The clear and present danger for Bharat extends beyond the threat from the Maoists in Nepal. The fact remains that New Delhi for the past several decades has opposed the Napali Maoist guerillas fighting a complacent, corrupt and complaint pro-Indian appendage of a government in Khatmandu. Now, New Delhi’s enemies are in power. This is the same situation as Afghanistan, where a pro-Pakistan government was removed and an anti-Pakistan government imposed on Kabul. With rising Chinese influence, Nepal is fast becoming India’s Tibet.
The problem for New Delhi extends beyond Khatmandu and Nepal. The Maoist victory in Nepal serves as a lightning rod to the Maoist and Naxalites that are active in more than a dozen Indian states–from the Seven sisters in the Northeast, all the way down to central India and then hooking up with the Tamil Nadus. The Naxalite insurrection in India has been named the number one security threat to the union right after Kashmir and the Northeast secessionist movement. India surrounded on all sides with insurgencies. India has horrible relations with all her neighbors-stealing territory from all of them. Much to the chagrin of Bharat, even Bhutan is now negotiating with China directly in the Chumbi valley.
Its payback time for China. India trid to create problems for China in Tibet. After messing with the rising Northern Red Dragon to the North, in Tibet, India will face blowback from the Chinese in Sikkim Bhutan and all along the Naxalite belt in Central and Northeastern India. Already Bihar and Orissa are up in arms against the central authority of New Delhi.
It used to be that the Naxalites from Andhra Pradesh used to support the Maoists of Nepal. Now that the Maoists have their own state, the trail of support will run both ways. The Nepalese revolution in eliminating the pro-Indian King will provide succor to the 89 insurgencies raging in the poor and disenfranchised sectors of “India.”
RAW (Research and Analysis Wing) manipulation of the Nepali elections failed. The unexpected results of the Maoist landslide has baffled the Indian establishment. Alarmed Indian politicians have taken a deep breath and tried to spin the serious situation on their Northern border with tall tales of democracy and respecting the electorate.
WHO ARE THE MAOISTS?
The Maoists, or Communist Party of Nepal, attained a majority of directly elected seats for the Constituent Assembly in a historic election, whose official results are some weeks away.
Founded in 1994 by Pushpa Kamal Dahal, known as Prachanda, Nepali for ‘The Fierce One,’ the group led a guerrilla uprising whose main goals were toppling the 239-year old monarchy and restoring elections.
The Maoist insurgency lasted from 1996 -2006, during which time 13,000 people died.
Nepal had been the world’s only Hindu kingdom. It became a secular state in 2006 after the king gave up absolute power.
Many Communist parties formed in the Himalayan nation after the banning of political organizations by royal decree in 1960.
Prachanda, leader of the Maoists, aspires to be the first president of Nepal. He was inspired by China’s Cultural Revolution and the theories of Mao Zedong. He has since tempered both his ideology and rhetoric.
The Maoists, whose ministers have served in the coalition government, have proposed a mixed system of economic policy – combining socialism, capitalism, and industrialization – to establish land reform and encourage more foreign investment.
Goals also include a 10,000 MW electricity generation plan over the next 10 years. Prachanda has also saidy that he wants to see warmer ties between China, India, and the US.
The US has listed the Maoists as a “Specially Designated Terrorist Organization” because of violence during the revolt.
Source: National News Agency, Nepal, News Reports, Political Handbook of the World, US Department of State: Find this article at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0415/p01s02-wosc.html
What the Moist takeover or Nepal means for India
- India has opposed the Maoists since the insurrection began in 1996
- While US was leaning more towards Centrist parties (Maoists are banned on its terror list), China developed stronger ties with UML
- India will have to readjust its relationship with Nepal
- But it will have to contend with stronger anti-India stance of the Maoists swept polls on the plank of building a “truly independent” republic (read not subservient to India)–equidistant to both India and China (read move away from India)
- Nepal, under Maoists, will scrap the 1950 peace and friendship treaty
- The Maoist victory in Nepal will encourage the Maoists fighting in India. With a powerful ally to the North, they will get more access to resources and arms. The Maoists are now part of the Nepalese army with full Gurkha support.
Nepal is geographically the forehead of India. Right now, it is giving New Delhi a terrible migraine. Hindustan Times
that the insurgency’s trajectory is heavily influenced by transboundary links and should be viewed in the context of India’s role in shaping the past 50 years of Nepal’s political history. India’s Role in Nepal’s Maoist Insurgency Rabindra Mishra ,
India, faced with its own vast Maoist insurgency in over a hundred districts, had staunchly defended the monarchy throughout the bloody civil war
Now, though cautious not to tread too heavily on a country very much within India’s sphere of influence, China is beefing up its interests in this strategic Himalayan region bordering restive Tibet. Chinese companies are aggressively pursuing lucrative deals to tap Nepal’s glacial rivers for hydropower, while state officials are cozying up to the Maoists in Kathmandu. When I was in Nepal at the end of last year, I met a Maoist commander who had traveled with a delegation to visit the village home of their namesake in China’s Hunan province. He gushed in praise of Mao, but his eyes twinkled most when recounting his time spent amid the skyscrapers and shopping arcades of Shanghai. “That was something else,” he gasped. When I asked him whether he could imagine such a city in Nepal, he simply laughed and looked away. Nepal has too many other questions that need answering for this one to be even considered. With reporting by Yubaraj Ghimire/Kathmandu Time Magazine
Red Star over Nepal spells clear and present danger to India (http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0822/p06s01-wosc.html)
With the exception of Bhutan, India is now effectively surrounded on all sides by an amalgamation of hostile state and non-state players
A sycophantic Congress wedded to self preservation with support from China serving Communists can hardly be expected to do what it takes to serve Indian strategic interests.
It is not enough for the BJP to swear by nationalism while being utterly naive about engaging with our neighbors on strategic affairs. The Maoist victory in Nepal is a lesson for the BJP on how out of touch with reality its support for the discredited monarchy was. Maoist Victory in Nepal – Indian Strategic Interests in Peril ?yossarin in Asian News, China News, India News, The War on Terror, US News, World Politics
“Armed struggle is always an option” Baburam Bhattarai
There is a rising concern among the security agencies, intelligentsia and civil society bodies over the Maoists’ intention to include the hill state of Uttarakhand as part of their ‘Red Corridor’, linking it to Nepal. There have been protests in the state over the intrusion of Nepali labourers alleged to have Maoist links. Police officials have instructed landlords to watch out for suspicious activities of these laborers.
The Nepalese Maoists and their counterparts in India are members of the `Revolutionary Internationalist Movement’ (RIM). In July 2001, some 10 radical Left-wing (Maoist) groups in South Asia, including the Nepalese as well as Indian Maoists, formed the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties and Organization of South Asia (CCOMPOSA).Maoists Intrude into Uttarakhand: Maitreya Buddha Samantaray Security Analyst
…the dramatically changed political conditions given the anti-India platform of the Maoists. The Maoist assertions of making Nepal a “truly independent republic” are bound to acquire a sharper anti-India edge. While it would be premature to speculate on the fate of the many agreements between India and Nepal, the Maoists are certain to demand that the 1950 treaty of peace and friendship should be revised, if not scrapped.
New Delhi will have to tread cautiously. It has to do a lot of thinking, and re-thinking, to evolve its policy towards Nepal under Prachanda, although he has said Kathmandu would maintain equidistance between India and China. The Tribune Online Edition
The Nepalese Maoists are armed and dangerous. Senior Maoist leader Baburam Bhattarai, who is tipped to head the new government in Nepal, on Wednesday, said King Gyanendra could stay in the country as a common law-abiding citizen after Monarchy is abolished.
Nepal’s King Gyanendra (L) and Queen Komal
”He (Gyanendra) can live in Nepal as a common law-abiding citizen,” Bhattarai said over phone from Kathmandu amidst preparations for installation of the new government there.
About India’s Maoist insurgency:
“India has failed to rein in the Maoists simply because there are no quick-fix solutions to the problems arising out of [bad governance],” says Suhas Chakma, the director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), Delhi
Big Maoist wins could reshape Nepal’s politics: Former insurgents have surprised Nepalis and marginalized moderates.
By Bikash Sangraula | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor: from the April 15, 2008 edition
Kathmandu, NEPAL – Barely two years after ending an armed insurgency that killed more than 13,000 people, Nepal’s former Maoists rebels have stunned themselves, the Nepalese people, and the world with a landslide win in constituent assembly elections that could profoundly change Nepali politics.
The goal of last Thursday’s election was to fulfill two Maoist demands: write a new Constitution and end the country’s 240-year monarchy. But concerns are growing that Nepal’s moderate political parties – which coaxed the Maoists into mainstream politics and forgave past atrocities in the interests of peace – might be sidelined and a more radical agenda prevail.
What matters now, analysts say, is how the Maoists themselves interpret the will of Nepalis. “If they take this as an endorsement of their policy of mass annihilation of class enemies, it will be a catastrophe,” says Yubaraj Ghimire, editor of Newsfront weekly. “If they take this as people’s recognition of them as the key agent of change, it will be easy for Maoists to work and good for the country as well.”
By late Monday, the Maoists had won in 112 of 202 constituencies where counting of the direct vote had concluded. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress, which has dominated politics for six decades, had won just 32 seats, while the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-UML) had won 28 seats. Another 335 seats are allocated proportionally according to each party’s percentage of votes, and the remaining 26 members of the 601-member assembly will be nominated by the government. Vote counting for the proportional seats is under way.
International and national election monitors hailed the polls as a success. But reports of intimidation surfaced, with Maoists warning rural, poorly educated voters that they would be watching the polling booths and would know who voted for whom. Mr. Ghimire also argues that voters were terrified by the Maoist threat of going back to war in case of defeat.
But another factor in the Maoists’ strong showing may have been the perception that they hewed to a consistent agenda – forming a republic – while the leading Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal shifted toward the Maoist agenda as it became more politically expedient.
“The CPN-UML went to the election with an identity crisis,” says political analyst Krishna Hatchetu. “The CPN-UML gradually became less left since they joined multiparty politics after mass protests in 1990. In this election, the pro-left voters had the choice to vote between the CPN-UML and the radical Maoists. The people chose the Maoists.”
The crushing defeat of his party prompted CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal to resign Sunday from the post he had held for 15 years. The former CPN-UML chieftain was also humiliated by his defeat in Katmandu by a little-known Maoist candidate.
A majority of top leaders from the Nepali Congress, including four relatives of the prime minister and powerful ministers in the current cabinet, also were defeated, mostly by Maoist candidates. The casualties included the party’s acting president, Sushil Koirala, who announced his resignation.
The two parties made a policy switch from “constitutional monarchy and multiparty democracy” to “federal democratic republic” last year after sensing overwhelming support for a republic during the peaceful uprising in April 2006 that forced King Gyanendra to relinquish executive authorities he grabbed in a military coup in 2005.
Despite their stunning victory, the days ahead might not be easy for the Maoists, analysts say, especially as they will now have to deliver on tall promises, including swift economic transformation.
“The people have given legitimacy to the Maoists,” says C.K. Lal, a noted political columnist. “But they have yet to get acceptance. And remember, there is only a prefix that separates legitimacy and illegitimacy.”
So far, the Maoists have indicated that they understand the people’s message.
Speaking during a rally after his victory from a constituency in Katmandu this weekend, Prachanda, the leader of the Maoists, promised that his party would continue to work with other political parties, strengthen relations with the international community, and shoulder the responsibility entrusted by the people to build lasting peace.
The party’s chief ideologue, Baburam Bhattarai, who is the most likely prime ministerial candidate from the party, said on Sunday that the new government “that will be formed under our leadership” will have participation from all parties represented in the constituent assembly. Mr. Bhattarai’s wife, Hisila Yami, was declared the winner in her constituency.
But analysts say the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, with an eye on the next election, might opt to sit in opposition and let the Maoists try to deliver without any support from them, something that could hinder legislative efforts.
Among immediate challenges the Maoists will face after forming a government is ensuring a smooth supply of fuel without making the unpopular decision of raising fuel prices. For the past year, the state-owned Nepal Oil Corp. has borne heavy losses as a result of the disparity between local prices of fuel and international prices. And Indian Oil Corp., the monopoly supplier of fuel to Nepal, has regularly cut supplies in a bid to force payment.
Also, the Maoists will have to help solve the country’s current power shortages, which leave Nepalese without electricity for eight hours each day.
The interim constitution says the elected assembly will have to come up with a constitution within two years, after which a general election must be held for a government that will sit for five years.
Maoist wave in Nepal’s ‘land of disappeared’
Kathmandu: A remote backward district in far western Nepal, whose fame for its national park was eclipsed in the decade-long “People’s War” due to a high number of disappearances, arbitrary arrests and extra-judicial killings, is now seeking to take revenge on the ruling parties by voting en masse for the former Maoist guerrillas.
As vote counting started in three constituencies in Bardiya district after Thursday’s historic constituent assembly election, the former rebels, who have been campaigning for the state to disclose the whereabouts of hundreds of people missing even two years after the signing of a peace pact, were substantially ahead.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress (NC), which gave carte blanche to the army to stamp out the Maoist movement and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (UML) – once the second largest party – were losing ground in Bardiya, with the Maoists steadily forging ahead in their first national election after 17 years.
In Bardiya Two and Four, Maoist candidates from the Tharu community, freed slaves who are at the bottom of the social ladder, were substantially ahead of the NC and UML as counting started.
In Bardiya One, little known Maoist contestant Sarala Regmi was plodding sturdily ahead of her UML rival, Bamdev Gautam, a veteran politician and one of the mediators who forged an understanding between the rebels when they were underground and the main political parties.
While the NC was ahead in Kathmandu, with the Maoists following a close second, in the outer districts, the former rebels were ahead in the race.
Maoist Minister For Information and Communications Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who is also the spokesman of the Koirala government, was way ahead of his nearest NC contender Anita Devkota in Dang district, a Maoist stronghold in midwestern Nepal.
In the tourist district of Chitwan, famed for its rhino park, Maoist strategist Ram Bahadur Thapa aka Badal was leading the race.
In Banke, the Maoists were ahead in Constituency Four, while debutant ethnic party Madhesi Janadhikar Forum was leading in Constituency Three.
Even in Palpa district, the site of a devastating attack by the Maoists during the last days of King Gyanendra’s rule, the Maoists were well ahead.
Maoist chief Prachanda, who is vying from Kathmandu 10 as well as Rolpa, the cradle of the Maoist movement, was leading in the capital while the Election Commission said vote counting was yet to start in Rolpa because of its remoteness.
As Maoists routed the UML, only a small, localised Left party stood its ground.
The Nepal Workers and Peasants Party (NWPP), a minor partner in the ruling alliance, held its traditional bastion Bhaktapur town in Kathmandu valley defending it stoutly against both the NC and Maoists.
NWPP chief Narayan Man Bijukchhe was winning from Constituency One, while his lieutenant Sunil Prajapati was leading over his nearest rival, NC’s Lekhnath Neupane, in Constituency Two.
from the August 22, 2006 edition – http://www.csmonitor.com/2006/0822/p06s01-wosc.html
Maoist rebels spread across rural India: India plans to deploy paramilitary forces to deal with growing insurgency. By Anuj Chopra | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor: ULGARA, INDIA
A sprawling, yet largely hidden, war is raging in India’s rural countryside, and after years of ignoring it, Delhi is signalling a military counteroffensive.
India’s Maoist insurgents, also called Naxalites, have expanded their area of operations from just four states 10 years ago to half of India’s 28 states today. In 165 districts, they claim to run parallel “People’s” governments. This year alone, fighting between rebel and government forces has claimed more than 500lives – many civilian.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh turned heads recently by calling the Naxalites, “The single biggest internal security challenge ever faced by our country.”
To tackle the threat, Delhi is planning to deploy 11 battalions of paramilitary police and is sponsoring opposing vigilante groups who espouse violence. But issues of underdevelopment and poor human rights are the real oxygen of the Maoist insurgency, not local police weakness, argue critics of the new government approach.
“India has failed to rein in the Maoists simply because there are no quick-fix solutions to the problems arising out of [bad governance],”says Suhas Chakma, the director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), Delhi.
Hardest hit in this conflict are poor, tribal residents of rural villages like Ulgara, a hamlet in the rural interior of Jharkhand state. Naxalites pass through often, stopping sometimes to demand food, which villagers quietly admit they give out of fear. Five years ago, in the wee hours of the night, nearly 100 guerrillas attacked the village, torching 19-year-old Rakesh Kumar’s house. His father was shot and his family beaten.
“We’re stuck in the middle – between the Naxalites and the state,” says Mr. Kumar, explaining that it’s neither safe to support the Maoists nor turn them away.
Many beleaguered villagers have fled the area. Others, including the Kumars, are scrounging together money to move to the city. In parts of India, fearful villagers have reportedly abandoned whole villages.
Aiming to bring the fight to cities
Recent reports suggest that this rural insurgency is slowly, yet inexorably, spreading into four more states, with what analysts see is a long-term plan to extend their red corridor – called the “Compact Revolutionary Zone” – throughout India. Their ultimate stated goal is to capture India’s cities and overthrow Parliament. In an interview last year with The Telegraph newspaper, a national daily, a member of the Maoist Central Committee named “Comrade Dhruba” said, “Our mass base is getting ready. After five years, we will launch our strikes.”
While most observers doubt the Naxalites can directly threaten urban India, the guerrilla attacks are becoming more audacious – and lethal. Rebels attack in large numbers – much like the Maoists of Nepal, with whom they’re suspected to have links – often to overwhelm their target.Attacks on police forces, train hijacking, and brutal beheadings are common. Just last month, India witnessed its worst spasm of Naxalite violence. In the thick of the night, nearly 800 armed Maoists sprayed bullets, killing 32, in an anti-Maoist relief camp in the Indian state of Chattisgarh – an impoverished region most affected by Naxalite violence.
While the insurgents garner support mainly through fear, Mr. Chakma says, some people in the hinterlands relate to and support them because they champion the cause of the poor at the bottom rung of India’s caste and class hierarchy.
In remote, interior villages, Naxalites claim to distribute sacks of pulses to the masses, collect funds to run schools, and organize mass weddings for the impoverished. They also target corrupt officials, despotic landlords, and loan sharks.
Sluggish courts vs. swift Naxalites
The Jharkhand High Court recently expressed concern over the fact that more and more people in areas where Naxalites are active were approaching the kangaroo courts of the Maoists to settle disputes. Government courts take years to dispense justice. A recent study revealed that for every million people, there were only 10 judges in India’s courts. The rebels can be approached any time, and justice – most often from the barrel of a gun – is swift.
An elderly woman in Chaukhra, an obscure village, says she approached Naxalites for settling a lengthy land dispute she had with another villager. “They were most helpful,” she says, declining to give her name for fear of local chastisement. “They know very well who is right and who is wrong.”
As the twilight sets over Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand, a tiny band of leftist ideologues led a protest against rising food prices. A stream of adivasis, or tribal people, mill around the rally. Many are said to be Naxalites who slip back into the forest after the meeting under the cover of darkness. The Naxalites are sustained in their jungle war with the help of leaders who run underground front organizations in the cities – which operate despite being banned. These leaders provide strategic assistance, mobilize Naxalite sympathizers, and instigate such demonstrations.
“We’re not not terrorists,” says one such front organization leader. “We’re fighting a people’s war. We want the proletariat to rule, not imperialistic governments.”
This decades-old armed rebellion, he says, is to stop pauperization of India’s indigenous, tribal people at the hands of the rich, and their displacement due to industrialization.
Governments in states like Jharkhand and Chattisgarh have signed deals worth millions of dollars with industrial companies for steel mills and power stations – deals that the state sees as necessary to create jobs and provide the raw materials for economic growth. However, such deals, he says, end up displacing villagers, and, moreover, the benefits never trickle down to them.
“These injustices have happened for decades. People’s voices have been muzzled. It’s the only way to get them heard,” he says responding to a question asking if violence is the only way to remedy the problem. “Why else would our cadres live such unglamorous lives in jungles?”
Although the death toll of civilians killed in Naxalite violence is mounting, their aim is to “never harm the proletariat,” he says.
Claims of child soldiers denied. He refuted eyewitness reports suggesting that the Bal Mandal – children’s division – of the Naxalites were being used for armed conflicts. “Children in this conflict are used only as messengers and informers,” he says. Without giving an estimate on the number of children enrolled with the Maoists, he says the Naxalites do provide them “military training” to prepare them for “any situation.”
The Indian government’s tougher approach to the growing Naxalite problem includes arming thousands of villagers with guns, spears, and bows and arrows. Human Rights Watch calls the move “a mistake,” arguing that “scrupulous respect for rights is the best answer to the Naxalites.”
As Maoists enter the political process in Nepal – with help from the Indian government – some observers wonder if the same process can be tried with India’s Maoists. So far, however, the insurgents have shown no proclivity for joining hands with the Indian government, and Delhi has said that the rebels must give up arms before any dialogue can happen.