Civil Society and the Maoist Insurgency in Nepal

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In general terms, civil society means a forum of people from the society, whose interest is purely based on normal people’s interest. They represent general people for the purpose of welfare of the people from where they belong. In fact it is a pressure group of a society, whose responsibility is to raise voice of the people as required in different circumstances. In other word they are the watch dog of the society. Civil Society plays a vital role in any democratic country to influence the government and other related agencies in its decision making process to ensure if the decision is against of the value and norms of the society or to that particular nation. They are not supposed to work as a front or sister organization of any single political party or a group.

Nepal, as it is exercising its democratic exercise also has Civil Society, which is well known by the name “Nagarik Samaj (NS).” At present NS is a hot topic in Nepalese political theatre due to its role played during the people’s movement of April this year. They played a substantial role to mobilize people from different fields to participate in the movement. Finally, the democracy was restored in Nepal through proclamation of the King. By virtue of being non-political nature of the civil society, they are in the limelight and considered as key elements of the country. However, unfortunately, some of the key members who are representing NS are seen deviating from their main aims. Now, the NS looks like a kind of a political wing or a sister organization of the Maoist rebels, which is carrying the Maoist agenda most of the time.

They are helping the Maoists not only in the present condition but also when they were underground and considered as terrorist organization. The NS, instead of playing their main role, are utilizing their forum to work overtly as well as indirectly to help the Maoist revolution in Nepal. They are raising the Maoist’s issues in various platforms at national and international levels. There are several evidences that the NS used to provide shelter to the Maoist cadre and also some time to the leaders before the cease fire was announced.

If we just take a look at the key activists of the NS, most of them are from the leftist back ground. Some of them are not but were badly unsuccessful in their respective careers. The bitter truth of being unsuccessful and frustration in their previous career encouraged them to join the revolutionist forum to create a completely new and different identity. Most of them are affiliated to the Maoist organization. Therefore, minorities among them cannot express views against them in the present scenario. One important aspect on their credit is that they represent many different fields, which allow them to mobilize the people from different walks of life.

The normal innocent Nepali people seem to have impression that NS is doing a good job. They think that they have to provide necessary support to them. But they are not aware that due to vested interest of some influential member of NS, they are playing a dirty game behind the curtain. Hence, the NS has been fairly successful in misleading Nepali people, particularly in and around the major cities of our country.

This NS is misleading not only the normal citizens but also the international communities. The related international organizations are listening to the voice of NS with the impression of belief that voices and concerns raised by the NS represent the core issues and concerns of the general populace. Therefore, NS is successful in acquiring moral, physical as well as financial support from the various donor agencies from the international community.

In Nepal, running an INGO and NGO are considered as dollar earning business, as NS is also involved in the same. They receive funds from outside for their capacity building but the bulk of the amount is diverted towards somewhere else, and the remaining amount used for their personal gain and very little amount may be used for the said purpose. The socio economic problem of Nepal, which contributed to the ongoing Maoist problem has also been one of the justifying cause for NS to convince the donor agencies and international communities.

During the time of Jana Andola-2 (People’s Movement) of April this year, NS invariably played a significant role. They mobilized the masses from a wide variety of fields, which contributed to the political change in Nepal. They distributed money to hire unemployed people, street beggars, lower level laborers and some criminals to mobilize in the movement. In addition to that there is an allegation of spending funds for the lodging and feeding of the Maoist cadre, who were brought to Kathmandu to take part in the people’s movement.

If a small mistake is made by the elements of the government, they immediately protest and exert pressure by utilizing all means. But on the contrary, they are closing their eyes and ears for the extensive violation of code of conduct by the Maoists throughout the country. The killing, kidnapping, extortions, looting and torturing the people has been a routine job of the Maoists.

The human rights violations from the Maoists is not an area of interest of the NS. Due to fear of the Maoists, no one speaks against them. In every field the Maoist’s influence and intervention is increasing. Under these circumstances how can it be possible to conduct a free and fair election of Constituent Assembly? Without agreement on decommissioning of the rebel force and their weapons, the peace process can not move forward positively. But NS is strongly advocating the idea of decommissioning the weapons and rebel organization only after the completion of election of the Constituent Assembly, which is against the international norms.

At present, as per the roles and standard norms of the civil society they also are given the responsibility of peace negotiator as well as peace observer, now under these circumstances how can they perform their job honestly, when their loyalty is towards their vested interest and not towards the people and the country?

As per the Maoist plan, the Maoists are utilizing multiple fronts to reach the power. They want to use negotiation as primary platform, simultaneously they are creating alliances (mainly leftists) and with the help of that they want to continue the street agitation programme which could lead to said October Revolution. The NS is also supporting and assisting the idea, concept and declared Maoist programme of the next round of agitation and urban insurgency.

Whenever the Maoists need to give pressure to the government, they mobilize them. One recent example of NS’s pressure to the Prime minister was to give equal status to the government force and rebel force, and at the same time writing a letter to the United Nations to serve the same purpose proves the above statement. In lieu of this support, the Maoists proposed one third of the total number of seats to NS in the interim cabinet and parliament.

If the Maoists are successful in their plan, they will have indeed two third majorities in the cabinet as well as in the parliament. Then they can easily take any major decisions, which will clear their path to destroy existing democratic setup of the country and declare Nepal a Maoist state. However, one should not forget that the concept to include pressure groups such as civil society in the government and in the parliament is against the basic democratic norms. If it is done then civil society loses its credibility and identity and becomes an integral part of the political party i.e. of Nepal Communist Party (Maoist).