As poll date nears, clashes between the two Maoist parties escalate
Anyone entering Nepal’s through its only international airport in Kathmandu may be forgiven for thinking that the country has a law and order problem. Uniformed army men patrol the parking lot, and the roadway leading to the departure gates, snapping at passengers to hurry on. “The army has been deployed for the election,” says a taxi driver who says he voted for the Maoist party during the last elections, but does not want to vote this time.
The soldiers at the airport are part of the government efforts to strengthen security for the second Constituent Assembly elections slated for November 19. In addition to the police and the paramilitary, the government plans to deploy 62,000 of them to thwart poll-opposing activities, led by the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist). The party stepped up its anti-election disruptions this week, targeting candidates and cadres of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist (UCPN-Maoist), from which it split last year.
On Friday, the CPN-Maoist supporters injured a UCPN-Maoist candidate in the north-eastern district of Taplejung. He’s been hospitalized. On Dang, a south-western district, they attacked a campaign team belonging to another communist party. And two improvised bombs, planted by unknown group, were found in Siraha, a southern district where the UCPN(Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” is contesting the elections. Recent spate of electoral violence has prompted the spokesperson of the UCPN (Maoist) to “retaliate” against attacks.
The head of the Election Commission also urged the government to take immediate action against disruptions, and the Home Minister promised tough action against anti-election parties. According to political analysts, the splinter Maoists’ offensive against Prachanda and his party is driven by revenge. They hold him responsible for the decision to deploy army to hold election at any cost – thereby pitting them against the Maoists if the conflict escalates– and the failure of the talks last month to bring the splinter Maoists on board for elections.
CPN-Maoist demands release of cadres
KATHMANDU, OCT 25 – CPN-Maoist has demanded the government to release the party leaders and cadres detained during the course of their poll boycott programme. Issuing a press statement on Friday, CPN-Maoist spokesperson Pampha Bhushal urged the concerned authority to respect cadres’ democratic right to boycott election and release them. “There is no option to the party but to launch vigorous protest if the cadres are not released, and the government will be responsible for the situation created thereafter,” read the press release.
Spokesperson Bhushal has also argued that conspiracy was hatched to push country towards civil war by mobilising army during the CA polls, which is an internal affair. The party has claimed that the authority detained the party cadres pasting posters in Ramechhap and more than 100 cadres of the Federal Limbuwan Council from Ilam, Phidim and Dhankuta.
Baidhya dubs anti-poll activities as grand success
KATHMANDU: CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhya said that the anti-election campaign launched by his party has been a grand success. We succeeded in our party’s policy and principles, the dissident Maoist leader said on Saturday. The anti-election activities are at a peak and clashes have been reported between the dissident Maoists and the cadres of other political parties. Chairman Baidhya was talking to reporters at the Sambad Dabali in the Capital at a book launch ceremony.
When asked about his party targeting UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Baidhya responded that such a move was usual as Dahal was ‘extra adversary’ to his party earlier. He further said that his party would continue the ongoing election-boycott campaign. Neither will we go underground nor will wage an armed struggle, the former rebel leader stated, charging that some forces are disseminating false information about his party.
According to Baidhya, the parliamentary forces are inviting confrontation in the country notwithstanding their failure. “This has made the people aggressive,” he added, saying the country could not be liberated from the current state of affairs till the such (parliamentarian) forces existed.
CPN-M district secy arrested in Panchthar
PHIDIM: Police arrested CPN-Maoist’s Panchthar District Secretary Laxmi Neupane alias Prakash on Saturday. He is accused of carrying out anti-election activities in the district. Neupane, who was hiding inside the party office since Friday noon, was arrested while he went out for toilet at around 10 am this morning. Police had kept their eyes over the Maoist office since yesterday. Some two dozen police personnel were deployed outside the office.
Neupane, however, claimed that he was taken hostage by the police inside the party office for past 22 hours. According to Chief District Officer Koshahari Niraula, the arrest was made as per the policy to arrest people found involved in anti-election activities. CPN-M Limbuwan State Committee Secretary Indra Angbole denounced the police action, dubbing it as a breach of basic human rights. Police on Friday had arrested two leaders of Sanghiya Limbuwan Rajya Parishad, affiliated to the poll-opposing alliance led by CPN-Maoist for obstructing political election campaigning.
Three Maoist cadres charged
Meanwhile, The District Police Office, Ilam, has lodged cases against three CPN-Maoist cadres for their involvement in burning the election materials in the district. The Office has lodged cases against Suk Bahadur Rai and Nyunson Rai of Chulachuli VDC and Dipak Bishwakarma of Mahamai-8 against public offence for burning the election posters, pamphlets and other materials supplied to Mahamai in the district. The CPN-Maoist cadres had seized and burnt the election materials on Thursday while the officials were supplying the materials to Mahamai. Likewise, police said that cases against two cadres of the Federal Limbuwan State Council have been lodged for their attempt to disturb the election activities in the district
Maoist candidate’s jeep burnt in Kanchanpur
MAHENDRANAGAR: An unidentified group has burnt a jeep used by the UCPN-Maoist in the election campaign on Saturday afternoon. The jeep (Se 1 Cha 73) that was heading to pick up the party’s candidate Mohan Giri, of Constituent No. 4 of Kanchapur district was set on fire at Eathpur in the district along the Mahendranagar-Gadda Chauki road section, according to UCPN-Maoist Tharuwan State Committee member Gopal Rasaili. Giri had visited Jimuwa of Bhimdutta Municipality-9 for the door-to-door election campaign.
“A gang of motorcycle-borne persons, who were masked, sprinkled petrol and set ablaze the jeep ,” Rasaili said. The party suspected that the CPN-Maoist was behind the incident. CPN-M central member DD Pandey, however, claimed that his party cadres were not involved in the incident.
Dahal is Baidya’s prime target
KATHMANDU, OCT 26 – In a strategic move aimed at disrupting the election process, the dissenting CPN-Maoist has concentrated all its energy on obstructing the UCPN (Maoist)’s election campaign, while appearing lenient on two other major parties, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. Put on the defensive, the UCPN (Maoist) on Friday requested the government for tougher security measures and asked its cadres to retaliate, if needed.
The Mohan Baidya -led CPN-Maoist believes that such a move would force Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal to review his position on the November 19 election. “An intensified attack against Dahal would create an atmosphere whereby his party will be forced to postpone the election. We will also give an impression that we support the candidates of the NC and the UML,” said a Baidya confidante. Dahal, in Baidya’s calculation, is still hesitant about the election and fears losing the polls, the leader said. Baidya recently told party leaders that their prime target should be Dahal for three reasons.
First, the party feels that Dahal is the one who was behind the deployment of the Army for the polls. Second, it says he was the man who proposed and formed the chief justice-led government, which the CPN-Maoist had opposed. And third, the party says it was Dahal’s ‘plot’ to cancel the agenda of a roundtable conference. On Friday, CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung said in a public function in Chitwan that Dahal was the party’s main target now.
According to CPN-Maoist leaders, in their first phase of offensive against the election, all efforts would be concentrated in obstructing the UCPN (Maoist) from conducting its campaign. “If that fails to get Dahal and his party down, we will apply the same to other parties’ top leaders,” said the Baidya confidante. “We believe that due to our protest, major parties will be forced to postpone the election before our general strike,” said CPN-Maoist Central Committee member Ramdeep Acharya. After the CPN-Maoist intensified attacks against it, the UCPN (Maoist) on Friday directed its cadres to retaliate if the obstructions continued. UCPN (Maoist) leaders say they have reports that the CPN-Maoist was reaching out to the NC and the UML to form a working alliance to push their candidates on the backfoot.
“The CPN-Maoist’s activities are targeted at assisting reactionary forces and defeating us. But such activities will only benefit us because people are for the polls,” said UCPN (Maoist) leader Hemanta Prakash Oli. “We have tried to reach out to Baidya, asking him not to create obstacles. But since the Maoist party split, their singular focus seems to be on bringing down Dahal and weaken the UCPN (Maoist),” Maoist leader Haribol Gajurel told the Post. Meanwhile, CPN-Maoist leaders have returned their Personal Security Officers provided by the Nepal Police. They feared that the police may have been spying on them. “Some leaders have changed their cell numbers and they have cut down on telephone conversations to avoid wire-tapping,” a party leader said.
Big 3 inviting confrontation: Chand
KAPILVASTU, Oct 25: Secretary of the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist Netra Bikram Chand has said that the three major parties and the government have invited confrontation by going ahead with the decision to hold Constituent Assembly (CA) polls. Chand accused the government of serving the interest of the international community by deciding to hold elections without taking the agitating parties into confidence.
He further maintained that the government´s decision to deploy the Nepal Army in all the election constituencies is against the people´s interests. Addressing a function at Kapilvastu on Friday, Chand said, “We will not allow the government to conduct the CA polls peacefully.” He said that they would disrupt the election campaigns being run by various political parties. “The Nepali people are not in the favor of CA polls conducted by the Regmi-led government,” claimed Chand.
He also accused Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and UCPN (Maoist) of being regressive. “The UCPN (Maoist) is fooling the people by claiming to be federalists.” Meanwhile, another Secretary of CPN-Maoist Dev Gurung has instructed their Bara district cadres to disrupt the electoral campaigns being run by various political parties. Speaking at an orientation in Bara on Friday, Gurung said they will first exert pressure on UCPN (Maoist) and then on Nepali Congress and UML.
Bomb hoax in Dharan
DHARAN, Oct 25: Rumors that a bomb had been planted at the ward-level liaison office of the UCPN (Maoist) in Dharan Municipality caused quite a commotion among the locals on Friday Morning. Later a bomb disposal squad of the Nepal army had destroyed the suspicious object, which was wrapped in a black polythene bag and was placed at the UCPN (Maoist) liaison office established at the Gyanchakchhu Marga for the purpose of election campaigning.
UCPN (Maoist) activists had found the suspicious bag hanging by the shutter when they reached there to open the office. The bomb squad from Kalibaks Battalion of Nepal Army removed the suspicious bag from the place and disposed of it at a field 50 meters away. “We found some shards of glasses in the packet. It was a small packet. We did not know if it was really a bomb as it had to be destroyed by using another explosive,” said one of the member of bomb squad.
Deputy Superintendent of Police, Tek Bahadur Tamang, said that the security agency has taken the incident seriously. “We did not find any explosive material in the bag but it should be taken as a serious incident prior to the polls,” DSP Tamang said. According to Tamang, a glass bottle was wrapped in a black polythene bag placed like a bomb, which created panic among the locals.
Unidentified gang sets 1 jeep, 4 motorbikes on fire in Baglung
BAGLUNG, Oct 26: An unidentified group has set a jeep and four motorcycles on fire being used by two political parties for election campaigns here in the district at the wee hours of Saturday. According to police, a jeep,Dha 1 Ja 69, being used by UML candidate Hira Bahadur KC for election campaign was set ablaze at 2: 45 AM in Tarakhola VDC this morning. In yet similar incident, four motorcycles being used by the cadres of UCPN (Maoist) candidate Tulsi Aryal of constituency No 3 for election campaign was reduced to cinder in Khunga VDC. The motorcycles, Ba 50 Pa 9073, Ba 1 Pa 2452, Ba 1 Pa 2825, and Ga 7 Pa 2184, which were being parked in front of Khunga Liaisons Office, were reduced to cinder, said DSP Surendra Bahadur Gurung, head at Baglung District Police Office. No party has claimed responsibility for the incident so far. A search for the culprits is underway, said police.
Nepal: Baidya group to blow up national infrastructure
The Nepal Communist Party-Maoist led by Chairman Mohan Baidya Kiran in their recent meeting held in the district of Dang have formulated strategies to demolish telecommunication towers and seize weapons from Police personnel to foil the incumbent constituent assembly election. Will that be a reasonable act? The Ministry of Home Affairs issuing circular to the security agencies under its jurisdiction has made the revelation, reports Naya Patrika Daily October 26, 2013.
Reports also confirm that the security agencies have been keeping a tight vigil on the NCP-Maoist leaders. The Home Ministry circular referring to the outcome of Dang meet while claims that political environment was getting feasible for another round of revolt, the circular continues, the NCP-Maoist leaders have plans to go semi-underground, use weapons and then go fully underground. Situation appears to have gone complicated. As per NCP-Maoist, the November 19 election will be a matter of life and death for them, the secret information compiled by the Home Ministry reveals.