28 years since the War

Nepali Times #183 13-19 February 2004

It has been 28 years since the Maoists launched their armed struggle. Maoist-ruled municipalities have defied a court order to mark 13 February as 'People's War Day'. Maoist supremo Pushpa Kamal Dahal is prime minister for the third time since 2008.

 But the absence of war is not peace. Equity and prosperity are still a mirage. The transitional justice process is a sham and former guerrillas have denounced their commanders for manipulating them to sacrifice their lives for the cause.

Excerpt from the page 1 report on 8 years of war published 20 years ago this week on issue #183 13-19 February 2004:

Nepalis caught in the middle have fled their villages by the hundreds of thousands. The country's military budget has increased at least three times more than peacetime levels. Most of the money has been diverted from development projects. Weapons are getting more sophisticated: the latest purchases are two Indian-made light attack helicopters that cost Rs500 million apiece.

The Maoists have suffered military setbacks and desertions, but have benefitted from reports of human rights abuses by the forces as well as infighting between the palace and the parties, and between hawks and doves among Nepal's donors. However, the biggest blow to the Maoists has been the dramatic extradition by India of senior Maoist leaders Matrika Yadav and Suresh Ale this week. An Indian embassy official confirmed the handover. Maoist leader Prachanda lashed back, saying in an online statement: "By kidnapping a popular tarai leader and a member of a downtrodden janjati group, India's rulers have distanced themselves even further from the hearts of the Nepalis." These are the harshest words the Maoists have used against India in the recent past…

…With the government maintaining a hawkish line, the Maoists are commemorating their anniversary with a series of strikes and sabotage attacks as the palace-party polarisation gets worse, it looks like the country is heading into another spring of turmoil and instability.

For archived material of Nepali Times of the past 20 years, site search: nepalitimes.com

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