The Maoists of Nepal, their Weapons and Rebel Force

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It’s been almost nine months since the Maoists became involved in a peace process along with the Seven Political Parties (SPA) to join the political mainstream of Nepal. But in the course of the peace process, their cadres have not changed their attitude and pattern of conduct so far. This gives the impression that they are not willing to change their attitude and behaviour even after they join the government.

Recent developments indicate that, some time after 15th January the Maoists will join the parliament and cabinet as well. As far as management of weapons and rebel force of the Maoist organization is concerned, no concrete steps have been taken so far from concerned authorities. A joint statement issued by SPA and the Maoists on January 8, 2007 indicates that management of arms and rebel force will start soon after promulgation of the interim constitution on 15th January. However, ground realities with reference to the attitude of Maoist leaders show they are not complying with the statement.

It has been said that more than twenty-five percent of guerilla commanders will not be staying inside the cantonments. In recent days, Maoist have created a new organization, known as Youth Communist League (YCL). Most of the leaders of YCL will be the same rebel guerilla force in civilian attire, who used to terrorize the people in the past in different part of the country. Their fear still exists in society; therefore, the Maoists are using them to maintain their party’s fear in different facets of life. The YCL is designed to mobilize the people willingly or forcefully to act on their party’s activity. As per the Maoist plan the YCL will be one of the major pressure groups in society to create a favorable environment in the party’s favor.

So far, there is no official record of the Maoist weapons and military hardware. The security forces can produce the fact of the weapons taken by the rebel in different occasion. However, there is no record of procured and self made weapons. Some reliable sources said that more than thirty percent of Maoist modern weapons are not being kept inside the cantonment. Mostly, they are procured and imported from outside of Nepal. The Maoists might have cached their sophisticated weapons – and their cadres in their day-to-day life are openly using close quarter battle weapons.

The weapons which are with the Maoists in cantonments are mostly useless and symbolic. More then half of the Maoists in cantonments are now learning the basic skills of guerilla tactics and their weapons because they are newly recruited and are not from a military background. The focus of their training is purely based on teaching basic know how of guerilla tactics based on past experience, so that even these new cadre can pretend and prove themselves as veteran guerilla cadre. They have been told to say pre-formatted phrases by their commander whosoever visits in their camp and asks about related subject matter.

As per the tripartite understanding between SPA, the Maoists and the United Nations, the Maoists will be confined within the designated cantonment. Despite that, it has been observed that they are still operating throughout the country. There is no such cantonment in the capital city. However, many Maoists are still operating in Kathmandu. They are utilizing their cadre to impose their hegemony to any person, groups, organization and above all to the existing government.

It is shame on Maoist leaders that they are still talking about reserving their rights to raise weapons. They should not forget that they can not walk into parliament with guns in their pocket. The agreement on arms management whereby the Maoists get to keep the key of the single lock under which their weapons will be stored, is the most serious flaw of this understanding. This clearly reveals the intention of the Maoists and the matter of keys makes no difference. This arrangement is not complying with the basic norms of the United Nations; however, the UN in Nepal is keeping quiet in this regard.

The theme discussed above and the ground realities of the Nepalese political theatre is clearly undermining the positive outcome of the peace process. Until and unless, the Maoists officially abandon their strategy of “Prachanda Path” no one can guarantee that they are faithful towards the ongoing peace process. Prachanda Path is their strategy which leads their course to declare Nepal a totalitarian communist state.

Finally, if we are serious about the peace process, the Government of Nepal, the United Nations, other international related agencies and above all, the Nepalese people themselves must urge the Maoists to immediately end their ongoing practices and all other forms of violence, intimidation and extortion. All of these defy the rule of law, violate basic human rights and basic norms of the peace process.