Thursday, 6 August 2009

Warning Bells From Nepal

I have blogged about the power struggle in Nepal between the Maoists and the other political parties. When the Maoists were in power, the then Prime Minister, Pushpa Kumar Dahal, more popularly known by his nom de guerre ‘Prachanda’ had sacked the Nepalese Army Chief Gen. Katawal for resisting the integration of Nepal’s Maoist rebels into the Nepalese Army. President Ram Baran Yadav had overturned Prachanda’s decision and reinstated Gen. Katawal. The President’s decision had caused Prachanda to step down from the Prime Minister’s post on 4 May 2009.

Three weeks after Prachanda stepped down, Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) was elected Nepal's new prime minister Saturday, ending the political uncertainty that had gripped Nepal at that time.

Two days ago (on 4 August 2009), the Maoists issued a three-day "ultimatum" to the Nepali government to restore "civilian supremacy" in Nepal, failing which a month-long agitation is to begin. It is proposed that the agitation will start with a blockade of the Nepali Parliament on 7 August 2009.

According to Aditya Adhikari, opinion editor of daily newspaper The Kathmandu Post, "the real issue is not the sacking of the army chief. The real issue is that the new government has come in and it's expanding its networks and it's using state resources to build credibility among the population. The Maoists are worried that they are going to be marginalised from the political picture and they're going to lose the gains that they've made over the past couple of years."

What ever be their real motives, the Maoists’ action threatens the peace which Nepal has been enjoying ever since the 10-year civil war between the Maoists and the state ended after a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed in November 2006 between the Maoists and the Government of Nepal.

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