People's War and People's Power in Nepal

Revolutionary Worker #989, January 10, 1999

This coming February will mark the third anniversary of the start of the people's war in Nepal. The following news update on the people's war in Nepal appears in the current issue of the revolutionary international journal A World to Win (1998/24). The article refers to a statement by Comrade Prachanda, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) which is leading the people's war. Comrade Prachanda's statement, "Two Momentous Years of Revolutionary Transformation," also appears in the same issue of A World to Win.


While the world's media is quick to leap on and showcase even the slightest item they consider favors their imperialist masters, such as a paltry and hypocritical charity "handout" to those their system is starving in Africa, they are equally adept at burying news that they wish to hide from the eyes of the world's oppressed. Hence it is not surprising that it is hard to find news that for over two years now the people of Nepal have embarked on the path of People's War to overthrow their very system...

While the world's media seeks to bury news of this great development, in Nepal itself the strength of the People's War has smashed the media blackout. Headlines regularly report clashes in the countryside and scream for "anti-terrorist laws" and for the army to be brought in, while at the same time holding out the carrot of "peace talks" to try and divert the revolutionary war.

Since Comrade Prachanda's statement was released in spring 1998, a countrywide bandh or strike was called by the United People's Front, a revolutionary united front organization led by the CPN (Maoist). While the People's War is based mainly in the countryside and implements the strategy of mobilizing the peasants as the main force in surrounding the cities from the rural areas, the strike showed the strength of the People's War in the urban areas as well. As the Kathmandu Post conceded, "The strike paralyzed most of public life in the capital and other parts of the kingdom." Kathmandu was likened to "a ghost town" and in many other towns and cities throughout the country shops were closed and traffic came to a halt. The strike was called, as The Worker, organ of the CPN (Maoist), clarifies, " protest against all the state terror, genocide and repression unleashed by the fascist state throughout the country and to press for the 40-point charter of demands put forward by the UPF." The Home Ministry had declared that a huge number of police forces will be deployed in the streets to prevent "unpleasant incidents" and about 2000 people were arrested around the country--but obviously to no avail!

Since August 1997, the CPN (Maoist) has been mobilizing to implement the Third Strategic Plan to "Develop Guerrilla Warfare to New Heights," which has entailed raising the military ability of the revolutionary forces both qualitatively and quantitatively. As the Editorial in The Worker no. 4 explains, in essence this means "the creation of a base for local organs of political power and raising the political, organizational and technical level of the people's guerrilla army so as to be able to contend with the rival army in the prospective guerrilla zones." This effort has forged ahead. The People's War has spread, covering the central hilly region from the west to the east of Nepal. In hundreds of villages the masses have been drawn into new forms of participation in the People's War, including logistics support and making weapons. The Janadesh Weekly newspaper reported recently on one of the most successful actions yet in the People's War, in which a team of about 30 guerrillas carried out a surprise attack on a police post, killed its commander and captured rifles and ammunition. There have been reports that the morale of lower level policemen is down, and that many are resigning. There have been cases where, learning of a large group of guerrillas in the area, the reactionary forces wait until they are sure the guerrillas have left, then come around loudly demanding to know where the guerrillas are and shouting about how they are ready to fight.

One of the key successes of the Third Strategic Plan has been that in several hundred villages across Nepal the local officials have been forced to flee, creating a power vacuum that the revolutionaries have seized on. New organs of local power are being built, called three-in-one combinations since they are formed of representatives of the Party, the army and the local masses.

At the same time, in a more ominous development, the government has launched a military operation called "Kilo Sera 2," in which several tens of thousands of special troops were deployed in May in 20 out of the country's 75 districts. This is the biggest military operation in the history of Nepal. In the two months since then at least 200 people have been killed as the military has unleashed ferocious repression in the countryside. In a typical operation, several thousand troops attempt to surround a given area, cutting off the roads to block efforts to flee, and then methodically enter to carry out house-to-house searches in the hunt for guerrillas.

Although there have only been initial reports from the remote regions of Nepal, it is clear that the revolutionaries had anticipated that the reactionaries would launch an encirclement and suppression campaign. The young guerrilla forces have drawn on their deep roots among the masses to evade the encirclements of the enemy, whose troops are not local and hence often find themselves flailing in the dark. With hearts and minds prepared and united, the comrades of the CPN (Maoist) have managed to lead the masses to stave off this attack and to launch some counter-attacks on the enemy.

The military terror was condemned in a press release by Comrade Prachanda on June 10, which strongly denounced the savage and impudent killing of the masses. In response to the wave of support from women for the People's War, military officers who used to regard women as inconsequential or often as the "booty of war" have now begun mass arrests and attacks on women too. Fourteen women have been killed in the last two months, leading to protest from women's groups and others. There has been mass resistance in the urban areas to the military repression, as well as a wave of protest by human rights groups. These have included denunciations of the attacks by one of the architects of the Nepali Constitution and a rally in Delhi, India, home to many Nepalese immigrants. The rally was organized by the All-Indian Nepalese Unity Society. Eight thousand people gathered in Delhi to hear statements of protest at the killings in Nepal, given by a wide variety of prominent human rights figures and political leaders, including a former Minister in the Nepal government, the leader of the All-India People's Resistance Forum, the former Chief Justice of Punjab, and many others from both Nepal and India. AWTW has also received a joint statement by 14 human rights organizations in Nepal on the results of a fact-finding mission to the districts affected by "Kilo Sera 2," which gives a clear picture of how the military repression is even violating Nepal's own constitution in these areas (available upon request).

In a small country, one of the poorest in the world, the people are rising up, defying increasingly fierce repression, to take their destiny into their own hands. The People's War in Nepal deserves the support of all those who long for an end to imperialist oppression, and is a clarion call to intensify the efforts for revolution everywhere.

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