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Nepal Update 19: Nepali Congress is doing a "Harakiri"

 

Note No. 154                                               31.05.2002

by Dr. S. Chandrasekharan

Just when things were looking up for Sher Bahadur Deuba in fighting terrorism and in stabilising his own position, disaster struck in the form of G.P.Koirala who suspended Deuba from the party membership for three years, for having recommended the dissolution of the Rashtriya Panchayat (National Parliament) without consulting the Party leadership.

For the first time since the devastating terrorist attack at Dang in November last which resulted in the declaration of the emergency, the security forces mainly consisting of army and special police units laid a well planned siege of the terrorist stronghold in Rolpa District at Gam and in a coordinated and concerted action inflicted heavy casualties on the terrorists.

Deuba had also visited USA and UK to drum up support for the ongoing operations against terrorists. China for its part embarrassed by the nomenclature of the terrorists calling themselves "Maoists" declared itself against the terrorists and extended full support. Besides the visit of the Indian Chief of Army Staff, India has been quietly supplying arms and providing training in counter insurgency operations.

It all began with the move of Deuba to extend the emergency: The state of emergency declared in November was due to lapse on May 25 this year. The Party President G.P.Koirala had openly expressed himself against it in one of the public meetings at Biratnagar. His contention was that only in April the house had approved measures to relax the state of emergency with the passing of a bill aimed at curbing terrorism and controlling the activities in the country while at the same time relaxing some of the harder provisions of the emergency like curbs on fundamental rights, civil liberties and political activities.

Deuba had met Koirala earlier before recommending extension of emergency. It was a brief 15 minutes meeting, but reports indicate that Koirala did not strongly oppose the extension but only expressed his apprehensions. But what irked Koirala and some of the other party leaders was that Deuba suspecting that he may not get support from Koirala’s faction within the assembly decided to recommend the dissolution of the assembly and seek fresh elections without consulting the Party leader.

Normally the King in the case of a recommendation to dissolve the assembly and seek fresh elections, takes his own time to consult other political leaders before coming to a decision. In this case the King while promptly accepting the recommendation of the cabinet for a fresh spell of emergency for a period of three months dissolved the house immediately and ordered fresh elections in November without looking for an alternate arrangement.

Koirala whose relationship with the King had never been good in the best of times, suspected the hand of the King in the dissolution and called it a "grand conspiracy".

Deuba was under pressure both from the Security apparatus and the King to extend the emergency: Independent observers of the ongoing counter terrorist operations would agree that the Army for the first time made a determined and a well planned offensive in the Rolpa, Piuthan districts of mid western region. One of the biggest training camps was raided and over two hundred terrorists were killed in a single operation. The stragglers of the training camp who tried to escape to Lisne Lek in eastern Rolpa were also ambushed by the security forces.

A cease fire offer for one month declared by the terrorist leader Prachand from May 15 was promptly rejected by Deuba even while on a visit to USA without even consulting his cabinet colleagues. In an interview to the CNN he said "We do not trust them any more . . . They are killing innocent people. They betrayed, they boycotted the peace talks six months ago. Therefore, unless and until they lay down arms and denounce violence we can’t trust them. They have to apologise . . . This does not mean that they are sincere."

An earlier call by Prachanda for dialogue on May 2 as a "positive political way is a historical compulsion and all the political forces, intellectuals and the general public need to work together in an effective manner to that end." was promptly rejected by the government. This statement came close on the heels of a major offensive by the security forces in Rolpa.

The Army has perhaps insisted that the unfinished business of liquidating the terrorists can be done only by the extension of emergency. Deuba would have had no alternative but to recommend extension when the King was also of the same view.

On the other hand, it looks that emergency alone cannot help the army in its operations. It has had only one major success after another devastating attack in Lamahi and Satbariya in Dang on April 11 which left more than 150 dead. No senior Politbureau member has been captured so far except for the Maoist representative who led the Maoist delegation in the aborted peace talks last November. The terrorists continue to assemble in hundreds with impunity before attacking the government posts with no intelligence reaching the security forces to foil such assemblies.

The terrorists by attacking the infrastructure like water facilities, food go downs, communication centres, village development offices, agricultural offices and even ambulances and hospitals are alienating the general public and it is a question of time before the public starts providing information about the terrorists to the security forces. In one of the rare incidents, the terrorists who destroyed a rope bridge in the far west were forced by the public to repair the bridge and make it functional.

What next for Deuba? Efforts are on to bring out a reconciliation between Koirala and Deuba. In any such dispute within the Nepali Congress the gainer will be Madhav Nepal, presently the leader of opposition and of the United Marxist League. It may be recalled that in last August Madhav Nepal secretly met Prachanda the Maoist leader in Siliguri to arrive at a common strategy. Having failed to convince Dahal, he turned his attention to CPN (ML) of Bamdev Gautam and both parties merged in February this year. At the same time, he joined hands with G.P.Koirala and encouraged him to float a concept of "broader democratic alliance" to the discomfiture of prime minister Deuba.(See update No. 18 and 13). Now he has succeeded in causing a serious split within the Nepali Congress by opposing the emergency and continuing to press for dialogue with the terrorists. In the forthcoming elections, the newly merged UML and ML would gain most unless good sense prevails and the schism within the Nepali Congress is sorted out before the elections.

A defiant Deuba declared that by expelling him, the party led by Koirala is taking the country and democracy to ruin by not backing the party’s own government in its bid to quell Maoist rebellion. He added that their actions are "boosting the Maoist morale."

Deuba and his supporters are planning to call for a General convention of the Party to discuss the issue.

A list of incidents that occurred since the issue of the last update is given as Appendix.

Incidents

April :

4 :            The terrorists destroyed public property worth millions of rupees after bombing a Neulapur-based branch office of Agriculture Development Bank in Bardiya.

At Jhumsa, about 35-km south of Tansen, the district headquarters, were destroyed as the terrorists doused them with petrol and set them on fire.

In Jhapa, the terrorists destroyed a wooden-bridge over Deuniya River. The terrorists blocked the Araniko Highway at Sukute.  In Rumjatar the terrorists disrupted the water supply. They kidnapped Nemling Lama, a local correspondent of the state run Radio Nepal.

6:             The terrorists were involved in ambushing a vehicle of Royal Nepal Army (RNA) on the road leading to Kothiyaghat area, where five army personnel, including Major Rakesh Shrestha, were killed and several others injured.

The terrorists had planted  bombs at the main gate of a SLC examination centre of Kanya high school in Dhanusha, Chhaisathhi area of Surkhet and Tatopani-base powerhouse of a small hydroelectric project in Myagdi district.

In Sindhupalchowk the security forces and the terrorists exchanged fire.  The terrorists planted landmines  on the Melamchi highway at Dhakal .

In Banke, the terrorists blocked the water supply from its reservoir. The pipeline brought to Khalanga from the Budbudi River that lies about five kilometres away was blocked.

7:            In Humla, the terrorists looted property and set fire to the house of Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, Chairman of Humla District Development Committee, at Kharpunath village, about 20-km south of Simikot, the district headquarters.

In  Bardiya  district the terrorists laid  ambushes on Gulariya-Rajapur highway,  and attacked an office of Agriculture Development Bank .

10:            In Bardiya the terrorists set fire to an office of Gola VDC and a sub-health post on fire in Rajapur delta.  At least 50 people, including four civilians, were killed in the mid-western district of Dang when terrorists launched simultaneous raids on an Armed Police Force (APF) base in Sadbariya, an area police office in Lamahi and Bhalubang.

29 personnel sustained serious injuries while eight others were still missing after a fierce battle that lasted about five hours. Forty-six other APF personnel sustained minor injuries in Sadbariya base camp.

Four civilians travelling in night buses from Kathmandu were also killed in the crossfire in Bhalubang, about 25-km east of Lamahi.

In yet another audacious attack, the terrorist guerrillas killed nine police personnel including Police Inspector Padam Adhikari in Lamahi-based area police outpost. Thirteen other policemen were injured in the gunfight.

The terrorists had earlier blocked the busy highway and a link road to Ghorahi by felling big trees and laying landmines.

The terrorists had also exchanged fire with security personnel in Ghorahi, Tulsipur Municipality and Bhalubang to divert the attention of the security forces from Lamahi and Sadbariya.

11:           The terrorists hurled petrol bombs at five different police beats in the capital causing minor damages.

The district of Solukhumbu has been still isolated after the terrorists destroyed the Repeater Station of Nepal Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) in Patale a month ago.

The terrorists had also looted Rs 1.6 million in cash and other valuables from two branch offices of Agriculture Development Bank and Rastriya Banijya Bank in Lamahi.

 13:           The Terrorists have cut off the water mains in Dhading.

The accidental explosion of the improvised bomb left behind by the terrorists  killed two children in Aakhibhuin Village Development Committee (VDC) of the  Sankhuwasabha district.

Three persons were killed in a landmine explosion in Lanten Bazar of Bajura district.

14 :           The terrorists hacked four members of a family, including vice-chairman of Arnama VDC and his son, to death after abducting them from their respective houses.

In Dhangadhi, office equipment – a TV set, computer, photocopy ing machine, VCD, and a motorbike and bicycle -were reduced to ashes after a powerful bomb went off in the office of the Dhangadhi Municipality.

15 :           The terrorists stormed into Home Minister Khum Bahadur Khadka’s house in Satbariya and looted foodstuff. They also destroyed his house.

In Chitwan a group of terrorists destroyed some parts of multinational Coca-Cola factory by exploding bombs in its premises.

Bomb disposal squads of the Royal Nepal Army were rushed to eastern parts of the to diffuse several "fake bombs" planted by suspected  terrorists.  Similar bombs were also found at Satdobato area of Lalitpur. The "fake bombs" were later diffused.

At the Ward Police Office, Bouddha  bombs were planted at main junctions and on the bridge along a busy highway apparently to terrorize the public.

16:            The terrorists killed nine policemen and a civilian during their attack on the Area Police Office in the  Barpak Village Development Committee (VDC) of Gorkha district. The terrorists also looted eight rifles, three pistols, one revolver and communication sets from the incident site after completely destroying the post.

The terrorists had shot dead 19-year-old Min Bahadur Ghale, resident of Barpak-7, accusing him of tipping-off the police. In Surkhet, the terrorists gutted a bridge constructed along the Chhinchu-Jajarkot Road.

The terrorists also burnt the offices of Gadhi and Lekhgaon VDCs and partially destroyed it. The terrorists also completely destroyed official documents.

In Parbat the terrorists completely destroyed a health post stationed at Malika VDC of Baglung district.

Another terrorist group completely destroyed the office of Dekhatbhuli VDC of Kanchanpur district. The terrorists also set fire to the adjoining Area Post Office.

17:           The terrorists have chiefly targeted telephone towers of the Nepal Telecommunication Corporation, offices of the Village Development Committee (VDC), health centres and bridges.

In Myagdi, the terrorists set Piple and Bhagawati VDC offices on fire.

In Chitwan the terrorists set fire  to the office of Bachauli VDC, a range post in Jutepani, a building of community buffer zone in Kathar, a ward office of Bharatpur Municipality-13 and a counter office of Nepal Electricity Office in Bhandara. 

A constable, Lal Bahadur Roka, 27, who was assigned to  the District Police Office (DPO), in Dailekh was killed by the terrorists.

18:            Two civilians, including a woman, were killed in separate crossfire between the security forces and the terrorists that occurred in Kavre and Dolakha districts.  

The Maoist terrorists destroyed an airport tower in Bhojpur district. The terrorists that came in a group of about 50 to 60 broke through the gate of the tower, set it ablaze by pouring kerosene and again destroyed the important devices by hurling a powerful bomb.

The terrorists in Nuwakot set a bridge over the Tadi River on          fire. 

Terrorists are also learnt to have destroyed a pucca building of Area Forest Office (AFO) at Pahalmanpur VDC of the district and also another  office belonging to the same at  Gota.

19:            A branch office of Agriculture Development Bank in Hasanpur of Kailali districtwas destroyed by the terrorists.   Similarly, the terrorists exploded bombs at a sub-station of Nepal Electricity Authority located at Chanauli of Chitwan district. 

A two storeyed building belonging to Sunil Kumar Bhandari, a member of ruling NC party at Hasanpur of Dhangadi munincipality-5 was destroyed.

20:            A 20-year-old girl travelling in a night bus to Dadeldhura from Kathmandu died instantly in crossfire between the security forces and the terrorists in Shumshergunj, our Nepalgunj-based. 

In Dolakha, millions rupees of property belonging to the Orient Magnesite Pvt. Ltd. located in Lankuridanda were destroyed after a group of terrorists set its office and vehicles on fire and vandalised it quarters. The terrorists have also destroyed Livestock Development Firm in Jiri.

21:            In Siraha, the Maoist terrorists shot  dead a Nepali Congress cadre, Asarfilal Yadav, at his residence in Mirjapur village of Sothiyain VDC.

In Sindhuli, a civilian was killed while three others, including a police constable, sustained injuries after two terrorists opened fire  at the policemen conducting security check of a passenger bus from Dharan.

The terrorists shot dead Hom Bahadur Karki, a resident of Kamalamai Municipality-16.  Three persons—a policeman, a civilian and a rebel – were injured in an encounter in Dulegauda VDC. The terrorists destroyed property of the Nepal Telecommunication Corporation and the Nepal Electricity Authority in Gaur.  They also set ablaze a jeep of Madhav Kumar Nepal, General Secretary of the CPN-UML.

At least three persons were injured when a pressure cooker bomb planted by the terrorists went off after a vehicle ran over it at Gongabu Chowk.

22:           The  terrorists called for a five-day general strike.  Two policemen, including a driver, were killed when a truck carrying Armed Police Force personnel was ambushed on the Prithvi Highway near Gajuri of Dhading district while trying to rescue four Red Cross ambulances hijacked by the terrorists.

Terrorists continued with their destructive spree, ravaging private and public and government property. Power supply to the five zones of the mid-and far-western region of the country was cut off. In Nepalgunj terrorists pulled down a tower carrying 132 kv transmission line at Amaliya, about 40-km west of Lamahi, Dang.

In Gorkha, a group of armed terrorists destroyed property equivalent to Rs.2 million by setting the District Agriculture Office on fire. They burnt down office documents, two motorbikes, equipment and furniture, and Rs.150,000 in cash.

In Myagdi, terrorists demolished offices of six more Village Development Committees and two postal offices. Of the 40 VDC offices in the district, terrorists have now destroyed 32.

In Chitwan, terrorists set fire to a pick up van of the Nepal Telecommunication Corporation (NTC). They also destroyed 45 pieces of telephone distribution cards near Rampur area with a total estimated loss worth Rs 3 million.

Similarly, terrorists have destroyed an empty police station in Bardiya district.  In Pokhara the terrorists torched two vehicles belonging to The Begnas Lake Resort at Sundari Danda of Lekhnath Municipality.

In Kapilvastu, terrorists set on fire two motorbikes and documents of a branch office of the Agriculture Development Bank in Kopuwa VDC. In yet another incident of arson in Rautahat, they destroyed two private tractors and a bike in Jigadwa VDC.

Meanwhile, in Morang four security personnel, including a soldier, sustained injuries as a bomb planted on the Kanepokhari-Jirikhimti section of the East-West Highway went off.

23:           Terrorists had hijacked the four ambulances  which were returning to their respective destinations – Chitwan, Hetauda and Pokhara – after transporting patients to Kathmandu.  At least two cops lost their lives in the rescue operation.

The terrorists exploded a bomb at Pathraya Nala bridge at Daiji VDC-8 of Kanchanpur district, along the Mahendra Highway and also destroyed two security posts at Suklaphant Reserve by setting them on fire.

The terrorists also destroyed a repeater tower at Chitresthan of Udayapur district. The destruction of the tower has disrupted telephone service in Okhaldhunga, Solukhumbu and Khotang districts of Sagarmatha Zone.  The districts like Kapilvastu, Mahottari, Syangja and Mahottari were fully affected by the strike.  The distircts like Siraha, Nuwakot, Ramechhap, Sunsari and Dang witnessed partial impact.

24:          Terrorists attacked and damaged a minibus near Jorpati.  The terrorists planted explosives on the road near Kavre Bhanjyang area.  Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s house at Ruakhola in Dadeldhura district was set on fire by the terrorists.  They also attacked and partly damaged a Red-Cross ambulance in Phedi area of Kaski district.

The terrorists completely destroyed a telecom exchange centre located in Rajapur of Bardiya.  A 3-MW hydropower project, and a road project in Sankhuwasabha, besides the local Radio Nepal transmission station in Mahottari district also came under  attack causing severe damages.

In Dang, terrorists destroyed the warehouse of Bijauri Drinking Water Project by crude bombs. The total extent of loss in the attack is estimated at around Rs 2.5 million.

Meanwhile, a civilian, Nar Bahadur Basnet of Narethanti in Baglung, was severely beaten up by the terrorists.  In the village of Dhanauli VDC - 9, terrorists cadres are now targeting children, especially girls, barely reaching the age of 12 years, to join them.

 

27:           The ambush laid by the terrorists near Andheri on the Arniko Highway killed a soldier and injured 10 other personnel in Sindhupalchowk. The army patrol team coming to Barhabise from the Paanchkhal Training Center were trapped in the terrorists-laid ambush.

Another bomb  planted at Balaju area  damaged a few public and private vehicles, unleashing terror in the capital.  The terrorists have caused damage to Modikhola power project in Parbat district, Aandhikhola Power Project in Galyang and office of Agriculture Service Center in Kohalpur. They have also looted a house in Bidur of Nuwakot.

In Humla the Nepali Congress (NC) local leader, Kali Bahadur Bhandari was shot dead by the terrorists.  In the far-western hill district of Bajhang, the terrorists destroyed the 200-kilowatt Surma Devi micro-hydropower project

28:            Meanwhile, a soldier, Dham Narayan Shrestha was wounded                 in a landmine blast laid by the terrorists in Sindhupalchow.

In Dhangadhi, the district headquarters of Kailali, the terrorists killed an RNA soldier, assigned in the Royal Chitwan National Park.

In Syangja Kiran Prabhat, an area commander of Kaski No-2 and three others, were among those killed in the encounter.  The terrorists in the eastern hill district of Tehrathum have demolished an office of the Fulek VDC and a post office.  The terrorists also bombed the office of Narayan Municipality in Dailekh district.

29:            The property estimated worth Rs.10 million has been destroyed as the terrorists attacked the Lamidanda airport tower in Khotang district. According to Govinda Lal Rajbhandari, Chief Operation Officer, in addition to the tower, the terrorists also destroyed all equipment, office documents, security guard room and counters of state-owned Royal Nepal Airlines (RNAC) and Yeti Airlines.

                The terrorists destroyed an intake of a drinking water project and its pipelines supplying water to the residents of Khalanga, the district headquarters of Jumla.  The terrorists looted 200 quintals of foodstuff of Nepal Food Corporation and 100 quintals of flour meant for primary-level students in Rukum from Salyan and Simrut areas.

30:            A civilian sustained injuries during the exchange of fire with the terrorists in Fulbari area of Kailali and Pallesari area of Pyuthan districts.

In Bardiya five armed-terrorists destroyed a building of an unmanned area police post in Rajapur delta. .

In Tanahun CPN-UML party’s two organized  cadres—Bharat Raj Kaini, a.k.a Shyam Sundar Kaini of Byas Municipality-2 and Ganga Bahadur Nepali of Ghansikuwa VDC—were killed by the security forces.

                In Nepalgunj nine families of Jhulakhet village of Sankh VDC in Rukum rendered homeless after the terrorists set their houses on fire.

May:

2:              In Syangja a head constable, Shumsher Bahadur Karki, of the Armed Police Force sustained serious injuries when the terrorists exploded explosives targeting the security personnel.  Another local, Ram Bahadur Bista, who had accompanied the security forces as a guide for the Sisne Lek area, was still missing.

7:              More than a hundred security personnel died following a fierce encounter with the Maoist guerrillas at the Gam village area of Rolpa district.  The terrorists, who were thousands in number, surrounded the joint temporary security base in Gam and attacked the security men with bombs and automatic weapons, seized earlier from various police outposts and army barracks. The terrorists attacked a temporary security base in Gam VDC, which was set up about a year ago. Gam is located about two days walking distance from Liwang, the district headquarters of Rolpa, and about a day’s walk from Khalanga, the district headquarters of Pyuthan

The terrorists had destroyed a 50-kv transformer with a bomb before attacking the APF base. Although the terrorists had also raided the branch office of the state-owned Rastriya Banijya Bank, they could not rob the bank as all the cash and valuables were kept in the APF barrack. But the terrorists looted gold and silver worth Rs. 100,000 from a local businessman Govindaman Shakya.

10:            Five junior ranking government officials posted at northern Gam to implement the Integrated Security and Development Programme(ISDP) were killed by the terrorists. 

Gham VDC Secretary Rana was brutally hacked to death by the terrorists.

12:            The terrorists set fire to  a house of former chairman of Fulbari VDC in the far-eastern hill district of Taplejung.

The secretary of Rolpa branch of Nepal Red Cross Society, Narayan Subedi  was abducted by the terrorists.

13:            In Dang, the terrorists set fire to a private boarding school in Laxmipur VDC. The terrorists destroyed property worth Rs. 80,000, including the personal property of school accountant. The terrorists also vandalised three other private schools.

In another incident, the terrorists looted all foodstuff, kitchen utensils and clothes from Bhuwaneswor Gautam’s house in Thikpur VDC of Dang.

17:            The terrorists set off a pressure cooker bomb at the SOS Children’s Village in Kalagaon in Surkhet destroying a part of its building. 

The terrorists looted about 2,500 quintals of refined rice and 1,700 quintals of husk-rice and another lot of 295 quintals of refined rice, by breaking into a warehouse of Nepal Rice Mills in the Rajapur delta, which was to be distributed among the freed Kamaiyas of the district under the Food for Work Programme.

18:            The terrorists have caused damages in the hostel, library and quarters of Parshuram Sanskrit Mahavidhyalaya in the Shirsha area of Dadeldhura, Ratna Chandeshwor Sanskrit Ma. Vi. at Kattikswami village of Jumla and Mahendra Ma. Vi. at Tulsipur of Dang by detonating bombs.

23:            In Bardiya, the terrorists killed a policeman, identified as Ganesh Thapa, after attacking a police post in Gulariya, the district headquarters.  Four other policemen were still missing after the firing.

24:           In Chautara of Sindhupalchowk district, the terrorists killed Sub-Overseer Mohan Biswakarma of the District Irrigation Office.  A group of terrorists set ablaze a taxi which was used by them.

25:            Two civilians were killed at Rautahat’s Manpur village.  A woman  was abducted by the terrorists from Lamki Bazzar, in Kailali. 

In Kailali’s Chaumala and Shankarpur VDC there was an explosion at a public rendezvous that killed a 11-year-old girl and injured 10-year-old boy.  The bomb  was planted by the terrorists.  The Terrorists have threatened to carry out an unprecedented attack in Libang.

26:            The terrorists in Dhading seriously injured a 70-year-old father of a soldier in an attack; he is undergoing treatment at the Birendra Military Hospital in the capital. 

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