Dreams Deferred: Peace & Democracy In Nepal
Dreams Deferred: Peace & Democracy In Nepal
By Dr Hari Bansha Dulal
The US ambassador to Nepal, James F Moriarty is perhaps the most hated man amongst the radical Maoists. They love to hate him for the precision with which he assesses their dubious motives and covert operations and makes matters worse for them by publicizing these motives. With his tenure winding down, Moriarty may be the last man standing in Nepali soil that dares to counter Maoist propaganda eloquently, effectively, and consistently.
Moriarty had questioned Maoist commitment to complete disarmament long before CP Gajurel, a Maoist ideologue and central committee member, revealed among the Maoist sympathizers in Jawahar Lal Nehru University that they had raised the strength of their army from 10,000 to 37,000 after the fall of King Gyanendra's regime. Gajurel's recent revelation clearly shows that Moriarty was correct in his assessments when he made it public long before Gajurel did.
As far as the surrender of weapons to the United Nations is concerned, Moriarty had bluntly said that Maoists are acquiring "crummy weapons" from the Indian state of Bihar for locking up in cantonments, while retaining the "modern weapons" they already have. Gajurel's recent revelation has confirmed Moriarty's claim: Maoists not only bought "crummy weapons" but also are buying modern weapons to launch a city-centered revolution in the near future.
When Gajurel said that the Maoist military strength had increased from 10,000 to 37,000, he was also indirectly noting that if they had 10,000 guns before, they now had 27,000 more. An army is considered an army only when it is armed and the Maoists know it better than anyone else. The recent terai agitation has opened their eyes in terms of their existence in the absence of weapons.
Maoists cannot refute the fact that they are not buying weapons to arm these additional 27,000 recruits; if they do, they are not telling the truth this time around too. An army without weapons cannot be considered an army; at best, they can be considered as scouts and the Maoists know very well that a city-centered revolution is impossible with scouts.
When ambassador Moriarty accused the Maoists of acquiring and submitting only "crummy weapons" to the UN disarmament officials, Maoists used their dearest sympathizer in the cabinet -- Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula -- to do the dirty laundry.
According to unofficial reports, Maoists have so far surrendered less than 4000 weapons out of which around 500 are not functional. If we count, it becomes evident that the weapons surrendered by the Maoists approximately match the number of weapons they had captured from the Nepal Army, Armed Police Force, and Nepali Police during the so-called people's war. What happened to the "modern weapons" that Maoists claim to have bought during the course of people's war?
Sitaula, instead of taking time and trying to find out the truth behind the statement, preferred to believe the Maoists for whatever reasons it may be and discredited ambassador's claim. However, the total number of weapons surrendered by the Maoists and Gajurel's recent revelation shows how our ministers misinform those very people whom they are supposed to keep abreast of every detail of the ongoing peace process.
Gajurel's recent revelation has proved that instead of disarming the militiamen, Maoists are actually increasing their military strength. How good of a job is Sitaula doing as home minister? Isn't it his duty, not a foreign diplomat's, to blow the proverbial whistle when there is foul play on the part of Maoists? Shouldn't he be morally responsible and accountable for misinforming people? He deluded his constituents when he discredited Moriarty's claim that Maoists were not being truthful to their commitment. If he cannot gather rather accurate information, he should not be at least misguiding the citizens.
Recently, Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said, "The Maoists have not produced any details of their expenditure." The government had provided Rs 350 million to Maoist spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara for necessary arrangements in all cantonments for Maoist combatants.
If we try to connect the dots and analyze the chain of statements from ambassador Moriarty to Dr Mahat, it is easy enough to ascertain where the taxpayers' money, handed over to Maoists as a "cash prize," is being spent.
The breakdown of data given by Dr Mahat shows that Maoists needed 63 million rupees each month to feed their 35,000 guerillas each month. However, Gajurel's revelation that they have raised their army strength from 10,000 to 37,000 clearly shows that the Maoists never had 35,000 militiamen to begin with. How could the government squander the taxpayers' hard-earned money without the proper homework to ascertain the real strength of the Maoist militia that was to be fed, clothed, and housed?
It is clear that the money that was given to feed, house, and clothe the 25,000 militiamen that never existed was spent, in reality, to increase the strength of their militia. Thus, the taxpayers' money which was handed over to the Maoists without proper homework has in turn exacerbated an already dire security situation and made the road to peace, stability, democracy difficult than ever.
It is not only about money but what the money given to take care off guerillas that never existed has done in terms of securing peace, stability, and democracy in the nation. Instead of contributing to the establishment of peace, security, and democracy, it has threatened these very ideals it was supposed to secure. In addition, Gajurel's revelation about the initial strength of the Maoist militia has demonstrated how easily the Maoists can fool our government and not be accountable for their actions.
The recent statements by Moriarty, Sitaula, Gajurel and Dr Mahat clearly show how murky the peace process is. It does not take Einstein's brain to come to the conclusion that Maoists have successfully hijacked the mandate of the people's movement II and the people's aspirations to peace, stability, and democracy, by using the very people who were supposed to defend the people's right to freedom and democracy. They are slowly, but firmly, building the foundation for establishing a proletarian communist state by skillfully using the SPA leaders that vouch for democracy.
An unprecedented surge in the Maoist military recruitment by using the taxpayers' money can be considered the most brilliant path devised by communists in modern times to defeat democracy and establish a proletarian communist state so far. Never in the history of mankind has such a successful plan been devised which misused the very money of the state that is run predominantly by the people that stand for multiparty democracy to recruit militiamen whose main aim is to undermine and ultimately defeat the existence of multiparty democracy and establish a proletarian communist state.
The sad part of the ongoing peace process is that while the Maoists, who have been double crossing the government thus far, have revealed their plan to initiate a city-centered revolution soon, the government is still glued to the wishful thinking of believing that things would fall into place once Maoists join the government. The government has no contingent strategy whatsoever to counter the Maoist threat of a city-centered revolution. This lack of sensitivity on the part of our politicians shows that the mindset of a time before King Gyanendra's rule still prevails.
Gajurel's recent revelation has sent chills over the spines of the Nepali citizens that have always dreamt of an inclusive democracy and the right to freedom of expression. With the revelation of an increase in Maoist military might and the initiation of a city-centered revolution, it begs the question: In an attempt to save ourselves from one monster—a repressive monarch—have we fallen into the clutches of another, (CPN Maoist)? Hopefully we will be luckier than the North Koreans and Cubans in translating our dreams of peace, stability and democracy into a reality.
The article was published in The Kathmandu Post on 02-20-2007
Environmental Science and Public Policy
George Mason University