NEPAL: Crisis Continues

Vinod Mubayi and Daya Varma


The Nepal crisis continues. Recent moves indicate a more active and larger role for the military in the politics of the country.


The crisis in Nepal, precipitated by the arrogant refusal of the Nepal Army chief to step down after being sacked by the erstwhile Prime Minister Prachanda, continues without let-up as 2009 draws to a close.  In INSAF Bulletin 86 of June 2009, the editors wrote:

“Assumption of the office of Prime Minister of Nepal by Prachanda, the leader of United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), [UCPN(M)], was greeted by democratic forces the world over; his  resignation following  insubordination by the Army Chief and the support to this act by the ceremonial President  is, on one hand, a matter of great discontent and surprise, and on the other hand, quite worrisome because in a way it is a coup. What went behind closed doors within and outside Nepal to precipitate this development, which installed Madhav Kumar Nepal of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) [CPN-UML] as the Prime Minister with the support of the Nepalese Congress, is nothing but dirty politics. Have the Maoists been defeated in the end game? Or will they re-emerge with popular support?”


The 2008 elections, which ended over two centuries of feudal monarchy, including the last decade of the despotic regime of Gyanendra, resulted in a substantial plurality for the UCPN (M), who formed along with several allied parties the first truly representative democratic regime in Nepal’s history. While UPCN (M) pushed for a popular progressive reform program of promoting literacy, women’s empowerment, redistribution of land to the peasantry, reducing poverty, and integration of their guerrilla cadres in the Nepal Army, intrigue against their rule began from their first day in office. The current Prime Minister, Madhav Nepal, who replaced Prachanda, was actually defeated in the 2008 elections and could only get in via a shabby back-room maneuver.  For the last six months the government, which has no democratic sanction, is at a standstill. The issue of Army defiance of the democratically elected government has yet to be resolved as the UCPN (M) has made it an issue of principle.


We print three  recent articles below on Nepal, which all deal with the increasingly malign influence of the military on politics in Nepal.  The article from Nepali Times highlights the relationship between the Nepali and Indian military officer corps as well as the growing “security cooperation” between both the Chinese and Indian military establishments and their counterparts in Nepal.  The UN Center in Nepal voices its concern about promotion of military officers with appalling records of human rights violations.  Finally, the last piece by Sukhdev Shah, Nepal’s ambassador to the US, is candid about the grassroots support enjoyed by the UCPN (M) among the people, but voices his own preference for a strongman on the lines of a butcher like Pinochet to rule Nepal. This is a telling example of the thinking of the upper classes the world over when confronted by a crisis; the search for a fascist solution.

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