Attempts to Implant Communal Violence in Nepal
Attempts to Implant Communal Violence in Nepal
Imported Communal Violence Kills Dozens
by Mohan Nepali, Kathmandu
More than 30 people have already been reported dead due to communal violence in the Kapilvastu district of Nepal. The violence began when a group of unidentified gunmen on 16 September shot dead a local leader with obvious links with Nepal’s king, Nepali Congress (Democratic) and Indian groups. More than 5,000 people have already been displaced while hundreds of houses have been burnt down. People are still leaving their homes due to the blind killing continued by criminal gangs. Political parties, human rights organizations, including the Nepal-based UN systems, have criticized the Nepal government for not being able to respond promptly to the security needs of civilians. Nepal’s Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula Friday visited the headquarters of the Kapilvastu district after six days of the eruption of violence that has claimed dozens of lives. This has angered the local people. They have lost their faith in the state.
During King’s rule before 2006, the state-sponsored vigilante groups armed and led by the state army had murdered 21 people and burnt down 700 houses in the same district.
When King Gyanedra imposed his direct rule on the people through a military-aided coup on 1 February 2005, people had to suffer immeasurably. All the communication systems were cut off. Nepal was almost cut off from the international community. Political leaders and workers were detained incommunicado. People were highly discontented because they were suppressed. They were not even allowed to gather in five’s. On the one hand, the king was moving here and there giving political speeches of genuine democracy and human rights, and on the other, people were being suppressed massively everywhere. This situation brought the Nepalis to the opposite site of monarchy. They began to debate about the rationale of monarchy. They discussed the history of monarchy and its black deeds. Thus, the majority of people came to the conclusion that monarchy preserving feudal structures would no longer be Nepal’s path. Consequently, they changed their frustration into fire against monarchy.
When the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) agreed on the Maoist agenda of the Constituent Assembly and the abolition of the feudal rule, they were able to sign a memo of understanding containing 12 points in favor of democracy, human rights and people’s sovereignty. This understanding referred to ending autocracy. Its implication was that they at least theoretically agreed that feudal monarchy and democracy cannot go together. When the SPA and the Maoist insurgents decided to fight against royal autocracy with one goal of abolishing the feudal regime, this decision highly excited the Nepali grassroot people. They overwhelmingly participated in the democratic movement despite scarcity of street leadership. The Nepalis across Nepal defied 19-day curfews and showed their immense resistance power against autocracy. They produced their street verdict of republic. But before they were able to remove the king from the palace, some kind of understanding was secretly reached between the palace and the SPA. This resulted in the reinstitution of the House of Representatives dissolved long ago. The SPA did not directly want to abolish the feudal monarchy with people’s verdict and mandate as the US Administration was stressing on the unity between the parties and the feudal monarchy to defeat Maoist ‘terrorism’. However, the SPA and the people thought monarchists were bigger ‘terrorists’ compared to others. They therefore united with Maoists against monarchial terrorism in the country. Even the 19 days of continuous curfews could not protect the king’s direct rule backed by the army that sat at editorial desks of mainstream media houses. The king had to retreat embarrassingly.
The Nepalis did not buy SPA’s idea of preserving monarchy. They overwhelmingly support the idea of the immediate declaration of republic. Due to some kind of secret compromise with the monarch, the SPA is hesitating to accept the timely offer because they might have taken some undue advantages from the palace for their secret compromise for the House restoration and so might be facing threats from the palace. Therefore, they do not want to take any risk of declaring a republic as per the street mandate given by the overwhelming majority across the country. It is the SPA that compromised with the king for House restoration that derailed the stormy movement. The SPA, composed of traditionalist and status-quoist parties, postponed the mass protests acceleratingly heading towards the republic and the replacement of the traditional leaderships.
Today monarchy is on the verge of extinction. Monarchists are hopeless and are ready to do anything for revenge. Monarchists claim they are going to conduct a guerrilla war for preserving monarchy as a compulsory component of the Nepali society. The currently ruling major political parties, viz, Congress and UML, have a high level political and moral crisis. They have already been tested by people for more than a decade. Their indulgence in corruption, nepotism-favoritism and nexus with criminal groups have caused people’s loss of faith in them. What Nepal faces today is the crisis of political leadership. As far as Maoists are concerned, they are yet to be tested by people. They have just entered the mainstream peace process and they have expressed their commitment to pluralist democracy with individual freedom. Thus, the scarcity of political leadership has provided ample space for the veteran monarchist gamblers to show their skills. Communal strategy is the latest one that the most frustrated monarchists have been utilizing with the help of extremist Indian Hindu leaders.
Communalism is quite new to Nepal. Some are trying to import it into Nepal from the Indian borders. In India, communal politics, extremely de-humanized and criminalized, is at the peak. There is no calculation of deaths linked to communal violence. Some criminal-minded individuals, usually those with linkages with Indian criminal gangs involved in robberies and smuggling, are trying their best to initiate an industry of communal violence in Nepal as well. Neither media nor legal investigation has been done in reference to it. Yet, the Nepali political forces need to understand this serious implication before the country falls into a communal quagmire.
More and more superficial armed groups are emerging in the plains of Nepal. Even looting and robbing gangs have formed their armed groups with leadership hierarchy. They kidnap people and ask for money. They call a general strike in their areas and explode bombs. In this volatile situation, there are many bad things that monarchists, as a final resort, may do. But the current government of Nepal in no way seems able to cope with all these things because they have prioritized their own vested interests and undermined the most sensitive humanitarian issues such as communal killing in the name of race or origin. Criminal groups are exercising to deeply implant the communal violence in the soil of Nepal that never witnessed it before. The present government leadership, especially in the Home and Defence affairs, needs to be replaced as soon as possible. Or impunity will be internationally alarming enough to draw the irresponsible leaders and executives up to the International Court of Justice.