ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Nepal's Maoists

Nepal's Maoists

With so many unfulfi lled aspirations, the recent divide in the Maoist party in Nepal is depressing.

Tremendous hope coupled with so many unfulfilled aspirations had drawn the Nepali people to the Maoists, but their dreams now seem to be in the process of being prematurely shattered. Washington’s decision on 6 September to remove the Maoist party from its list of “terrorist organisations” had been on the anvil for the last two years, and it came just when the party seems no longer in a position to upset the status quo any further. The “two-line struggle”, underway within the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [UCPN(M)], reached a point earlier this year when the party’s central committee reconciled itself to the reality of “one party with two lines” and it was only a matter of time when the faction led by the party’s erstwhile vice-chairperson Mohan Baidya “Kiran” would form a new party, which it did on 19 June. The new Maoist party, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) [CPN(M)], hopes to rekindle the aspiration of a people’s democracy – a democracy that takes into account the interests of the workers, the poor peasants, the oppressed nationalities and ethnic groups, women and dalits.

Expectations had run high ever since the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of November 2006 and when the Maoist party emerged as the largest constituent in the April 2008 Constituent Assembly elections – mainly about integration of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) with the Nepal Army (NA) and the making of a people’s democratic, federal, republican constitution. Regarding the former, the prospect was of the integration of the PLA combatants with the chain of command intact, thus leading to “democratisation” in the leadership and structure of the NA. The combatants of the PLA had, after all, significantly contributed to the creation of the secular democratic republic that Nepal is today. The commanders should therefore have been treated on par with their counterparts in the NA, so also the soldiers; they should have been automatically absorbed into the NA without any process of selection. Was not integration supposed to have been a merger of the two armies? What has actually transpired is an insult to the dignity of the PLA’s commanders and other combatants. Indeed, it should not have surprised anyone that the 12 April 2012 military takeover of the PLA cantonments along with their weapons was the last straw for the veterans of people’s war period (1996-2006).

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