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Nepal: Lessons from Gaur Incident

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Message Prithendra Bahadur Khatri
Nepal: Lessons from Gaur Incident

The Gaur incident is truly a horrendous incident in the historical chronology of mass killings over the decade in Nepal. The barbaric mass killings by the Maoists in various occasions during their so called people's war including Bandermudhe (Madhi), the Palace Massacre are yet other such killings which will be remembered as black days in the history of Nepal.

The Gaur incident occurred after the Maoists joined the interim parliament and they were about to join the interim government. Those killed in the incidents were young cadres of the Maoist Young Communist League (YCL) formed by the Maoists as a tool to confront other parties during the constituent assembly election.

It will be relevant to look back on the formation and activities of YCL before we go in to the subject.

The YCL formed simultaneously with the management of Maoist combatants and arms. Most members of the YCL are either those combatants whom the Maoists didn't want to confine to the cantonments, or those child combatants not eligible to register as combatants. The Maoists also recruited a large number of cadres during the ceasefire period by giving assurances that they will ultimately be inducted into the national army, and they were also inducted as YCL members. They claimed to be unarmed, however, they were given extensive training of unarmed combat, and a large number of them with the background of militants can operate all kinds of small arms and improvised explosives. Most of the commanders carry unregistered small arms as well.

Over the last several months, these YCL cadres were employed to occupy the houses of various so called landlords and royalists blacklisted by the Maoist party, kidnapping the people, forcefully collecting donations, extorting money, vandalizing the opponents and most importantly confronting other political parties.

Their main targets are various Madhesi organizations that are raising their voice for Madheshi freedom. They are also involved in various social activities to give some positive gestures such as traffic control, cleaning cities and so on. The Maoist also formed a front in Terai to wipe out various Madhesi organizations that are active in Terai. Most of the activities by the Maoist party in general and YCL in particular are above the rules of law and they are openly challenging the present government. The Maoist party and YCL are free to do anything due to the kind courtesy of the Home Minister. On many occasions, the Home Minister intervened while the security forces tried to control the wrong doing of the Maoists.

The local administration in Gaur virtually couldn't do anything to prevent the confrontation between Madhesi forum and Maoist front and YCL. In fact the Madhesi Forum planned a mass meeting in Gaur long ago and their leader Upendra Yadav was supposed to address the meeting. With a view to disrupt the Forum's program, the Maoists also planned a mass meeting in the same venue by openly challenging the Forum.

The Maoists mobilized large numbers of YCL cadres from Makwanpur, Bara, Parsa and Rautahat to show their muscles. Confrontation was imminent as both parties gathered with all sorts of arms. The weak part of local administration was that they couldn't visualize the consequences thereby couldn't impose preventive measures.

Since the Maoists received all sorts of privilege and leverage from the Home Minister, the local administration didn't dare to challenge the Maoists or stop their mass meeting in the same venue. They could have imposed restrictions or curfew which they didn't do for some reason. The ultimate result was much unexpected. The victims of the Gaur incidents were newly recruited cadres of YCL and member of various labour organizations but all of them are affiliated to Maoist party.

In essence, the Maoist party and their organization YCL and Maoist affiliated Front must take the main responsibility for the Gaur incident as they planned their mass meeting in Gaur to challenge and confront the Forum. Had there been low turn out from the Forum side, the victims would have been other way round (on the Forum side).

The second blame obviously goes to the Forum as they killed and mutilated in an inhumane manner which is certainly a crime against humanity. The local administration including police forces will also have to take some responsibility as they didn't take preventive actions to curb the violence. The present Home Minister and the Maoists leadership are the biggest culprits as their policy and action paved the way to cause incidents like Gaur.

The Home Minister is becoming so kind to the Maoist party that he is acting like one of the aides to Maoist leader Prachanda and the Maoist Party is protecting him as their own cadre. The reason why the Terai uprising is escalating day by day is that the government has not been able to bring the Madhesi leaders to the table for dialogue. One of the preconditions of Madhesis are they demand someone to take responsibility for the killing of about 40 people (almost double the number of those killed in Jana-Andolan II) in the Terai uprising.

Madhesi people think that it is the Home Minister who should take responsibility for all the losses of life and property due to excessive use of force and he should resign on moral grounds. But, the Maoist leadership is blocking the Home Minister's resignation even though the leaders of the Nepali Congress itself are demanding his resignation. This has hampered the buildding of an environment conducive to initiating dialogue; as a result, the Terai problem is worsening day by day.

As a matter of fact the first fuel poured in the Terai uprising was by the Maoists in Lahan when they shot dead one of the activists of the Madhesi forum. In Gaur, eyewitnesses claim that first bullet was fired by the Maoists.

The attitude of the Maoists is not favouring the establishment of a peaceful environment to hold elections in the near future. The terror of Maoist weapons has not stopped even after they joined the interim parliament. The incomplete arms and combatants management by UNMIN is yet another key factor which has created scores of problems even inside the parliament.

Manhandling of politicians, businessmen and ordinary people are key indicators how the Maoists have transformed themselves during the transition period. The main motive behind the formation of organizations like YCL, Morcha etc is that they will create problems rather than solving any problem.

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