Monday, September 26, 2005

Indian Maoists And The Nepal Movement For Democracy

This is tall talk, but I believe India will also have to follow my lead. The Maoist insurgency is a huge reality in Nepal, and it is also a large, growing reality in India. What is my lead? My lead is to realize democracy itself will have to be redesigned, it will have to be reinvented. Democracy as it got copied from Britain five decades back is inherently inadequate. The elections and the parliaments do not seem to empower those utterly poor. The grinding poverty never seems to go away. There seems to be no way out. The gun ends up having appeal, almost like a safety valve for the down and out. Like Mahatma Gandhi said, if it is between the oppressed doing nothing and getting violent, I would rather they opted for violent protests. The utterly powerless are speaking. We need to opt to listen to them as opposed to pouring all our resources into silencing them. We need to channel their energy into peaceful ways by engaging them in a respectful dialogue that leads to a respectable, just solution.

I would not be surprised that the Indian and the Nepali Maoists talk to each other, any more than I was surprised some Indian leaders showed up for the Nepali Congress convention in Kathmandu recently, any more than anyone should be surprised I am affiliated with the Democratic Party here in New York City. Like minded dwell together. There is no news there.

The Maoists are either outlaws who need to be militarily crushed. And a military strategy has to emerge. Or they are symptoms of genuine political, social and economic conundrums. I believe the later is the case.

There has to be a political solution to the Maoist insurgency in both Nepal and India. And that solution is to introduce a total, transparent democracy. Democracy has to be about one person, one vote, one voice. Parties will have to become state funded based on how many votes they can earn. Primary health care and secondary education will have to become universal and free.

I encourage the Indian authorities to take a look at this: Proposed Constitution.

This is an interesting twist. When Mao tried his best to make inroads into the subcontinent, he failed miserably. Now he is making inroads and the Chinese authorities are embarassed: "They are giving our great leader a bad name!"

In The News
  • India considering steps to crack down on Maoists Reuters ... reports that they were linking up with guerrillas in neighbouring Nepal. .... the nine Indian states where Maoist rebels are active. A common strategy will be drawn up ...... states, which stretch across the center of the subcontinent, are looking for satellite technology, elite troops and sophisticated arms ...... about 9,300 Maoist rebels in the country ..... The rebels have killed politicians, policemen and government officials, bombed factories and government offices and attacked buses and trains in an insurgency that stretches back to 1968. Thousands have been killed....... Officials say rebels in Nepal and India are known to be helping each other with arms and training and the two groups this month announced they would join hands....... The high-level government meeting comes within two weeks of the Maoists killing 39 people, including 23 policemen, in two separate attacks in central and eastern India....... track guerrilla hideouts through satellite imaging ....... "We also want the army's counter insurgency-trained soldiers" ........ need funds to buy bullet-proof jackets, modern rifles and to launch anti-poverty schemes in Maoist strongholds....... already using helicopters and satellites to trace rebel hideouts, but needed small unmanned aircraft and more federal forces....... So far, Indian states have been divided in their fight against the Maoists and have even blamed each other after rebels have struck in one state and fled to another.......
  • Nepal Maoists taking advantage of India-Nepal cold war over ... India Daily, NJ
  • The course of Naxalism, Nepal the abject failures of the Indian state.....After an experiment with a ceasefire and abrogated talks, the ban on the Communist Party of India-Maoists was re­imposed by the government of Andhra Pradesh on 17 August.The attackers arrived on motorcycles and showered bullets at a public function...... the Centre has been closely coordinating anti-Naxalite operations throughout the country.... The Hyderabad government's ban order under the AP Public Security Act of 1992 listed seven mass organisations of workers, peasants, youth, students and writers associated with the Maoist party. They include the Radical Youth League (RYL), the Radical Students Union (RSU), the All India Revolutionary Students Federation (AIRSF), the Rythu Coolie Sangham (agricultural workers' organisation), the Singareni Karmika Sangham (a powerful trade union in the collieries), the Viplava Karmika Sangham (another trade union), and the Revolutionary Writers Association popularly known by its Telugu acronym Virasam. More than the ban on the parent party, it is the outlawing of the mass programmes of these affiliate organisations which will have serious repercussions on the ground. These groups have widespread membership, with regular programmes and publications. ....... Every time the police killed some important Maoist leader, the rebels have declared their intention to take revenge...... the current ban represents the start of a new phase in the confrontation between the Naxalite movement and the Indian state. The outlawing came after the chances of resumption of peace talks had effectively disappeared, and the police had intensified its operations to kill Maoist leaders and cadre, and to capture or harass sympathisers. The Maoists, too, had resumed retaliatory action of kidnappings and killings......A 30 July 2005 meeting of the chief ministers and the directors generals of police from the nine Naxalite-impacted states agreed to set up a task force to launch joint operations. A policy of "zero tolerance" towards the Maoists was announced. The Tamil Nadu government had already banned the Maoist Party on 12 July, and the Karnataka government had also earlier launched joint operations with the Andhra police....... the hope was that the authorities may at long last look to address the root causes of the rebellion......would adopt a political approach to the Maoists rather than treat them merely as perpetrators of terrorist violence..... would adopt a political approach to the Maoists rather than treat them merely as perpetrators of terrorist violence...... the Maoist movement revolves around the issues of agrarian transformation, especially the problems of the landless and the small peasants...... It was the peasant resistance to landlords in Naxalbari in West Bengal in May 1967 under the land-to-the-tiller slogan that provided a name to the Maoist phenomenon in Indian politics – Naxalism. The movement underwent much churning in the succeeding decades, organisationally and politically, but the focus on agrarian revolution has remained at the core. The very fact that land reform as a state objective has disappeared from Indian policy-making in the age of economic liberalisation has kept the Naxalite agenda alive. The state's anti-poverty programmes such as the NDA's Food-for-Work or the UPA's recently established Employment Guarantee Programme hardly meet the basic demand for land rights in rural India. The rise of backward castes to power in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and elsewhere, even though it may have democratised certain aspects of the polity, has had the paradoxical effect of freezing land relations..... the inaccessible hilly terrain of these regions, but a conscious decision by the Naxalites to take up the issues affecting the tribal people, who are among the most exploited in society..... A central Naxalite agenda is for tribal self-determination, asserting the rights of the tribals over local resources..... unless structural measures are undertaken to restore rights over land and forest, the Panchayati Raj structures will continue to be manipulated by local elites...... During the 1980s, the Naxalites linked themselves with the nationality struggles in the Indian Northeast, Jammu and Kashmir, Chhatisgarh, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and elsewhere...... Each was a complex struggle involving class and nationality, as well as caste and gender....... Telugu Desham in [Karnataka], the Asom Gana Parishad in Assam, the Akali Dal in Punjab and the DMK in Tamil Nadu...... While the ruling parties, the BJP and the Congress, were fully committed to the agenda of globalisation, the CPI and CPI-M tried to keep the critique alive on behalf of workers, the lower middle classes and the rural poor who suffered tremendously and largely silently under the process of economic reforms. But the main resistance to globalisation was put forth by the Naxalites, which has considered the stress on anti-imperialism paramount at a time of growing collaboration between the government of India and the US government....... the Naxalite challenge rests upon the issues of agrarian transformation, tribal people's rights, the nationality movement and resisting imperialism and globalisation....... what they characterise as the people's democratic revolution to change the very character of the Indian state.....If the Naxalite movement is seen as a coming together of many streams, then they can be said to have a presence in all parts of the country. Of them the two major streams are the CPI-ML (Liberation) which participates in electoral politics and the CPI-Maoist which pursues armed struggle. The former has a strong base in Bihar and it has had seven to ten Members in the Legislative Assembly. It has an all-India organisation with state units and an active trade union and a women's organisation. Its powerful student wing, AISA has often won the leadership at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. ...... the movement as a whole remains mainly as an ideological force in Indian politics, whose appeal remains rooted in the concrete condition of the people...... the question remains as to why the spiral of violence and counter-violence by the Naxalites and the state agencies never seem to end in the heartland of India...... when the coercive power of the state is used to defend the interest of the rich and the powerful or to eliminate resistance to injustice..... landlords' armies in Bihar, factional murders in Andhra's Rayalseema, and upper caste atrocities on dalits all over..... As in case of the Naga peace talks, or those between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, in this case too the hope was to proceed with the dialogue with the hope of suspending armed action by the two sides. But there were elements among the political circles and the police, both locally and nationally, which considered the policy too 'soft', which would only strengthen the Naxalites....... The CPI-Maoists have a People's Guerilla Liberation Army mostly armed with weapons seized from the police, some of which are sophisticated weaponry such as the AK-47 rifles....... the caste issue is still not fully integrated with the class understanding of politics...... feminists have pointed out the prevalence of patriarchal values and behaviour in the Maoist parties....whether the Naxalites have dialectically integrated class, caste and gender any better than the rest of the Indian communists, whose record on this matter remains poor. .... Human rights activists have also challenged the Maoists, asking whether they practice democracy and civil liberties within their movement, which should after all be the embryo of their 'ideal society'. Factionalism and splits have famously characterised the Naxalite movement, which is why there are over two dozen groups in existence at any given time. ..... The communist groups seem to resort all too easily to the mechanical understanding of revisionism and dogmatism. The revolutionary tradition of inner-party democracy – the minority accepting the decision of the majority while the majority respects the point of view of the minority – seems a fragile heritage. ..... The common people whose cause the Naxalites claim to represent confront day-to-day livelihood issues – of making a living out of agriculture and forestry, of finding water for their fields, access to affordable credit, market for their produce, and ways and means to access education and health. Such ground-level issues do not seem to figure prominently in the Maoists' formulation of political strategy. Many of these activities which concretely help the poor are dismissed with terms such as 'reformism', 'welfare work' or even 'ngo action'. ........ revolutionary creativity – the ability to assess the emerging national, local and global environment and adjusting to the evolving while pursuing one's ideological goals – thus remains a challenge....... do represent a powerful challenge to the existing political economy in its phase of capitalist globalisation...... stop treating the rebellion as a law and order problem. In Andhra Pradesh, the ground created by the peace talks of 2004 has now collapsed, and the state government and Centre both now demand that the Maoists lay down arms before resuming talks. ..... They are excitedly formulating a strategy of counter-terrorism US software, Israeli hardware and some Indian brands added. .... the great helmsman when he said that the people of each country must formulate their own strategy derived from their unique local conditions. ..... Leaders of the Indian state must try and comprehend the nature of the Maoist challenge and address the socio-economic issues at its heart, so that another spiral of intensified violence in India can be avoided and prospects of peace and democracy enhanced.
  • The Course Of Naxalism, India
  • Jharkhand Minister escapes unhurt in landmine blast Outlook (subscription), India
  • 20 injured in naxals' assault Times of India, India
  • THE SALIM DEBATE-II The Statesman, India
  • Centre may send Air Force after Naxals India Monitor, UK
  • Satellite to track down Naxalites Times of India, India
  • Bihar to launch satellite powered attacks against Naxalites Rediff, India
  • Concern growing over a possible Maoist takeover, establishment of ... OhmyNews International, South Korea
  • Sonia Gandhi may visit Maoist-affected Bastar Webindia123, India
  • Bihar Police arrest Naxals in Motihari Webindia123, India
  • Turning To China For Weapons Strategy Page

The RNA Could Be Disbanded

A democratic interim government born out of a revolution could legitimately disband the RNA with a simple decree: that is a technical possibility. It got done in Iraq.
Choice 1: Take over power. The civilian prime minister is Commander In Chief of the army. Reform the army, downsize it, tame it, reduce its budget so as to have more money for education and health.

Choice 2: Disband the army. Perhaps have no army at all. Add a special armed militia segment to the police instead.

Choice 3: Disband the RNA. Build a Nepal Army from scratch. Invite individual applications from former RNA and PLA foot soldiers without giving any preference to them. Truly start from scratch. Cap the army size at 27,000.

There are many options on the table.

A movement is a flood, a revolution is a tsunami.

If the king sticks to his muncipal polls by April mantra, he faces a movement. If he continues to physicially abuse peaceful protestors, and if he engineers any violent crackdowns, he faces a revolution. Illegal orders do not have to be obeyed. Nothing in the 1990 constitution gives the RNA the authority to open fire upon peaceful demonstrators. So if they are ordered to do so, they have the option to refuse: they have no other option. The RNA is not on the king's payroll. The RNA is on the people's payroll.

All those tear gas shells let loose in the hundreds in the densely populated residential areas in Kathmandu: that is practically chemical warfare upon the people, Saddam style. That poison stays in the air for days and weeks.
Don't Let The Ceasefire Break Down

There are things we democrats can do to make sure the ceasefire does not break down, regardless of what the king does or not. And we need to do them. If the king does not do the right things, he hurts himself. Simple as that. We need the ceasefire to have plenty of political space for our impending mass movement.

Forming a formal committee to hold formal, sustained dialogue with the Maoists would be a good start.

I have great confidence that if a strong Maoist-Democrat alliance can be forged, the ceasefire can be maintained and extended, and permanent peace will be possible, and democracy will materialize, not democracy with strings attached, but full democracy.

On to victory.

In The News

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Pyar Jung's Jumbo Size Love For The King

Like Ram Baran Yadav said to me on the phone from Delhi many months back: "This is your typical Third World dictator."

Buy a plane, and then go where?

Phone Marathon II
Phone Marathon: Called Up Delhi

Royal 737

Jana Aastha, 28 September

The army has in principle decided to buy a Boeing 737 for the king’s visits abroad to be paid for by the Royal Nepali Army’s Welfare Fund. The need for such an aircraft was raised by C-in-C Pyar Jung Thapa because Royal Nepal Airlines’ 15-year-old 757s could not be guaranteed to be snag-free during preparations for His Majesty’s visit to New York which was scrubbed. The idea is for the army to buy the $45.5-77 million plane and lease it to Royal Nepal Airlines for its regional routes. The 737 could be of the 800 or 900 series and would be equipped for VVIP flights or to carry 177 passengers in the airliner configuration. Royal Nepal Airlines has been planning unsuccessfully to buy 737s and the deal would also give local middlemen some added income.

In The News

  • The Royal Trek Nepali Times .... Gyanendra has stepped up efforts to demonstrate that he enjoys widespread support and respect from Nepalis...... walked through Patan greeting thousands of curious onlookers and school children instructed to stand on the sidewalks as he made his way to inspect the regional office of the Central Zone in Jawalakhel ....... king walked on recently patched potholes, past stumps of trees chopped down after 1 February and under dozens of welcome arches and banners that the local administration compelled local hotels, institutions and schools to put up overnight......... that he is working to restore peace and “meaningful” democracy....... the king wants to be an active monarch and suspect a sinister prelude to further crackdowns...... the Maoists stole his thunder by announcing their three-month unilateral ceasefire, this could be a royal PR offensive.... ever since the ceasefire on 3 September the royal regime has been on the defensive, lashing out with an orchestrated attack on pro-democracy elements in the media, judiciary and civil society. This has sparked rumours that royal hardliners are pushing the king to launch further crackdowns........ has worried even committed monarchists who say the king is painting himself into a corner and pushing the country on an irreversible path to republicanism....... “Too many crazy mistakes have been made. Enough is enough, the king should take five of the cleanest most respected people in the land and give them only one mandate: to talk to the Maoists and the parties and find a solution,” says Padam Thakurati, the Panchayat era editor....... “The king is trapped in a conspiracy,” explains retired Brig-Gen Dipta Prakash Shah, a former nominated member of the Upper House, “to hide one mistake the royal courtiers are making a thousand mistakes…both an active monarchy or military rule are out of the question.”
  • Tulsi Giri Speaks Out ... to find out for himself the condition that you, his subjects, live under..... Girija Prasadji says that the king is like the idol of Pashupatinath. What he doesn’t realise is that hundreds of thousands of devotees seek the blessings of Pashupatinath....... When the 1990 constitution was promulgated it wasn’t because of the People’s Movement, it was because His Majesty himself exercised his right to change the constitution. This is an inalienable right that has been vested on the monarch from time immemorial. No one can take it away and if anyone tries, His Majesty also has the right to protect it.......... Now, they say they want to debate whether the monarchy should be kept or done away with. It’s not so simple, this is a potentially huge leap. Where did these so-called democrats get the right to demand that? ........ The parties have now called for a democratic republic even though they know the people will never accept it........ There are parties, they are allowed to hold meetings and demonstrations....... I told foreigners: parliament was dissolved by the parliamentary parties themselves, years before the king took over. Now the parties want to restore parliament and for that Article 127 needs to be invoked—and when the king used the same article they said he was acting unconstitutionally......... Nepalis have a perception that we can’t live without foreign money, that we can’t control the Maoists without foreign arms. I have told them openly: don’t threaten us. We will survive without your money. We will live without your guns. This country will live independently......... Now, if the parties are not for peace and democracy then I have nothing to say......... Nowhere in the world can newspapers get away with what papers get away with here. One can sue the editor of Kantipur, a cartoonist or a publisher and if you win they may get two years behind bars but they can get out on bail and continue writing whatever they want. This constitution allows such things. How does one deal with this? ......... politicised forces threaten strikes and pen downs? If we try to stop it they will go to the Supreme Court. Another problem. After all, the justices are also human beings they are also affected by what happens outside. Now I hear the Supreme Court wants to dissolve the RCCC........ If they have cast aside the constitution, there is no reason why others should adhere to it. We are battling terrorism, we are fighting anarchy and we have to move ahead by circumventing constitutional provisions.
  • PalPalis Want The Government Also To Agree To A Ceasefire when asked about the ceasefire. “We’re happy”, “it’s good news” or “I can move easily” people say but there is always a but: “But the government should also agree to the ceasefire.” ........ The area has been little disturbed by the conflict because it’s not on a main rebel route. But some months ago some soldiers disguised as Maoists entered one end of the village while two rebels on a motorcycle rode in at the other. After the shooting stopped, one Maoist was dead while the other was wounded and escaped......... “After the ceasefire things like that haven’t happened,” says the headmaster. “People are hoping that if both sides drop their guns there will be peace.” ....... a local NGO worker says things are more relaxed. “I can go anywhere now,” she says, “Before I used to have many problems.” Earlier this year in eastern Palpa about 5,000 Maoists had gathered at a school where she was supposed to train locals. “They interrogated me about our training, why we were doing it, what its benefits would be, who was being paid what. Finally they said OK, you can go ahead,” she recalls. ....... Generally, Maoists act respectfully when they’re on duty, they pay the fare and don’t ask for special treatment, says a young jeep driver on the road from Tansen to Chidipani. As for soldiers: “I have never been harassed by them but I know they have beaten drivers who were forced to give rides to Maoists.”........ The only businesses that are thriving are those linked to the overseas workforce: money transfers and international phone call centres........ The local bank has also left and the police post has relocated..... On one occasion the Red Cross walked for five days to take back prisoners captured by the Maoists. But when the military captures people, half of them don’t come out alive, says one local........ Maoists would occasionally demand food. Soldiers would come after that and say, “if you had not fed them they wouldn’t be here”.
  • Something Is Rotten by CK Lal ...... a mood of anticipation tinged with apprehension about something Big that is about to happen. No one is quite sure what, but it is sure to be significant...... The unilateral ceasefire by the Maoists has caught the state in a bind...... hardcore monarchists are feeling a bit concerned by the proactive rebel ceasefire and pressure from the international community. Regressive elements in the palace may be trying to get the king to hit back decisively....... any such move will be counterproductive....... Prior to February First, we ignored Mohammad Mohsin's prediction of a return to autocracy and look at that happened. Something nasty is cooking once again in the royal political kitchen. The smell is overpowering........ a two-step-back-one-step-forward move ot further consolidate monarchical power? ....... Between Dasain and Tihar, the pendulum of power can swing either way: an even more despotic regime run by the military, or a softer authoritarian version functioning under a multi-party facade........ the parties remain suspicious of their intentions. Civil society is hesitant to give them an unqualified benefit of the doubt. The international community is skeptical. Nobody is taking the Maoist commitment to pluralistic democracy at face value........ the continuation of their non-lethal war through abductions, extortions and indoctrination campaigns. Will they strike back at the state with even more vehemence if the ceasefire isn't transformed into a full-fledged truce? Just look at the past pattern....... what is the alternative vision, slogan, ideology and plan of action to replace this tottering regime? ....... the leaders of political parties ..... their inaction ..... stir an apathetic Nepali public into action ...... Indians fear absolute anarchy in Nepal more than an absolute monarchy and are concentrating their efforts in mainstreaming the Maoists....... civil society is pushing for a government response to the ceasefire and parties say they'll talk to the Maoists. The foreigners say they are stepping up the pressure on the king......
  • The Decisive Indecision Of Our Decision Makers by Kunda Dixit .... the antinationalist private media ..... the ministers are all behind the scenes trying hard to be neither seen nor heard...... that way the ministers can’t make any major mistakes..... decided that under no circumstances is the cabinet to take any decisions about making decisions..... It’s an idiot-proof system of governance because our movers and shakers don’t move at all and very rarely shake...... it was recently discovered that there is a mole in the cabinet who is feeding sensitive information about major ministerial indecisions to the media....... The government hasn’t decided whether it should be the one to decide to respond to the unilateral ceasefire, and if so what that decision should be. “The decision hasn’t been taken on who should decide,” clarified the government spokesman with hesitation...... even the Almighty hasn’t made up his and/or her mind about what to do with Nepal next.
  • His Majesty Should Not Fight The People The war between the state and rebels have escalated after the king’s rule......... The parliamentary parties have intensified their movement on the streets despite facing administrative and legal restrictions and penalties. Literary figures, lawyers, journalists and professionals have joined the anti-king street protest. Politics have come to a standstill.......... the people close to him act superior to the citizens, they act like lords, they conspire and play dirty politics....... The civil service is demoralised, and the introduction of new ordinances, regional and zonal administrations, the monitoring teams have all been causing serious disruptions. Even the controversial appointment or promotion of the chief secretary has been done by the king........ he is doing just the opposite by creating a political vacuum and trying to move ahead by intensifying the war with the political parties......... Civil society has been active and with good reason has launched a moral crusade against the king’s move...... One of the king’s political misfits, Tulsi Giri ...... The question is if the views of the royal appointees also reflect the king’s own views....... it has been running the government with arrogance and vindictiveness........ There is still time for the king to play a positive role...... It is becoming increasingly clear who is against peace. The palace has been opposing peace because it knows that with more peace, the lesser scope will be for dictatorship. It is a well known fact that dictators love crises, problems, poverty, mismanagement and conflict. They know that these are the evils that can help them retain power....... After the unilateral ceasefire, the palace certainly has been on the defensive because it doesn’t wish to see an end to the conflict........ even those who are for peace in the palace have begun to ponder if it is the royalists who have been obstructing peace efforts........ The slogan that there will be no Nepal without a monarchy is outdated feudal talk. What the royalists actually mean by that is that they will wipe out the existence of Nepal if there is no monarchy....... will not only help end conflict but also play an important role in the rehabilitation of conflict-torn countries and disarmament and reintegration of the military wings of conflicting parties......... Kofi Annan has repeatedly said that the Nepali conflict cannot be solved militarily and that the UN offers its offices to help dialogue between the two parties. Given the increased military might of the army and the Maoists and soaring security expenditures, the UN can certainly help in disarmament and demobilisation of both sides. In this context, Prachanda’s point is relevant and there are possibilities of a UN role as elsewhere..... The UN has adequate experience on minimising differences and maximising agreements between warring parties and working on compromise...... The two neighbours have not spoken about the UN’s role so far. Therefore, the UN will need to get the nod from three sides: the Maoists who have already sought such role, the government and Nepal’s two neighbours........ the Secretary General’s special representative, Lakhdar Brahimi, has been holding talks with India, China and the US. He has been trying to receive their cooperation without which it is difficult to see progress towards resolution.

The Foreign Powers Need To Come Clean On The Constituent Assembly Question

Time For The Nepali Congress To Take A Stand On The Constituent Assembly Question (March 19)

China is neutral. It will stay that way even after democracy is earned. China is not an anti-democracy, pro-monarchy power. It is at best a benevolent neighbor that wishes Nepal economic success.

India, US and the EU have been vocal on the democracy question. But those three powers have been even more lethargic than the seven party coalition in Nepal in their willingness to get down to basic arithmetic.

If the Nepali Congress had come around to the idea of a Constituent Assembly in 2000, Nepal would have been spared a lot of pain. Folks, the 1990 constitution is the problem. The Congress is still hung up on the idea of House revival, which is big evidence that party has still not ended its puppy love affair with the 1990 constitution.

This Inadequate, Improper, Insufficient 1990 Constitution (April 4)

For the foreign powers singing the democracy tune, I have this message: a country to be a democracy needs a constitution. And Nepal does not have one. The Supreme Court just decided acts of the king can not be questioned even if those acts violate the very constitution that thus "protects" the king.

There are no constitutional forces in Nepal. The king is not one. The 1990 constitution has died a th0usand deaths. So it makes no sense to talk of a reconciliation between the "constitutional forces."

It is lead, follow, or get out of the way time for the foreign powers. Either you just stay out of it, or you do some basic thinking.

The 1990 constitution is dead, and this king is a problem.

This is about Euclidean logic.

Euclid's Elements, Introduction
Euclid's Elements, Table of Contents

Proposition 4: If two triangles have two sides equal to two sides respectively, and have the angles contained by the equal straight lines equal, then they also have the base equal to the base, the triangle equals the triangle, and the remaining angles equal the remaining angles respectively, namely those opposite the equal sides.

Proposition 1: If the 1990 constitution is a democratic constitution, actions taken by any individual within that constitution is democratic. But if actions taken by an individual claiming to be within the purview of that constitution is undemocratic, either that individual is lying or the constitution itself is undemocratic and fundamentally flawed. And if both be the case, as seems to be, so to herald democracy into the country, you get rid of that individual and the constitution, and give the country a new constitution.

Proposition 2: If a country decides upon democracy, and needs a constitution to cement that sentiment, there is no better way to do it than by taking the country through a Constituent Assembly. And so all forces opposed to the idea of a Constituent Assembly are fundamentally undemocratic and have to be seen as such and opposed as such.

Proposition 3: If there is a major insurgency in the country, you either put it down militarily or, if you decide there is no military solution, only a political solution, as seems to be the case in Nepal that even the king acknowledged a few days back, finally, then you engage the insurgents in a respectful dialogue. In this case since it is already known what the rebels want - an interim government and a Constituent Assembly - then you decide if those demands are just. As they are. And once you decide that to be the case, you work to bring all factions to the conflict around to those demands being met. And especially when the one legitimate force in the country - the seven parties - have the same demand, you hang the third force if you have to, for the sake of peace in the country, if they don't come around to it.

Proposition 4: There are three forces inside the country. Two of them already are for an interim government and a Constituent Assembly, and if the third were also to come around to the same, the civil war would end. And the Maoists have already made it very clear they will happily disarm under UN supervision for elections to a Constituent Assembly. So this is not a group trying to play the Lenin game of using a constituent assembly to move on to a communist republic.

Proposition 5: Any and all forces foreign and domestic that seek peace and democracy for the good of the Nepali people need to either pressure the Monarchists to come around to the idea of an interim government and a Constituent Assembly or need to actively assist the other two forces kick the third force out of the scene. Any other attempt is either naivete at best, or cruel at worst.

Proposition 6: The foreign powers need to get ready to recognize the interim government of the seven parties once it is declared after the mass movement for democracy has reached a critical mass. Either you are for democracy, or you are not. There is no in between.

Sadbhavana Meets In Janakpur

The Maoists Must Continue With The Ceasefire

By their own admission, the Maoists did not declare the ceasefire for the Monarchists. They did it for the democrats. Sporadic clashes here and there with the RNA should fall in the "active defence" category. And they should continue to maintain the ceasefire. The movement of the seven parties that they do support needs that space.

On their part, the seven parties need to speed up the dialogue. Delayed dialogue could lead to a formal breakdown of the ceasefire. The movement can not afford that. Just when massive preparations are underway.

Start at the final step: a Maoist party that is no longer armed and is functioning within a multi-party framework. Then come backwards from there. And dialogue makes so much sense. Because there is no other way.

The Maoists are better off fighting the war of words than the war of bullets at this stage. Let the world know how the RNA continues to hun them and is in no mood for peace. This is an image war. Talk of RNA abductions and excesses. That is how you cash on the ceasefire. By telling the world every day how the RNA is not coming along.

If the RNA manages to provoke you into breaking the ceasefire, you lose. It is almost like who will blink first.

The Democrats Must Do Some Homework

The democrats need to do some arithmetic. 2+2=4.

Narahari Acharya is in news talking some sense. There are too many contradictions right now in terms of where the seven parties stand. You want a political solution to the insurgency, but you refuse to hold dialogue with the Maoists. You are for a republic, but you want the king to become so powerful he should revive a House that can not be revived. You want to revive the House, which is to say you want to revive the 1990 constitution. But you are for a Constituent Assembly, which is to say you think the country needs a news constitution. You are agitated the country has been in a mess for years now, but you are in no hurry to kickstart the mass movement.

King's remark revival of 2017 BS: NSP (A)

The National Working Committee meeting of the Nepal Sadbhawana Party- Anandidevi NSP (A) that concluded in Janakpur Saturday has described the King's recent remarks as a revival of 2017 BS (1960).

"Late king Mahendra had also made such remarks in 2017 BS. The present king repeated those remarks in Lalitpur," reports quoted General Secretary of the party Hridayesh Tripathi as saying.

King Mahendra in December, 1960, had dissolved parliament, banished political parties and imprisoned many democratic leaders ushering in the Panchayat era.

King Gyanendra had, during his Lalitupr visit on Thursday, said that some "unnecessary acts" were being carried out in the capital with foreign money.

The meeting also protested the king's directives to shift zonal and regional headquarters in Dhankuta and Surkhet. "It is against the madhesi community," it said.

The meeting has also called a joint meeting of all seven political parties on Sunday.

In The News
  • CIAA begins probe against former KMC mayor for irregularities NepalNews
  • King’s UN visit was cancelled to oppose US boycott: Dr Giri US President George Bush didn’t invite Nepali delegates at a reception he hosted in the honour of international dignitaries on the occasion of the opening of the 60th General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. This led to the cancellation of His Majesty King's visit to the UN...... cancelled in order to show objection to the decision of the US President ...... “By cancelling His Majesty’s visit we have expressed our dissatisfaction towards the American attitude....... "Inviting only selected people for the reception and leaving others was something unexpected,” Dr Giri said, insisting that the cancellation of the King’s visit didn’t imply that the present administration had become unable to defend the Feb 1 royal move in the international arena........ Including Nepal, altogether 11 countries dubbed as 'undemocratic' were denied invitation at the Bush reception....... not only against the diplomatic protocol it was also an arrogant display of power....... made it a point to vent ire against the political parties for suggesting the international community to boycott the King at the UN assembly. “What kind of political atmosphere do these parties want to establish in this country?” ........
  • Eight rebels killed in clashes: RNA Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) said a total of eight Maoist rebels were killed in separate clashes over the last two days....... the first major clash after the declaration of unilateral ceasefire by the Maoist rebels ..... Bahadurpur area of Palpa district ...... two way gun battle....... a team of security personnel on regular patrol were attacked by the insurgents. He said then opened fire in which the rebels were killed. He said six other rebels were also taken into custody....... a separate incident, the RNA said two rebels were killed during clashes at Ausidada area in the eastern district of Tehrathum....... security personnel recovered bombs, explosives and documents related to the Maoists from the site of the clashes...... Maoist sources have said of six rebels killed at Bahadurpur area of Palpa district, one was a villager. They said the security personnel have also taken into custody two people from Koldada area of Palpa district including an Area Secretary of the Maoist party, Prem Dhakal....... Maoists said security personnel have taken into custody two people from Ghiring area of Tanahun district including a member of Maoist-affiliated All Nepal Women's Association, Sushila Basyal........ Earlier, Maoist chairman Prachanda had alleged the government of intensifying its security operations and provoking his party to withdraw unilateral ceasefire.......
  • Koirala’s ill health and politics of confrontation 83-year-leader had left Kathmandu for Biratnagar ...... doctors had advised Koirala to take full rest for the next few months. ...... Koirala may be taken to Delhi, Chennai or even further for treatment ..... Koirala had fainted and got one of his ribs broken during a scuffle between opposition activists and police in Kathmandu while heading a pro-democracy demonstration early this month........ authorities neither sought apology nor furnished explanation for the police behavior against Koirala........ bringing together seven odd-parties against the royal move—majority of which are communists....... even persuaded them to buy his party’s main agenda—reinstatement of the House of Representatives that was dissolved by his disciple-turned-rival Sher Bahadur Deuba three years ago........ Koirala never became popular while in office....... his unfinished agenda now include restoration of democracy in the country by drastically reducing powers of the monarchy, bringing the Maoists into political mainstream, and bringing his party back to the helms of power ........ His critics within the party say Koirala is also keen to install his successor in Nepali Congress — preferably from his own family......... In his absence, the mantle will fall upon UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal to lead the opposition alliance...... On Saturday, he even challenged the king to go to the people to check which one was more popular—a system of monarchy or a republic....... could result into chaos, anarchy and even foreign military intervention...... G P Koirala has been insisting that reinstatement of the dissolved parliament is the only option to bring the derailed constitution back on track and creating an environment where popular democratic forces and a true ‘constitutional monarch’ could work together for the modernization and development of the country........
  • King's remark revival of 2017 BS: NSP (A)
  • No taxation without representation: DNYO has called upon taxpayers in the country including industrialists and businessmen not to pay taxes to what it called the ‘autocratic regime.’ ........ toughening stand of the opposition parties against the royal regime ...... appealed all not to pay taxes until the country returns to democracy....... “We have not paid taxes to buy arms and ammunition only to suppress people” ...... any possibility of dialogue and reconciliation with the king were now exhausted...... boycott all public functions of the ministers of the present cabinet...... participated in by over 470 delegates from around the country......
  • Another royal move in the offing: Madhav Nepal
  • Crown Prince inaugurates golden jubilee ceremony the 28th anniversary function of Janak Education Production Center ...... minister Mainali said the government was mulling over printing question papers and certificates within the country itself.
  • India hit by Nepal fertiliser scam:, India
  • Miffed king blames int'l community: Nepal Kathmandu Post, Nepal
  • Hearing Adjourned for Third Time on Case Against Giri Himalayan Times, Nepal the third time that the apex court has adjourned the hearing even after the case was scheduled for hearing on the bench. Justice Hari Jung Sijapati today adjourned the hearing citing lack of time for the hearing on the case. Previously, Justices Top Bahadur Magar and Khil Raj Regmi had adjourned the case citing same reasons.
  • Guide Aims to Help Bloggers Beat Censors Wyoming News, WY
  • Top Maoist Leaders in Dhading Surrender Twelve active activists of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) including the so-called chairman and the vice-chairman of the Maoists’ people government in Dhading district surrendered before the district administration this afternoon. Buddhi Lal Shrestha, the chairman, and Bishnu Bahadur Praja, the vice-chairman, of the Maoists’ people government of the district, secretary Hom Bahadur Shrestha and other members surrendered before the administration. Other members who surrendered are: Jit Bahadur Rijal, Kumal Singh Rijal, Man Bahadur Praja, Jir Bahadur Chepang, Somati Chepang, Basu Praja, Baghsingh Chepang, Kabiraj Chepang and Chakra Bahadur Bishwokarma. Baghsingh Chepang (75), who also surrendered before the local administration, said, "We surrendered before the administration as we want to pass our lives in peace and freedom. Maoists had forcefully made us involved in their activities." Those who surrendered in the presence of Dhading Chief District Officer Ramsaran Chimoriya were released on the witness of Keshav Adhikari, general secretary of RILEK, a human rights organisation.
  • Mahat Confused: Acharya Himalayan Times “I have heard that the party spokes-person, in a television interview, said that the party could reconsider its decision on the monarchy provided the dissolved parliament is revived,” he said while addressing a programme at the Reporters’ Club. Acharya said it was not easy to reverse the decision taken by the convention even if the parliament were revived. “There will emerge an ideological crisis if the decision of the convention is altered or misinterpreted,” he said. He made it clear the NC deleted all references related to monarchy after the party, which was involved in drafting three constitutions, failed to make the monarchy a truly constitutional head over the past 50 years.
  • Election Commissioner resolute on holding municipal polls "It is meaningless to discuss the participation of political parties until the date for election is fixed." .... the people will force the parties to participate in the election.
  • Supreme Court Rejects Lawsuit Against King Citing Article 13 UWB Supreme Court today rejected a lawsuit filed against the king claiming that the Feb 1 takeover should be revoked because it was against the constitution. The lawsuit filed by advocate Ramkishore Mahato also demanded a court ruling that would order the defendant (the king) to abide by the constitution. “Posts like Chair/Vice-chair of the council of ministers are aginst the constitution,” advocate claimed. The Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit stating that the article 13 of the constitution forbids anyone from questioning the acts of the king. It is appropriate to note that the king staged the Feb 1 takeover with the shield of Article 127 of the same constitution.

The Maoist Ceasefire: The Devil In The Details

It is hard to declare and then maintain a unilateral ceasefire when the state security forces continue to hunt you. It is an action-reaction thing. The Monarchists do not recognize the Maoists, and the Maoists return the favor. The Monarchists did not want to talk to the Maoists, and the Maoists don't want to talk to the king.

The king has no intention to either reciprocate the ceasefire or to seek international mediation to monitor the Maoist ceasefire, or to engage in mutual trust-building measures.

And so it would be unrealistic to think the Maoists would suddenly get all pure and all that.

There are continued reports of abductions and extortions. The Maoists might see that as taxation and education. But the Maoists have to realize it is no longer time for just what they think. Got to make room for what the democrats think. If the democrats think it is abductions and extortions, that is what it is, or at least there is a major disagreement.

Besides, you don't order a people into a movement. You inspire them into it.

So the Maoists need to go one step further and stop their non-violent violence as well. It is great they have dramatically brought down the violence. But there can be a meaningful alliance only if they also give the impression they know what peaceful protests are all about. The people should join you out of free will, or not.

My first choice is of a transformation of the Maoists into one of the largest parties in Nepal within a multi-party framework. And they can not be half in this boat, and half in the other boat.
So, yes, no longer firing upon the RNA soldiers is not enough. It is even more important to stop the abductions and the extortions. Because that is to do with the unarmed general population, the very people who this democracy movement is being organized for.

If the Maoists can cooperate with the democrats more fully, the movement can see a positive resolution earlier. Otherwise, there will be unnecessary delays.

So, good thing you stopped the violence. Now stop the abductions and the extortions. Let the seven parties organize peaceful protest programs in every village, every town. Join if you can. Or organize your own peaceful protest programs separately.

In short, go beyond the ceasefire to strengthen the Maoist-Democrat alliance.

The Maoists are not indispensable to success for the democracy movement. But it would be nice if they came along. For them as well for us.

You would abduct to recruit more people for you. You would extort to make your party richer.

Both are self-defeating. If you abduct, and word spreads, you end up with fewer supporters in the long run to the constituent assembly. Extortion does the same thing.

The Maoists did the hard part with the ceasefire. Now they should not fail to do the easy part, to refrain from abductions and extortions.

In The News

  • Govt forms probe committee on Krishna KC’s re-arrest, Nepal government today formed a committee to investigate into the re-arrest of Krishna KC, former vice-chairman of the Maoist-aligned All Nepal National Independent Students Union (ANNISU-R), even after a release order by the Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday...... one-member panel under former secretary Narendra Kumar Shrestha has been give a seven days timeframe to present a report on the incident.
  • Another royal move in the offing: Madhav Nepal, Nepal .... the royal palace is preparing to stage a fresh ‘regressive move’, which "will be worst than the royal proclamations of October 4 (2002) and the February 1 this year" ..... “I would describe such a move as ‘crackdown’” ..... Accusing the royal palace and ‘royalist elements’ of trying to impose absolute military rule and threaten the very existence of the political parties .... “The days ahead will be very tough” ..... also directed the party workers to stay prepared for a decisive stir against ‘royal autocracy’. “I call upon the party ranks to be prepared to create a storm of agitations without having any fear or sense of terror.”
  • Madhav Nepal Points at Worst Case Scenario Himalayan Times, Nepal
  • King promulgates four new ordinances, Nepal the Ordinance Related to Insolvency (2005 B.S), the Security Transaction Ordinance (2005 B.S), the Ordinance Related to Securities (2005 B.S) and the Ordinance Related to the Amendment of Some Nepal Acts Concerning Import and Export and Intellectual Property
  • Turning To China For Weapons Strategy Page In the last week, Maoists have kidnapped over 2,000 students and teachers in western Nepal. Kidnapping is used to indoctrinate the young, and recruit some of them into rebel combat units. Those who resist are killed. The Maoists do not consider these operations a violation of their truce....... the Nepalese have decided to buy assault rifles and ammo from the Chinese..... India is preparing a large scale attack on its own 9,000 Maoist rebels, who are becoming increasingly active, and violent, throughout eastern and central India....... The Maoist truce is largely a sham. The rebels continue to kidnap, extort and intimidate. They apparently consider "truce" to mean no mass attacks on government bases. The army and police are not observing the truce, and continue to pursue rebel units in rural areas.
  • Academics stage protests across the country Kantipur Online, Nepal
  • A Study Of NRN Ordinance, Nepal
  • : Villagers Await Gov't Nod to Peace Inter Press Service (subscription), World
  • Academics take to streets in Pokhara Kantipur Online, Nepal
  • Guide Aims to Help Bloggers Beat Censors Wyoming News, WY
  • Nepalese welcome king’s first public walkabout Gulf Times, Qatar
  • Support for Nepal's king vanishing Washington Times, DC
  • US for King, parties reconciliation Kantipur Online, Nepal
  • Maoists not a legitimate political force: US, Nepal
  • Senior citizens to hold rally, Nepal
  • Dr Tulsi Giri Kathmandu Post, Nepal
  • ‘King's indifference pushing nation to crisis’ Kathmandu Post, Nepal
  • Maoists, parties share common forum Kathmandu Post, Nepal For the first time, Maoists and members of the seven political parties agitating against the "regression", came together at a gathering organized in Phulbari of Kailali on the occasion of the International Day of Peace on Thursday..... representatives of Maoists and political party leaders stressed that democratic republicanism and constituent assembly were the only means to end the ongoing conflict in the country...... Kailali district secretary of CPN-UML, Yagya Raj Bastola, maintained that they shared a common mission with the Maoists only for abolition of monarchy...... Maoist representative Krishna Bahadur Chaudhary urged political parties to run their activities in the rural area against the Feb 1 royal move.......
  • NC deploys leaders across the country representatives will address zonal mass meetings and carry out protest rallies of the alliance on September 27...... Bal Bahadur Rai, Ram Chandra Poudel, Chandra Singh Bhattarai and Bhim Bahadur Tamang have been assigned to go to Mechi, Koshi, Sagarmatha and Janakpur zones, respectively. Arjun Narsingh KC, Krishna Sitoula, Mahesh Acharya and Sujata Koirala have been assigned to work in Narayani, Bagmati, Gandaki and Lumbini zones, respectively. Similarly, in Rapti, Karnali, Bheri, Seti and Mahakali zones, Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, Mina Pandey, Sushil Koirala, Dil Bahadur Gharti and Dr Sashank Koirala have been deployed....... CPN-UML Central Peoples' Movement Committee, on Friday, discussed deploying its leaders and cadres across the country in order to sensitize the party's policies and decisions. Addressing the meeting today, party General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal ruled that party leaders and cadres must go to the local level and collect peoples' support for the movement. "We have to bring 500,000 people to the streets of Kathmandu in the coming winter," Nepal said..... The octogenerian leader who was re-elected for the third consecutive term last month is planning to stay on leave for a few months for medical check up and and rest.
  • KC's rearrest draws flak Kathmandu Post, Nepal
  • US to coax king for peace .... the US is working with India and the UK to persuade King Gyanendra to reconcile with political parties and lay the groundwork for national elections.....