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United People's Front
Peoples' War Group (PWG) Nepal
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

The "Maoists" were a leading party which started and won the battle to oust the traditional king and aged-old unitary state and declare Nepal a federal democratic republic. The Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), was a Maoist group heavily modelled on Peru's Sendero Luminoso, better known as the Shining Path. The CPN's goals were to end the Nepalese monarchy and replace it with a Maoist people's republic, as well as an end to "Indian imperialism," capitalist exploitation, the caste system, and ethnic, religious, and linguistic exploitation.

Thomas A. Marks described their means as consisting of five elements: mass line (an alternative socialist society), united front (uniting with other anti-government groups who do not necessarily share the same goals as the CPN), military (armed action), political warfare (nonviolent methods such as legal political activity or negotiations in lieu of military action), and international action (finding alies and support in the international community). The CPN got the inspiration for its tactics from the afore mentioned Shining Path of Peru, as well as Indian Maoists known as "Naxalites." The common trait shared by these two groups is their penchant for brutality, taking Mao's call for the "elimination of class enemies" to its violent extreme.

The irony that the CPN faced, a similar one shared with many other leftist groups, was that their leadership, Parchanda and Bhattarai, were both well educated Brahmins. The followers of the CPN however, are largely drawn from Nepal's lower classes. The CPN also draws heavy support from the Magartribe, as evidenced by the fact that there has Magar dominance of guerrilla units in areas where Magars are a considerable minority.

The CPN generally used a combination of mass line and united front to gain local support but will use terror in areas where support comes more slowly. Such incidents have increased as the CPN has moved out of its traditional areas of support. In some areas, especially in the Mid-West where the CPN has firm control of the area and government control is considerably limited, the CPN acts as the defacto government. The CPN was originally centered in the border area of Rolpa and Rukkum districts in the Mid-West. Since the CPN lacks the drug income that has helped to finance FARC and the Shining Path, the CPN relies on bank-robbing, kidnapping-for-ransom, and extortion to get added funds, which have in fact not been able to allow for rapid expansion of the CPN. While nonviolent means were important in base areas, terror was widely used when expanding into disputed areas, ultimately culminating with the November 2001 general offensive.

By 2003 available reports indicated a nexus between the CPN (Maoists) of Nepal and the Indian Left Wing Extremists Groups particularly the CPML-PW and the MCC. These outfits are making efforts to increase their area of influence and operation aimed, inter-alia, at giving impetus to the formation of the Compact Revolutionary Zone (CRZ) spreading from Nepal through Bihar and the Dandakaranya region in Andhra Pradesh. Keeping in view the overall dimensions of this problem the affected states have been asked to intensify patrolling of the areas bordering Nepal to prevent ingress of maoist elements. Both Nepal and India have resolved not to permit their respective territories to be used for activities directed against, or prejudicial to, the other side. Besides, the Special Service Bureau (SSB) has been deployed along Indo-Nepal Border. The Left Wing extremism affected States had been asked to strengthen security apparatus and intensify anti-naxalite operations in areas coming under the CRZ.

Generally, the tactics used in taking over a village include incapacitating the village leader and leaving an absence of power that could only be filled by the CNP. The police, poorly armed and considerably spread-out, are generally powerless to do anything. Thomas A. Marks describes one interesting tactic used to deal with the local police force includes begining with a small attack to draw the attention of the local police forces and thus spread out their numbers. Once this has occurred, small guerrilla units attack the smaller, more isolated police forces, which in turn forces the police to consolidate their forces, ultimately leaving larger swaths of the local population at the mercy of the insurgents. Other tactics inluded cutting roads, bridges, or power to a region to isolate it and then begin the socialist process.

Most of these Maoists are young people from peasant families of dalits, low-caste Hindus, and make up twenty per cent of Nepal's population. Several leaders of these Nepalese Maoists come from lower middle class families. Many of them are educated and were influenced by leftist ideas while studying in India and other countries. Although the movement was initially inspired by the revolutionary notions of the late Chinese communist leader Mao Zedong, many analysts today say the rebels are building on popular discontent in the country.

Nepal's transformation has yet to reach many of its citizens in inaccessible mountain villages. Although its per capita income is $244, 42% of the population earns less than $100 per year. Poverty reduction is Nepal's overriding development challenge. Many of its social indicators are among the lowest worldwide. Nearly 40% of its population lack access to basic healthcare and education. Eighty percent of its citizens rely on subsistence agriculture, but only 20% of Nepal's rugged terrain is arable.

The growth of the Maoist movement in Nepal should be seen as a failure of mainstream politics to meet the needs and aspirations of the country's rural poor, including land reform. The rebels want re-distribution of land, with sixty percent of crops going to farmers and forty percent to landlords. The Maoists contend that the multi-party democracy, which was established in 1990, has failed to improve the living conditions of people in villages. They accuse corrupt politicians and rich landlords of oppressing and exploiting the low-caste poor.

It was basically a revolt of people out in the countryside who are beginning to realize that in an essentially feudal way of life, change is not only overdue but inevitable. In the rural areas controlled by the Maoists, rebels are getting some support because they are helping peasants retake their land from the powerful landlords. In many cases, these landowners have forced illiterate people to sign land-transfer documents for non-payment of long-standing debts.

Population pressure on natural resources is increasing. Over-population is already straining the "carrying capacity" of the middle hill areas, particularly the Kathmandu Valley, resulting in the depletion of forest cover for crops, fuel, and fodder and contributing to erosion and flooding.

Discrimination against lower castes is especially common in the rural areas in the western part of the country, even though the Government has outlawed the public shunning of "untouchables," and makes an effort to protect the rights of the disadvantaged castes. Economic, social and educational advancement tend to be a function of historical patterns, geographic location, and caste. Better education and higher levels of prosperity, especially in the Kathmandu Valley, slowly are reducing caste distinctions and increasing opportunities for lower socioeconomic groups. Better educated, urban-oriented castes (Brahmin, Chhetri, and certain elements of the Newar community traditionally dominant in the Kathmandu Valley) continue to dominate politics and senior administrative and military positions, and to control a disproportionate share of natural resources in their territories.

Hill-tribes, especially the Magars, played a leading role in the insurgency, as did women (as with communist revolts in Cuba and China, the granting of equal and active roles to women has been a powerful recruiting tool for women who are all too often abused and exploited in their homes). Lower-caste Nepalis, encouraged by Maoist provision of health and education services from which they were often excluded by the Kathmandu government, have also given support. The Maost insurgents have been careful to follow the plan of ‘People’s War’ crafted by Mao Zedong, in which regard for and support of the people is a primary goal. Among other things, rebels promised ethnic groups greater autonomy in their own regions.

Children and adolescents had been the most impacted. A majority of the children involved in the Maoist-run organization were forced or lured to act as soldiers. Children have been used as human shields, as porters to carry the Maoist's dead comrades, as housekeepers and cooks, and as sex slaves. Overall, as a result of the conflict, many young children and pre-adolescents have been left alone, either abandoned by their families for their own safety or orphaned by killings. Often these children found themselves totally isolated as community protection systems, both formal and informal, have broken down. The physical and psychosocial welfare of children in the conflict areas declined. Nepal had an immediate need to address these issues related to children and youth as a result of the Maoist conflict.

The insurgency was able to finance itself handsomely by a combination of rural taxation in areas that it controls, bank-robbing, kidnapping, and extortion. As a result, the rebels have amassed tens of millions of dollars to supply and arm themselves, while spreading pervasive insecurity across much of the countryside.

While the insurgents’ violent attacks focused on driving government presence from the countryside, they have also staged highly successful work stoppages (bandhs) in the capital, bringing the economy to a halt for days at a time. Smaller strikes and stoppages have also paralyzed areas throughout the country. The success of the bandhs is related to the security problem – truck drivers and shop owners were fearful that they would be targeted by the guerrillas if they did not join in the bandh. Thus even in urban areas, while daily life seems largely unaffected by the rebellion, the government had not been able to establish a solid sense of security.

In April 2006, there were massive, country wide, pro-democracy protests. The struggling pro-democracy forces achieved their first major victory when the king was forced to restore the House of Representatives that had been dissolved in April 2002. The largely non-violent movement was led by the Seven Party Alliance (SPA), the Maoists and social activists. The Maoists and some other political groups were deeply suspicious of the Indian government and its role in the future of Nepal.

On 01 April 2007, the Interim Parliament unanimously re-appointed Girija Prasad Koirala to be the Prime Minister of the Interim Government. The Prime Minister subsequently administered the oath of office and secrecy to 16 ministers and five state ministers at the National Planning Commission. The names of the new ministers were then read in the Parliament in a ceremony attended by members of the diplomatic corps. The NC, the CPN-UML, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (Maoist), and Nepali Congress-Democratic (NC-D) divided the top portfolios among themselves.

Without having to make any changes in their behavior, the Maoists won yet another battle with Nepal's democratic parties. Now that the Maoists were inside the Interim Government, Prime Minister Koirala's Nepali Congress and its two principal allies, the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress - Democratic, might find it even more difficult to force the Maoists to end their abuses. Unlike some observers in Nepal, who expected the responsibilities of government to have a moderating effect on the Maoists, others expected them rather to be emboldened. The PM's astonishing decision to re-appoint the weak, Maoist-accomodating Krishna Sitaula as Home Minister sent exactly the wrong signal on enforcing law and order. NC insiders reported that Koirala, who was primed to dump Sitaula, kept him on after the Maoists said they would not join the government if the Home Minister were changed. The Government of India's (GOI) insistence on rapid formation of an interim government, with Maoists, presumably played a role in Koirala's decision to cave to this latest example of Maoist political blackmail.

Changing the way Nepal's government functions was never going to be easy, especially for a party which had fought a communist revolution for a decade. After his swearing-in as Prime Minister by President Ram Baran Yadav on 18 August 2008, Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist (CPN-M) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka Prachanda) moved relatively quickly to form his coalition. On August 21, the CPN-M, the CPN - United Marxist Leninist (UML) and the Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) adopted a common minimum program. By the end of August, Prime Minister Dahal put in place a 24-member, six-party cabinet. The 11 Maoists included the Ministers of Finance, Defense, Information, Law, Land, Tourism, Peace and Labor. UML leader Bamdev Gautam was named the sole Deputy Prime Minister -- and Home Minister. The water, industry and local development (government) ministries were assigned to three of the other five UML ministers.

The Maoists were brought to the mainstream through elections to the constituent assembly. Nepal's Maoists admire Mao Zedong,s leadership in the period during the early years of the People's Republic of China, but believed that Mao made mistakes in later years, including during the Cultural Revolution. Nepali Maoists' discussions in China in 2009 focused on how the Chinese Communist Party eventually embraced economic development and "moved past the revolution stage." Nepal's Maoists were past the revolution stage and wanted to learn how to make use of "peace and development opportunities."

India played a signal role in helping the Maoists make the transition from a guerrilla force to parliamentary party. The Maoists were a divided house. Pragmatists like Prachanda, who led the transformation of the party, are under fire from hardliners who still command the loyalty of the PLA. The only way to resolve this tension is to implement the promise of integration so that the PLA no longer remains a standalone entity. Far from leading to the capture of the Nepal army, integration would essentially help complete the transformation of the Maoists into a purely political force.

On September 6, 2012 the Department of State revoked the designation of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN(M)) and its aliases as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist entity under Executive Order 13224, and as a “terrorist organization” from the Terrorist Exclusion List (TEL) under the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). With these actions, the CPN(M)’s property and interests in property in the United States or within the possession or control of U.S. persons would no longer be blocked, and US entities may engage in transactions with CPN(M) without having to obtain a license.

After a thorough review, the Department determined that the CPN(M) was no longer engaged in terrorist activity that threatened the security of U.S. nationals or US foreign policy. Additionally, in recent years, the Maoist party was elected as the head of Nepal’s coalition government, took steps to dismantle its apparatus for the conduct of terrorist operations, and has demonstrated a credible commitment to pursuing the peace and reconciliation process in Nepal. The delisting did not seek to overlook or forget the party’s violent past, but rather looked ahead towards the party’s continued engagement in a peaceful, democratic political dialogue in Nepal. This delisting reflects the United States’ resolve to keep terrorism sanctions current and demonstrated that a group need not stay on a terrorist list forever should it demonstrate a credible commitment to pursuing peace and reconciliation.

Nepal's embattled Prime Minister K.P.Oli resigned 24 July 2016 ahead of a no-confidence vote, plunging the country into a fresh political turmoil. Oli, who became prime minister in October 2015 had been facing a no-trust motion after the Maoists withdrew support from the coalition government. Oli tendered his resignation after two key ruling alliance partners -- Madhesi People's Rights Forum-Democratic and Rastriya Prajatantra Party -- decided to support the no-confidence motion tabled against him by the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-Maoist Centre led by Prachanda.

Oli said, Nepal-India relations was all-time low during the time he assumed power last year. He claimed that with his efforts the relations were normalised. Oli said, the relations between Nepal and China and the relations between Nepal and India are unique which cannot be compared with one another and claimed that his efforts have reduced Nepal's economic dependency on a single country.

Maoist party leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal took over the top office for the second time after Parliament elected Dahal as prime minister on 03 August 2016. CPN-Maoist president Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' became Nepal's 39th Prime Minister with the support of largest party Nepali Congress, the Madhesis and other fringe parties.

Aug 18: CPN-Maoist (Revolutionary) chairman Mohan Baidya stressed on 18 August 2016 the need for a drastic change in the country, revealing his party's plan to form an alliance of like-minded parties very soon towards that end. Formation of an alliance is the need of the hour to garner public opinion in favor of nationality, livelihood and judicial freedom of people. Baidya was speaking at a press conference in Sunsari. Saying that active peaceful movements are needed to bring out a drastic change to the traditional leadership having 'old faces', he said that an alliance would be formed under the leadership of the Maoist leader CP Gajurel.

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Page last modified: 18-08-2016 15:49:26 ZULU