The fledgling republic of Nepal seems to be standing on the verge of a new phase of civil war. Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Rookmangud Katawal had been asked by the civilian government to explain why he had continued military recruitment despite the government’s halt order and reinstated eight brigadier-generals who had been retired by the defence ministry. Backed by its foreign patrons and right-wing parties in the country, the military high command openly defied the authority of the elected government. The government responded by removing General Katawal, who refused to accept this and the government’s decision was then illegally overturned by President Ram Baran Yadav of Nepalese Congress. With their coalition partners in government refusing to support the UCPN(M), Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (Prachanda) announced that he had no choice but to resign.
Both New Delhi and Washington had been mounting a strong pressure on the sovereign Nepali government not to remove their trusted CoAS who was doggedly resisting the integration of the PLA with the national army as agreed in the peace accord. Senior Maoist leader and Finance Minister Baburam Bhattarai was perfectly right in his sarcastic comment that « The so-called democratic forces specially headed by the so-called democrats in New Delhi have been dictating their patrons in Kathmandu to side with the army and fight against the democratic forces ». We denounce in strongest possible terms the brazen foreign intervention and demand that it must be stopped immediately and for good.
We believe the abolition of the monarchy requires not just the removal of the King but a thorough restructuring of all organs of the state including the army, judiciary and bureaucracy. In this context we consider it very unfortunate that the UCPN (M) and CPN (UML) could not arrive at an understanding on sacking the most powerful remnant of the monarchial order. Only a firm political unity of the main left forces on such matters could provide a solid core around which the required consensus in the coalition government could be built up. As things stand now, the fragile consensus has broken down and the apparent process of a peaceful transition to People’s Power has proved deceptive. From a Marxist viewpoint this was not unexpected and we are confident that, led by the communists of Nepal, the brave people will once again rise to the occasion and overcome all obstacles to carry the democratic revolution through to the end.
Meanwhile, progressive and Left organisations around the world have condemned the Nepalese President Ram Baran Yadav’s actions and foreign intervention while noting that the Nepalese Army is infamous for its human rights abuses, including murder, torture and rape and has a history of coups against civilian governments. The top ranks of the army recently admitted to planning a fresh coup against the current elected government ! These organisations have demanded upholding of the peace accord and democracy for which the majority of the Nepalese people and poor people in particular had voted for the CPN(M).
The Democratic Socialist Perspective (from Australia) has said in a statement posted on its website (www.dsp.org.au) –« The removal of the Maoists from government is nothing less than a coup. It reveals the real situation in Nepal — that despite its democratic mandate for change, the Maoist-led government is being prevented by the old elite from implementing such change. » It further stated that the « …military high command, backed by right-wing parties tied to the country’s elite, has openly defied the authority of the elected civilian government, led by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M) » and « the UCPN-M’s proposals for a peaceful and democratic pro-poor transformation of Nepal that were endorsed at the ballot box have been frustrated by opposition within the parliament, the state and even the coalition government. » There is nothing more terrifying to the ruling classes globally than the sight of a people winning power. The right-wing forces in Nepal are counting on the support of foreign powers, especially the United States and the right-wing forces in India.
The Progressive Nepali Forum in Americas (PNEFA) has urged the Supreme Court to nullify the President Yadav’s unconstitutional action and restore civilian supremacy.
* From ML Update, a CPI(ML) Weekly News Magazine, Vol. 12 No. 19, 05-11 MAY 2009.