syangja, the Maoist insurgents destroyed all documents of a local branch office of the Agricultural Development Bank.

21 The insurgents hurled a bomb at a vehicle belonging to the Golchha Organisation in Biratnagar.  No one was injured in the incident.

A hardware store and a cloth store were also attacked by the Maoists in Pathali VDC of Morang district.

22  In Bhandara, Chitwan, the insurgents looted and set fire to the documents of two local bank branches.

23  The Maoist insurgents also looted a branch office of the Agricultural Development Bank and set fire to a police post in Chawara Chautara VDC of Doti.

24  In Jhapa, the insurgents burnt to ashes the Haldibari Police post.

The insurgents attacked and caused damages to a resort and cabin restaurant in Lamatar VDC of Lalitpur.

25 One Maoist insurgents was killed in an encounter with the police in the Maheshpur VDC of Jhapa.

July

3 In the night, Maoists rebels abducted over 11 policemen on patrol in Mid-Western Nepal, near Nepalgunj.  Early reports said one constable was killed and 11 policemen at the Kususm Khas police post were abducted.

Maoist rebels also abducted one police escort and 20 new recruits being brought over for training from Rolpa.

4 An explosive device went off with a loud bang on the streets outside the residence of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court in Baluwatar adjoining the prime minister’s residence.

5 More than a dozen bombs were found dangling from electricity poles across Kathmandu, including in the adjacent ancient towns of Patan and Bhaktapur.  Bomb disposal squads rushed to the sites and dismantled the explosives.

At Patan, the rebels planted nine bombs, all of which were detonated.

Four of the eight devices were in Mangal Bazar in Patan and went off as they were being diffused. Another small explosive was diffused in Bhaktapur.

6  The Maoist rebels launched a series of attacks on police posts in northern and western Nepal, killing 41 policemen.  According to the information provided by the police headquarters in Kathmandu, 22 policemen were killed in a rebel attack at the police station at Bichaur Danda in Lamjung district.  Ten more were slain in the northern district of Nuwakot and nine lost their lives in Gulmi in western Nepal. 

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