Report from the Battlefield
Revolutionary Worker #964, July 5, 1998
"Develop Guerrilla War to New Heights!" Under this slogan, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) is now carrying out the Third Strategic Plan in the People's War which took its first steps on February 13, 1996. The People's War has mobilized the most downtrodden sections of the people in Nepal--one of the poorest countries in the world--in a revolutionary struggle for liberation. Poor peasants, the main force in this people's war, have taken up arms in order to seize power from the reactionary classes now ruling Nepal with the backing of imperialism. Women--traditionally looked down on as "weaklings"--are playing an active role in all areas of the struggle. The CPN (Maoist), a participating party in the Revolutionary Internationalist Movement, is leading the People's War in Nepal as part of the international proletarian revolution.
In the first stages of the People's War (the First and Second Plans), the fighting abilities of the CPN (Maoist) grew step by step. The Third Plan, which began in August 1997, is aimed at further raising the level of military actions and expanding the areas of guerrilla activity. The second anniversary of the initiation of the People's War in Nepal was celebrated in February of this year. On the second anniversary, the Central Military Commission of the CPN (Maoist) made its first public statement.
Recently, the latest issue of The Worker, published by the Central Committee of the CPN (Maoist), became available. The following is one of the articles from that issue, titled "Reports from the Battlefield."
As per the call of the Party in the current Third Plan to "develop guerrilla warfare to new heights," there are sure indications of late of a qualitative leap made by the people's guerrillas in their military activities. The first six months of the Third Plan (i.e. from mid-August 1997 to mid-February 1998) were basically devoted to political and organizational preparations for higher forms of military actions. Hence there were mostly lower level military actions of sabotage and propaganda type during the period, with occasional higher forms of actions warranted by the situation. However, from the month of February (1998) onwards higher forms of guerrilla actions have taken place in quick succession, literally "developing the guerrilla warfare to new heights."
For the first time after the initiation of the People's War, successful ambushes against the state police force have been conducted. People's guerrillas with inferior arms and low level technical training have defeated the superior state police force through sheer political will and revolutionary zeal. Superior arms and ammunitions have been seized by inferior arms but superior guerrilla techniques. However, final successes have been achieved after going through a series of defeats and "learning war through war."
The first ambush against the police was laid at Saikot in Sallyan (Western region) in January, which was not successful as the police managed to escape, but there was no loss on the side of the revolutionaries either. The first successful ambush against the police was conducted at Taksera in Rukum (Western region) in the beginning of February, which yielded one rifle, some ammunitions and left two police men killed.
The famed Rolpa district (Western region) went through a series of failures before a grand success was achieved on March 8. The ambushes on February 14 at Kotgaon, on February 16 at Harjang and on February 18 at Mirul were either failures or near failures. However, on March 8 an ambush was laid on an eight-man strong police force at Nimri in Karchawang VDC (Village Development Committee, a local political body under the current system in Nepal--RW) which was a total success. Through mining with locally made bombs and use of low quality guns, the guerrillas managed to snatch two rifles, one telescope and a large quality of ammunitions and got two policemen killed and several injured without any loss on their side.
Another notable success was achieved in Gorkha district (Central region) on March 17 when a police party was ambushed at Saurpani leaving three policemen dead and the guerrillas richer by one rifle and a lot of ammunitions, without any loss incurred. Apart from the police, successful ambushes and raids have been carried out against other government functionaries to seize weapons and money. On February 5, an armed group carrying money for a Nepal Bank Ltd. branch in Dhading district (Central region) was ambushed at Khahare by the guerrillas and two German-made guns and two millions rupees were seized. Similarly, people's guerrillas raided a Forest Department Range Post at Rangedanda in Jhapa district (Eastern region) on February 16 and seized one rifle and significant quantity of ammunitions.
Also, many daring guerrilla actions have been carried out throughout the country to seize weapons (mostly twelve bore guns) from private individuals, mostly local feudal tyrants and retired bureaucrats. Sabotage actions against both institutions and individuals, have been resorted to fairly widely. Of these, the ones against the multinational companies like Coca-Cola, the INGOs (international non-governmental organizations, which play a role in keeping peasants under semi-feudal oppression--RW), land revenue departments, ruling party MPs and a Minister were quite prominent. Selective annihilations of incorrigible anti-people elements have also been carried out by the guerrilla squads. Armed propaganda actions like blank firing at the police outposts, armed marches, etc., are quite common throughout but were more intensive during the Second Anniversary celebrations.
Though the level of the military development is still in a primitive stage, the morale, devotion and sense of sacrifice of the people's guerrillas have been of the highest order and the recent strides made in the field of military affairs have been quite encouraging.
More Martyrs on
the Altar of Revolution
More than 100 persons have been martyred in the first 26 months of the People's War, i.e. till March 1998. Whereas there was a slight slack in the first half of the second year, i.e. till September 1997, the instances of martyrdom started rising since the second half. This nearly coincides with the timing of the change of government in the country.
However, the seemingly lesser number of persons killed during the regime of the UML-dominated coalition should not be misunderstood as softness of the revisionist renegade clique towards the revolutionaries. (UML claims to be "communist" but is in fact one of the ruling class parties in Nepal, and it recently split into several factions--RW) That was in fact only a temporary change of tactics of the neo-reactionaries. If one analyzes the "nature of killings" during that period it is crystal clear that most of the killings were done either through "goons" or by "torture" in custody. This was only to avoid public opprobrium about "encounter killings" during the previous Nepali Congress regime. Just one example would suffice to unmask the sheer cunningness and hypocrisy of the UML clique. On July 22, 1997, Com. Sher B. Pariyar, a Party member, and his wife, Mankala Pariyar, were killed stealthily by the government hirelings in Pachabang, Rolpa, but the government media shamelessly put the blame on the "Maoists" for the killing.
Initially it created a lot of confusion among the general masses, but the truth prevailed ultimately.
After the resumption of state power by the Nepali Congress-dominated coalition in October 1997, the spate of killings in fake encounters were also resumed. Starting with the brutal killing of a woman comrade, Kamala Bhatta in Gorkha on October 20 in a very cowardly manner, by the specially trained police commando force, a number of promising young comrades and guerrilla fighters were eliminated in fake encounters by the fascist state. Of these, the martyrdom of three valiant people's warriors, Com. Suk B. Roka, Com. Prem B. Roka and Com. Bhim P. Gharti, after a prolonged encounter with the running dogs of the reactionary state on January 19 in Kureli, Rolpa, is a shining example of proletarian gallantry and supreme sacrifice.
The cowardly killings of two young students and an elected local body chief in Tharmare, Sallyan, on February 26 in broad daylight in front of thousands of people and two dalit (oppressed caste) youths in Gorkha on March 19 by the district chief of the police himself, however, have unmasked the fascist character of the ruling classes for all to see. Reputed human rights activists and intellectuals, who investigated these horrendous crimes, have condemned the government for these, and these instances were largely responsible for the resounding success of the Nepal bandh (national shutdown) call given by the United People's Front and supported by the Party on April 6. (See RW #956, May 10, 1998, for news coverage of the bandh--RW)
Many more great sons and daughters of the masses have laid down their lives on the altar of revolution while manufacturing and handling explosives and other weapons....
Memorials have been erected in honor of the great martyrs of the People's War in different parts of the country. During the Second Anniversary celebrations on February 13 special gifts were presented to the families of the martyrs and various programs were organized to commemorate the martyrs.
Fury of Women Is Unleashed
One of the most significant dimensions of the People's War in Nepal has been the unprecedented scale of participation of the women in war. Starting from a trickle in the beginning hundreds of thousands of women have come out to join the war in different capacities by the end of the second year. From the Party committee secretaries and guerrilla squad commanders to the local volunteers and propagandists, the women have been shouldering important responsibilities in the war. Traditionally derided as abala (or, the weakling) by the feudal society and subjected to class, gender, national and regional oppression simultaneously, the women from poor classes, oppressed nationalities and rural areas have been the most active and forthcoming. The sudden outburst of the fury of women has given a qualitative leap to the development of the People's War and the whole revolutionary process in the country.
Whereas seven women were martyred in the first year of the war, two more were added to the glorious list in the second year. of these the martyrdom of Com. Kamala Bhatta, a Party member and Gorkha district secretary of All Nepal Women's Association (Revolutionary), shook the whole country and gave rise to a new wave of revolutionary activism all around. Thousands of women came out to protest her cowardly killing by the specially trained commando forces of the fascist state. The heroic defiance and public pronouncements to take revenge against the state police by Com. Devi Khadka, a revolutionary woman comrade from Dolakha who was gang-raped by the police while in custody, has electrified thousands of women to join the People's War against the fascist state.
The heroic exploits of hundreds of women who have joined guerrilla squads and defense groups have been a source of inspiration and favorable anecdotes throughout the country. One all-women guerrilla squad in the Western region is reported to have annihilated a notorious rapist with such precision and sense of revenge that the toughest of goons would shudder to think about it. As part of the second anniversary celebrations of the People's War, a guerrilla squad headed by a woman commander carried out a very successful raid of an INGO office and another similar squad raided and punished a feudal tyrant in the Central region. Similarly in the Eastern region, a guerrilla squad squad led by a woman commander has carried out a number of successful raids and sabotage actions.
Large scale rebellion of young girls, mostly high school and college girls, from their [patriarchal] households to join the People's War have been a common occurrence. In one instance in the Central region a school girl managed to browbeat her feudal father, who had come to bail her out from the police lockup, and instead vanished with the guerrillas into the jungles. She has now grown into a promising guerrilla fighter. In another instance, a group of young girls from a reputed women's college in the capital city of Kathmandu are reported to have left a joint letter to their parents and proceeded to join the People's War. In fact at times Party committees find it difficult to process the long list of women volunteers who come to join the war.
The participation of women in mass struggles, peasant struggles and organizational activities have also increased phenomenally. Three thousand to five thousand women each have been participating in district conferences of the Women's Front and all-women rallies. In several of such conferences, e.g. in Siraha, Tanahu, Lamjung, Kaski, etc. when the state police swooped on them they have taken up cudgels for themselves and demonstrated extraordinary militancy. In districts like Rolpa and Rukum, where most of the men in the villages have been forced to go underground due to heavy state repression, it is the women who have been running households and carrying on important activities for the People's War.
The increasing participation of women in the People's War has had another bonanza for the revolutionary cause. That is the drawing of children into the process of war and their politicization. A large number of children in the rural areas are now contributing substantially in the guerrilla war by way of collection and exchange of information, etc. Indeed, these little "red devils" hold immense potential for the future of revolutionary People's War.
Revolutionary Peasant Struggles
on the Rise
Another hallmark of the People's War in its second year of continuation and development has been the rising scale and new forms of revolutionary peasant struggles in the Hills and the Terai (the Terai is the rice-growing southern lowland plains bordering India, and the most populated part of the country--RW). Though team actions by the peasant guerrillas against the local feudal tyrants, usurers, Agriculture Development Bank, NGOs/INGOs, etc. were carried out from the beginning of the People's War, new forms of mass-cum-team actions were invented during the past year. This has resulted in the direct participation of hundreds of thousands of poor peasants in daring collective actions against feudal and bureaucratic capitalist landed interests in the rural areas and paved the way for militarization of the peasant masses.
The principal forms of peasant mass actions have been the seizure of crops or harvested grains of the feudals, raids of Agriculture Development Bank branches, occupation of land or orchards of the feudals, etc., by a group of several hundreds or even thousands of poor peasants accompanied by armed guerrilla squads. So far several dozens of such successful mass peasant actions have been carried out in the Hill districts of Gorkha, Rukum, Kavre, etc. and the Terai districts of Bardiya, Kapilvastu, Janakpur, Siraha, etc.
A typical [example] of such highly successful peasant mass action was the one carried out in Gorkha district in the central Hills on the day of the birth anniversary of Mao Tsetung, i.e. December 26, 1997. On that historic day, in the broad daylight, about 500 peasants accompanied by several dozen armed guerrillas occupied about 30 hectares of rice-yielding land of a notorious absentee landlord and seized a major chunk of the crop ready for harvest. Thousands of curious onlookers cheered the peasants as the armed police force under the command of district police chief watched the scene helplessly from a distance. It was a glorious victory for the toiling poor peasants and a path-breaking instance of revolutionary peasant struggle in the country.
Similar instances are on the rise elsewhere, too, and a new horizon has been opened up for the qualitative development of the People's War.
For more on the People's War in Nepal,
see the current issue (1998/23) of the
revolutionary internationalist magazine
A World to Win.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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