Thursday, January 21, 2010

Nepal peace process close to standstill due to tensions and mistrust, UN warns

The peace process that ended a 10-year civil war in Nepal has remained largely stalled over the past three months, with tensions and mistrust between Maoists, the Government and army threatening its very survival, according to a new United Nations report issued today. “The major disagreements that have brought the peace process close to a standstill remain unresolved, increasing the risk of its collapse,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says in the report to the Security Council, referring to the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist army personnel and the democratization of the Nepal Army, the main combatants in the war, and the scope of presidential authority that replaced the monarchy.

“Positions have hardened at the opposing ends of the political spectrum, which has seriously eroded the common middle ground that had, from the outset, defined the peace process and remained its driving strength. There is a growing and worrying risk of the political discourse being dominated by extreme voices and the focus shifting away from the peaceful and democratic path,” he adds, calling on all parties to overcome their differences.

The report focuses on the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) set up at the request of the Government of Nepal in 2007 to monitor the management of arms and armed personnel of the former Royal Nepal Army and its foe, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which is now the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M). Its present mandate ends on 23 January, and Mr. Ban recommends that the Council renew it should the Government so request.

“The country is now entering a crucial period,” he writes. “The coming few months before the May 2010 date for the promulgation of a new constitution are critical for the successful conclusion of the peace process. While it is my desire to see UNMIN complete its mandated tasks and end its presence as soon as possible… withdrawing the Mission at this particular time of heightened tension would not be the wisest course.”

PM Nepal holds discussion with Indian Army Chief

reposted from

Visiting Indian Army Chief Gen. Deepak Kapoor met Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Thursday.

During the meeting that lasted nearly 30 minutes at the PM’s office in Singhadurbar, the duo understandably discussed Indian military aid to Nepal and mutual benefits, among other issues.

However, Gen. Kapoor did not responed to the media after the meeting.

President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, who is also the supreme commander of Nepal Army (NA) will confer the title of Honorary General of NA to Gen. Kapoor amid a function at Seetal Niwas later today.

Earlier today, the Indian army chief visited the UN peacekeeping operation training centre at Panchkhal, Kavre district.

Gen. Kapoor, who arrived here on a four-day goodwill visit to Nepal, is flying back home Friday.

Changing govt is not our objective: Dr. Bhattarai

reposted from
UCPN (Maoist) Vice-chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai said on Thursday that people's problems cannot be resolved just by changing the government.

Dr. Bhattarai arrived in Myagdi this morning in connection with attending the mass meeting of the Maoists organised at Beni today under its fourth-phase movement.

Speaking at a meeting and interaction with employees organised by Nepal National Employees' Federation district organisation committee, Dr. Bhattarai said his party is working to change the state power itself rather than changing the government with the realisation that the problems of poverty, injustice and oppression could be resolved only with the change of the system of governance.

"Our objective is to establish the people's federal democratic republic," he said.

He also called on the employees to shun the traditional and conservative thinking and brace up for building new Nepal.

UCPN-Maoist develops a new Tactical-Line

Reposted from The Red Star and Revolution in South Asia.

UCPN-Maoist has just declared its 4th phase struggle on Tuesday though it had already announced the out-line of the struggle when the party was concluding its 3rd phase struggle in Baneshwar, Kathmandu on 19 December. The party has developed its tactics according to the created new political situation. Party has seriously taken decisions  as  according to the  latest analysis of the developed  political situation.

According to the party CC decision, the contradiction has been changed. The question of nationality has been in the centre and the main contradiction is decided to be in between the interference of Imperialism (specially the Indian expansionism) through the puppets and the remnants of feudalism, and the Nepalese people. This has caused to develop the tactical line of the UCPN-Maoist.

According to the change in the contradiction, the issue of the national independency has been the principal agenda in the further struggle. People’s Federal Republic has been a tactical goal.

The programmes declared for the further struggles are as follows:

Wall-painting, pumphleting, postering and leaflet distribution will be from December 25 to January 9 (already announced). Broader interaction programme will be held from January 5 to January 10. The following senior-most leaders will attain the interaction programmes holding in the following cities. According to it, Com. Prachanda will attain in Kathmandu on January 7, Com. Dev Gurung in Pokhara on January 8, Com. Baburam Bhattarai in Biratnagar on January 9, Com. Lilamani Pokharel in Dhangarhi on January 9, CP Gajural in Janakpur on 9, Narayan Kaji Shreshtha in Nepalgunj on January 10 and Ram Bahadur Thapa will attain in Butwal on January 10.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Public Event in Toronto: 7:30pm, Monday, Jan 11

The recently-formed Lal Salaam Canada-Nepal Solidarity Group has been able to hastily arrange a public meeting with two experts who will be able to inform us about the current situation of the revolution in Nepal. We'd love for lots and lots of people to attend, so spread this around. It's a really unique opportunity to sit down with peope with first-hand in-depth knowledge of the complexities of this extremely important political movement, one which is on the verge of country-wide power.

We will be meeting at 7:30, Monday, Jan 11 at Central Neighbourhood House, 349 Ontario St. Our two guests will be Niranjan Champagain, a Nepali artist who heads the Progressive Writer's Group in Nepal, and Mary Deschene, an anthropologist specializing in Nepal who has worked in the country since 1983.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Lal Salaam Interviews Student Leader Gopal Neupane

Lal Salaam: Tell us about your student organization

Neupane: Our student organization [All Nepal National Independent Students – Revolutionary - ed.]  has people from all over Nepal.  First of all there is central committee, then state committee, then district committee, high school, University committee, campuses and college.  Now we are working especially in the student movement gathering nationalist, patriotic, leftist and revolutionary students in Nepal.  We are the first, largest student organization here in Nepal.  Last time 3 students in elections were elected here in Nepal and we get the largest…

This is our organizing  structure here in Nepal, from high schooIt is not necessary that all our organizing members are party members, but leaders automatically are party members.  I am part of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).

We are fighting for free education, scientific education and education for all.  One example, 20% of children have never gone to school… never!  They never even entered the school area, school compound.  Remaining students enter high school and from class 1 to class 12, only 6% of students pass… only 6% regularly graduate.  This is a very dangerous situation here in Nepal.  This is why… because the education is privatized.  They cannot to send the children to the schools, they cannot afford to pay the fees… this is the main cause why the students don’t go to high school now.  What we say is that our students organize strongly, high school education is a fundamental right for children, in the interim Constitution they wrote that the school education is a fundamental right.  But they only wrote, this is not in practice.  We condemn, we argue and we are pressuring the state and the government to please provide the education for all people, for all children, this is a fundamental right.

In 2006 we completed our 17th National Conference.  Now we are going to organize the 18th National Conference, and every National conference we elect a new body, a new leadership.  This time we postponed the 18th National Conference because the National politics is very hard in this situation, our party leaders requested to us please postpone this National Conference, because if it is not postponed this time, we are all in our ceremonies, and this is the time, November 20 when the National Conference.  So I invite you to the 18th National Conference, I will send letter to your organizers.  I think this will be held after 4, 5 or 6 months, because our leaders told us at the time our party are going to organize our Party Congress, 5th Party Congress.  That’s why we postpone our 18th National Conference.  If this will be held in the next 2 or 3 months.

LS: Can you talk about the situation right now with the University?  I know they increased 10 fold the tuition fees and there was a big protest.   Also if you can talk about the relationship between the student movement and the peoples movement?

Lal Salaam Interviews Suresh Kumar

Suresh Kumar is a member of the Constituent Assembly.

Lal Salaam:  Please give us a brief overview of the people’s movement and party’s policies, demands and proposals right now and what they have been since the first stage of the revolutionary process.

Kumar: As you may know we have waged revolutionary war, conducted for 10 years successfully.  It was basically responsible for the overthrow of a 240 year old Sahar dynasty monarchy.  They had attempted their best to quell the peoples war, but they failed.  Later the contradiction inside [the ruling class] became so intensified that the parliamentary parties had to make negotiations and alliance with the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), which culminated in a 12 point agreement.  Because of that we postponed the peoples war and began the peace process.  

After so many hurdles there was the elections to the Constituent Assembly.  Contrary to the expectations of all the reactionaries inside and outside Nepal, our party emerged as the largest party having more than one third of the positions in the CA. 

4 months later, our Party led the government.  Our Chairman, Comrade Prachanda, was the first elected Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Nepal, but again there are so many obstacles, many hurdles created on the way and in the particular case of the then Nepalese Army Chief Katawal our Party resigned.   In fact our party had taken action against him because he had violated many norms and values of the comprehensive peace accord and did not carry out the directions given by the elected peoples’ government.  

Then government led by Prachanda was fired from the job but all the other parliamentary parties with the help and support of Indian expansionist ruling classes and US Imperialist ruling classes they instigated him on the same post because there are 2 kinds of state power, so our party resigned, our party quit government and is now in the opposition.  So since then our party has been demanding that the very step that the President took was unconstitutional and our party  has demanded it must be corrected, it must be withdrawn, but also civilian supremacy must be there.  Also the very sovereignty and national integrity of Nepal are in danger.  So these questions we have been raising right now and we are in the struggle since then, that is about – for 6 or 7 months. 

Until now 2 stages of the struggle have been successfully completed, the culmination of which was the encircling of the administrative headquarters of Nepal.  Negotiations are also going on there but there is less likelihood that consensus will be reached.  If no negotiation is done, we will go to the people again.  The 3rd stage of the movement will start and that will be, we hope, decisive.  That will topple this puppet government of Indian expansionism and US imperialism.  Then, let’s see what happens now… 

LS: Currently you are part of the CA, can you please speak about the process of drafting a new constitution, some of the positive aspects and some of the most challenging aspects.

Nepal promotes army officer with tarnished human rights record

reposted from

Kathmandu: Ignoring calls by the UN and human rights organisations at home and abroad, Nepal’s communist-led government Thursday decided to promote a senior army officer under whose command soldiers ran a torture camp during the Maoist insurgency and executed dozens of people secretly detained under the suspicion they helped the guerrillas.

With Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and his council of ministers approving the promotion of Major General Toran Jung Bahadur Singh to the post of lieutenant-general, the army officer with the blotted rights record is now eligible to become the next chief of Nepal Army when the present head, Gen Chhatraman Singh Gurung, retires. This month, when Gen Gurung visited India on the invitation of Indian Army chief Gen Deepak Kapoor, Singh was appointed as officiating chief of the Nepal Army.

The promotion was fiercely resisted by Nepal’s human rights organisations as well as international agencies like the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal.

Three years ago, an investigation by the OHCHR revealed that a battalion commanded by Singh ran a secret detention camp in the heart of the capital during 2003-04 where people suspected to be Maoists or sympathisers, were kept blindfolded and manacled and severely tortured.  Over 40 of the prisoners still remain untraced and are believed to have been killed and buried in mass graves by the army.
The UN rights agency said that though Singh was not directly involved in the torture and killings, he still remained responsible for the behaviour of his troops since he headed the chain of command.
Though the prime minister tried to block the promotion, he was armtwisted by Defence Minister Bidya Bhandari and a section of his own party as well as other ruling partners.

Singh’s promotion will tarnish the image of the Nepal government and show it up as being unable to end the impunity enjoyed by the army, who supported deposed king Gyanendra stage a coup against an elected government in the past.  Though hundreds of army personnel face charges of gross human rights violations during the 10-year civil war, none of them have been punished.

The controversial promotion comes close on the heels of the army refusing to hand over to police an officer charged with the torture and murder of a 15-year-old schoolgirl.

Major Niranjan Basnet, under whose command soldiers in Kavre district arrested and killed Maina Sunuwar in 2004, was expelled by the UN from its peacekeeping forces in Chad this month, for the first time in Nepal’s five decades of association with the world body.  However, despite a warrant for his arrest, Basnet was spirited away by the army from the airport on his return to Nepal and has not been handed over to police.[IANS]

Getting Out Of The Quagmire by Sukhdev Shah

[Shukhdev Shah has worked for the IMF for 20 years and is a US citizen.  He was a candidate for the position of Ambassador to the US.  In the article he raises - favourably - the possibility of a military coup in Nepal similar to the one that occurred in Chile that brought Pinochet to power.]
reposted from Revolution in South Asia.

As things have evolved over the past three years, Nepal has become a fertile ground for a military takeover of the government, independently or under the shadow of a constitutional authority. Such a possibility has been talked about in a limited circle but been forced open by a delegation of some Nepali Congress (NC) leaders who recently urged President Ram Baran Yadav to consider imposing President’s Rule to help restore peace and enable the Constituent Assembly (CA) to complete writing the constitution before the expiry of deadline in five months. This is not an incredible or inappropriate suggestion, considering the marathon obstructions staged by Maoists to prevent the CA to open for business and carry out its mandate.

Even after losing the control of government in May this year over the enigmatic issue of civilian supremacy, Maoists have not softened their stance on the president’s action that re-instated the ex-army chief after his firing by the then Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal. In order to further press on this issue, Maoists have announced formation of autonomous states in several parts of the country in defiance of the wishes of government, which also seems to challenge the constitution-making authority of CA. By doing so—unilaterally deciding to divide up the country into ethnic enclaves—Maoists have started the process of a slow dissolution of the State which they eventually would turn into an all-powerful proletarian dictatorship, making the country a one-party State. This particular perception of Maoists’ ultimate objective and long-term planning is not based on fancy or conjecture but comes straight out of their public declarations that claim the virtues of ‘fusion’ of ideologies and role of peoples’ war—jana yudhha—as means to capturing the State power.

The Maoist strategy of declaring autonomous states is probably the shrewdest means adopted until now to undercut the legitimacy of Maoist-version of a bourgeoisie State and assert people’s power under its own leadership. And this strategy would be highly appealing for the grassroots, who have had no great admiration for all-powerful Kathmandu-based governments doing the dictates of generations of family dynasties and self-serving corrupt politicians. With the promises of self-rule allowed to ethnic majorities under the autonomous state system, ordinary people can see the benefits of localization of government authority, with a chance of liberating themselves from the tyrannies of centrist authoritarian rule.