From A World to Win News Service

Nepal: Maoists Offer Self-Criticism After Bus Bombing


Revolution #009, July 24, 2005, posted at

13 June 2005. A World To Win News Service. A terrible tragedy took place 6 June when a landmine destroyed a passenger bus carrying about a hundred people on a road in the Chitwan district of the southern Terai plains region. According to press accounts, 38 civilians were killed and many dozens injured. The next day, the chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) Comrade Prachanda issued a statement in which he accepted the party’s responsibility for the explosion and offered its self-criticism for what he called a “serious mistake.”

The incident created a huge uproar in Nepal and abroad and prompted many people to ask questions about the Maoist party’s policy toward ordinary people in wartime. The monarchy and its army didn’t lose a minute before accusing the Maoists of deliberately targeting civilians. Human rights and other international organizations and Nepali political parties raised concerns and criticized the bombing. Friends of the revolutionary movement were also disturbed and wanted to know more. Prachanda’s statement began by expressing the party’s “distress and hurt” over the loss of civilian lives and offering condolences to the family members of the dead. He made it very clear that killing civilians—deliberately or even in avoidable accidents—remains completely against party policy. In conclusion, he said that the party is determined that such incidents will not be repeated in the future.

The people’s war being carried out by the Maoist revolutionaries against the enemy of the people is entirely different than the reactionary wars against the people carried out by the imperialists and their stooges. Although the enemy has long accused the Maoist forces of “terrorism,” this is a complete reversal of reality. It is the enemy with its superior weaponry and large military forces that tries to defeat the revolution by widespread terror against the common people. A people’s war follows an opposite logic. The bedrock principle is that the war can be successfully waged only by mobilizing the masses of people and relying on them. A tragedy such as the Bandare Khola bus bombing can only cause serious harm to the revolution by sowing confusion and fear from among the masses.

While some accidents are inevitable in a war, the Maoists in Nepal have had a proud history of protecting ordinary people and placing the highest value on the lives of the masses, sometimes even at the price of the lives of revolutionary fighters. For instance, in the battle at Kapilbastu, when they realized that their shooting would kill innocent masses the fighters held their fire and gave their lives instead. In a recent action in the eastern Siraha district, when the Royal Army began to shoot ordinary people arbitrarily, the PLA opted to retreat to save civilian lives.

In stark contrast, the reactionaries often deliberately kill civilians in an attempt to terrorize them. Even when these deaths are not deliberate, they consider civilian casualties mere “collateral damage.” This is how the U.S. justifies its mass murder of many tens of thousands of civilians in the bombing and invasion of Iraq - and is still the U.S.’s official stand on its nuclear mass murder of the civilian population of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The vast majority of the almost 12,000 people killed in the Nepal people’s war against the feudal monarchy that began in 1996 have been civilians murdered by the Royal Army, along with suspected revolutionaries also tortured and murdered. To cite crimes committed by the Royal Army during this current month only, soldiers arrested Dhaba Lama, the district chief of the people’s government, who was unarmed, and killed him in cool blood. Two other accused Maoists were killed in a similar fashion. The Royal Army also captured a revolutionary cultural troupe in the village of Raralihi in western Nepal while they were taking a rest at a house. The king’s soldiers killed the five men troupe members by cutting off their hands and legs. The three women members disappeared.

Following is the complete text of Comrade Prachanda’s statement:

1. We are solemnly distressed and hurt by the explosion of an electric landmine killing a huge number of general masses including supporters and well-wishers of the People’s War at Bandare Khola in Kalyanpur, Chitwan District, on the morning of 6 June 2005. First of all, we offer our whole-hearted condolences to the family members of the deceased.

2. It was a serious mistake on our part that explosives laid by a People’s Liberation Army unit targeting the Royal Army caused huge losses to ordinary people. We also strongly condemn the royal assassins’ evil act of using general masses as a human shield. Our party policy has been not to carry out any military action in any form that targets innocent ordinary people. We would like to make it clear that there has been no change in this policy.

3. We express our serious self-criticism to the broad masses of the people for this incident which went against our party policy and in which there was a huge loss of people. In addition, we would like to make it known that the contingent of the People’s Liberation Army involved in this incident and the party leadership that directly instructed it were suspended immediately.

4. The nature of the incident, which occurred in a context in which all the parliamentarian parties, civil society, and our party were in a struggle for full democracy against the autocratic monarchy and seriously advancing towards positive co-operation, has created a doubt that there might be enemy penetration. This is being investigated and the facts will soon be publicized before the masses.

5. We like to express to the broad masses our determination that we will resolutely act in order that this kind of incident not be repeated in the future.