P B Khatri: Nepal - Lessons from Gaur Incident
Nepal: Lessons from Gaur Incident
By P B Khatri
The Gaur incident is truly a horrendous incident in the historical chronology of mass killings over the decade in Nepal. The barbaric mass killings by the Maoists in various occasions during their so called people's war including Bandermudhe (Madhi), the Palace Massacre are yet other such killings which will be remembered as black days in the history of Nepal.
The Gaur incident is occurred when the Maoists has already joined the interim parliament and they are about to join the interim government. Those killed in the incidents are young cadres of the Maoist Young Communist League (YCL) which is formed by the Maoists as a tool to confront other parties during the constituent assembly election. It will be relevant to look back the formation and activities of YCL before we go in to the subject. The YCL is formed simultaneously with the management of Maoist combatants and arms. Most members of the YCL are either those combatants whom the Maoists didn't want to confine in to the cantonments, or those child combatants who are not eligible to register as combatants. The Maoists also recruited large number of cadres during ceasefire period by giving assurances that they will ultimately be inducted in to the national army, which are also inducted as YCL member. They are claimed to be unarmed, however, they are given extensive training of unarmed combat, and large number of them with the background of militants can operate all kinds of small arms and improvised explosives. Most of the commanders carry unregistered small arms as well.
Over the last several months, these YCL cadres are employed to occupy the houses of various so called landlords and royalists who are blacklisted by the Maoists party, kidnapping the people, forcefully collecting the donations, extorting money, vandalizing the opponents and most importantly confronting with other political parties. Their main targets various Madhesi organizations that are raising their voice for Madheshi freedom. They are also involved in various social activities to give some positive gestures such as traffic control, cleaning cities and so on. The Maoists has also formed a front in Terai to wipe out various Madhesi organizations that are active in Terai. Most of the activities by the Maoists party in general and YCL in particular are above the rules of law and they are openly challenging the present government. The Maoists party and YCL are free to do anything due to kind courtesy of Home Minister. In many occasions Home Minister intervened while the security forces tried to control the wrong doing of Maoists.
The local administration in Gaur virtually couldn't do anything to prevent the confrontation between Madhesi fprum and Maoists front and YCL. In fact the Madhesi Forum planned a mass meeting in Gaur long ago and their leader Upendra Yadav was supposed to address the meeting. With a view to disrupt the Forum's program, the Maoists also planned mass meeting in same venue by openly challenging the Forum. The Maoists mobilized large number of YCL cadres from Makwanpur, Bara, Parsa and Rautahat to show the muscles. Confrontation was imminent as both parties gathered with all sorts of arms. The weak part of local administration was that they couldn't visualize the consequences thereby couldn't impose preventive measures. Since the Maoists are getting all sorts of privilege and leverage from Home Minister the local administration couldn't dare to challenge Maoists for stopping their mass meeting in the same venue. They could have imposed restrictions or curfew which they didn't do for some reason. The ultimate result was such which was much unexpected. Those who are victims of Gaur incidents are newly recruited cadres of YCL and member of various labour organizations but all of them are affiliated to Maoist party.
In essence, the Maoists party and their organization YCL and Maoist affiliated Front must take main responsibility of Gaur incident as they planned their mass meeting in Gaur to challenge and confront with the Forum. Had there been low turn out from Forum side the victims would have been other way round (in the Forum side). The second blame obviously goes to Forum as they killed and mutilated mass in inhumane manner which is certainly a crime against humanity. The local administration including police forces will also have to take some responsibility as they couldn't take preventive actions to curve the violence. The present Home Minister and the Maoists leadership are the biggest culprits as their policy and action paved the way to happen incident like Gaur. The Home Minister is becoming so kind to Maoists party that he is acting like one of the aide to Maoist leader Prachanda and the Maoist Party is protecting him as their own cadre. The reason why terai uprising is escalating day by day is that the government has not been able to bring the Madhesi leaders on the table for dialogue. One of the preconditions of Madhesis are they demand some one to take responsibility of killing of about 40 people (almost double the number of those killed in Jana-Andolan II) in Terai uprising. Madhesi people think that it is the Home Minister who should take responsibility of all the losses of life and properties due to excessive use force and he should resign on moral ground. But, the Maoist leadership is blocking Home Minister to resign even when the leaders from Nepali Congress itself are also demanding his resignation. This has hampered to build an environment conducive to initiate dialogue; as a result terai problem is worsening day by day. As a matter of fact the first fuel poured in terai uprising was by the Maoist in Lahan when they shot dead one of the activists of Madhesi forum. In Gaur also eyewitness claims that first bullet was fired by the Maoists.
The attitude of Maoists is not favouring to establish peaceful environment to hold election in near future. The terror of Maoist weapons has not stopped even after they joined interim parliament. The incomplete arms and combatants management by UNMIN is yet another key factor which has created score of problems even inside the parliament. Manhandling of politicians, businessmen and ordinary people are key indicators how the Maoists have transformed themselves during transition period. The main motive behind the formation of organizations like YCL, Morcha etc is faulty that they will create problems rather than solving any problem.
First of all, it is high time that the Home Minister should resign which will pave the way to initiate dialogue with Madhis organizations. Second of all if the eight parties (SPAM) are not serious for all inclusive democracy to accommodate all (including madhesis, janajati, indigenous people, Dalit, minorities and even royalist) then more violence and bloodshed is inevitable and peace in Nepal will not be achievable, at least not in faceable future. They all are Nepalese and they all deserve space in inclusive democracy.