Nepal | May 28, 2020

Maoists mark 20 years since war began

Agence France Presse
Share Now:
Cadres of the Unified CPN-Maoist holding a candlelight vigil to mark the 20th ‘People’s War Day’, in Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu, on Saturday. Photo: THT

Cadres of the Unified CPN-Maoist holding a candlelight vigil to mark the 20th ‘People’s War Day’, in Maitighar Mandala, Kathmandu, on Saturday. Photo: THT

Kathmandu, February 13

Nepal’s former Maoist rebels paid tribute to fallen comrades Saturday in a ceremony marking 20 years since the start of an insurgency that transformed the Himalayan nation from a Hindu monarchy to a secular republic.

On 13 February, 1996, Maoist guerrillas attacked a police post in western Nepal’s Rolpa district, launching a decade-long civil war that eventually claimed some 16,000 lives and left hundreds of people missing.

Hundreds of Maoist cadres gathered at the party’s office in Kathmandu, waving red flags as senior leaders placed garlands on the “martyr’s pillar” — a monument built to honour fallen and missing combatants. The rebels laid down arms in 2006 before entering politics and eventually helping to draft the country’s new national constitution.

Introduced in September, the charter established Nepal as a secular federal republic, reflecting Maoist ideology.

“The constitution is the product of our war and we… take ownership of the new constitution,” Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal, better known by his nom-de-guerre Prachanda, told cheering cadres in Kathmandu.

But for many ordinary Nepalis, who voted for the party in Nepal’s first constituent assembly elections held in 2008, the Maoists failed to deliver on their pledge of bringing equality and progress to the deeply feudal country.

“Many people lost their lives, many went missing or became disabled so things would change in this country,” Rina Tamang, a shopkeeper in Kathmandu, told AFP.

“Now we have a new constitution but we are still waiting for the change the Maoists promised us. Personally, I have no hope left anymore,” the 39-year-old said.

After sweeping to victory in the 2008 polls, the former rebels soon came under fire for abandoning revolutionary ideals and developing a taste for luxury.

They alienated their voter base and crashed out in Nepal’s second constituent assembly elections in 2013, finishing in third place.

“A few leaders compromised on their promises, a few betrayed the revolution for lucrative positions in government… all this needs to be rectified to bring real change,” said former guerrilla, Laxmi Prasad Chaulagain.

The constitution, the first drawn up by elected representatives, was meant to bolster Nepal’s transformation into a peaceful democratic republic after decades of political instability.

But it has instead sparked violence, with more than 50 people killed in clashes between police and demonstrators from Nepal’s Madhesi ethnic minority, who say it leaves them politically marginalised.

Ongoing discussions between the government and protesting parties have failed to yield an agreement.

A version of this article appears in print on February 14, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

Follow The Himalayan Times on Twitter and Facebook

Recommended Stories:

More from The Himalayan Times:

US President Donald Trump, Twitter account

Twitter fact-checks Trump tweet for the first time

SAN FRANCISCO: Twitter on Tuesday for the first time prompted readers to check the facts in tweets sent by US President Donald Trump, warning that his claims about mail-in ballots were false and had been debunked by fact checkers. The move marked a dramatic shift for the social network, Trump Read More...

Darchula Nepali stranded

Indecision prevails on managing migrants mulling return to Nepal

KATHMANDU, MAY 26 The government is yet to take any concrete decision on how to manage quarantine and health facilities, accommodation and visa process for those preparing to return to the country from abroad, including those from major labour destinations. Government officials have made frequ Read More...

More PCR tests necessary for accurate diagnosis

Kathmandu, May 26 A woman, who tested positive for coronavirus infection and was undergoing treatment at Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital, tested negative twice in the rapid diagnostic test. However, she tested positive for the infection in the polymerase chain reaction test in the National Read More...

Home quarantined pregnant woman dies in Saptari

Rajbiraj, May 26 A pregnant woman staying in home quarantine at Simara Chowk of Kanchanrup Municipality, Saptari, died today. Saptari District Hospital said that the woman aged 24 had died at home at around 7:00am today. “The deceased woman’s throat swab sample was collected and sent to BP Read More...

Deuba renews demand for relief package to journos and media houses

Kathmandu, May 26 Nepali Congress President Sher Bahadur Deuba has once again called on the government to announce relief package for journalists and media houses. Issuing a statement on the occasion of the 29th anniversary of Nepal Press Union today, Deuba expressed concern about scores of jo Read More...

Quarantine facility poses risk of virus spread

Bajura, May 26 Quarantine facility at Malika Higher Secondary School in Bajura headquarters, Martadi, is at high risk of COVDI-19. A total of 93 people, who recently returned from India have been kept in the quarantine facility. They came from red-zone in India. But, they have not undergone Read More...

Bring gender-responsive budget: HoR panel

Kathmandu, May 26 The Women and Social Development Committee of the House of Representatives has directed the federal and provincial governments to bring gender-responsible budget for the fiscal 2020-21 in the wake of adverse situation created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chairperson of the parli Read More...

Govt projects 2.3 per cent economic growth for this fiscal

Per capita income to increase to Rs 126,018 Despite joblessness absolute poverty to decline KATHMANDU, MAY 26 Halt in economic activities as a result of the lockdown that the government has imposed to control the spread of the COVID-19 contagion was expected to hit the country's econom Read More...