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Prachanda’s war path


BINOD BHATTARAI


1949 (2006 BS): Pushpalal Shrestha formed the Nepal Communist Party (NCP). Ideology was closer to the then Soviet Union than Mao's China.

1971 (2028): Mohan Bikarm Singh (MBS) formed "Central Nucleus" patterned after the Chinese communists.

1974 (2031): MBS organises the Fourth Convention and formalised the NCP split. The Maoists are latter-day offshoots of this stream.

1983 (2040): Singh's NCP (Masal) split again, softer leftists stay with Nirmal Lama. Hardliners split again, Mohan Baidya (who now goes by the nom de guerre Kiran in the Maoist ranks) walked away with those believing in Mao-style revolution and formed the NCP (Mashal).

1989 (2046): Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Comrade Prachanda, took over as general secretary of the Mohan Baidya stream.

1990 (2047): NCP (Mashal), Nirmal Lama's faction and other smaller groups came together to form Ekata Kendra (Unity Centre). Masal decided to boycott general elections, so Baburam Bhattarai joined Unity Centre which won nine seats in the 1991 (2048) polls to become the third largest party in parliament. The United General Conference which convened the same year approved Prachanda's plan to launch a "people's war" and out-voted Nirmal Lama's "mass uprising" line.

1992 (2049): The Unity Centre fared badly in local government elections, and the party formally had a name change: NCP (Maoist).

1994: The NCP (Mashal) split again. The Election Commission did not recognise the faction led by Baburam Bhattarai and the Maoists, instead approving the United People's Front. The "optionless" Maoists boycotted the 1994 mid-term polls. Some years later the court ruled that Bhattarai's was the legitimate party, but it was too late.

February 13, 1996: The United People's Front of Baburam Bhattarai submitted a list of 40 demands to prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba that it wanted met by 17 February. But the Maoists went on the offensive four days before the deadline attacking the police post in Rukum, Rolpa, Gorkha and Sindhuli.

November 1994-May 1999: Political disarray, coalition government with every political alliance of Right and Left, and an epidemic of corruption favoured the rapid spread of Maoist activities. The government tried to crack down the Maoist activities twice. "Operation Romeo" investigated and arrested suspected Maoists. Operation Kilo Sierra (1998/99) was a search-and-arrest campaign in the midwest. Police atrocities peaked. The Lokendra B Chand government set up the Dhami Commission to find ways to resolve the crisis, but he was ousted and that was the last time anyone heard about the report.

May-June 1999: The Nepali Congress led by Krishna Prasad Bhattarai won the majority in parliamentary elections. Bhattarai appointed Deuba to find a way out of the Maoist crisis, and he held informal talks. Deb Gurung and Suresh Ale Magar, senior Maoist leaders, were freed in the give-and-take.

March 2000: Girija Prasad Koirala ousts KP Bhattarai, accusing him of failing to maintain law and order. Koirala takes over, promising to even use the army to fight the Maoists. There is a debate about who controls the army: the prime minister or the king.

25 September 2000: In the biggest and most audacious attack of its kind, about 1,000 Maoists raid Dunai, headquarters of Dolpo district in which 14 policemen are killed. Koirala wanted to send the army in hot pursuit, but the brass balked. Home Minister Govinda Raj Joshi resigned in protest four days later.

27 October 2000: In the first ever one-to-one between government and Maoists, Deputy Prime Minister Ram Chandra Poudel met Maoist central committee member, Rabindra Shrestha.
3 November 2000: Government released high-profile Maoists including Dinesh Sharma. The rebels denounced the insurgency only to retract their statement.

24-26 December 2000: Maoists infiltrated street riots sparked off by rumours of Hrithik Roshan remarks.

22 January 2001: Koirala got royal approval for ordinances to set up a paramilitary force and appoint regional administrators. The bill failed to be ratified by parliament.

February 25, 2001: After their convention, Maoists adopted a new doctrine "Prachanda Path"-a combination Marxism-Leninism-Maoism advocating a dual strategy of simultaneous armed conflict and urban mass uprising. The \'mass uprising' was spearheaded by frontal organisations of student, women, farmers and labour unions, which come with the "revolutionary" suffix.

March 6, 2001: Reading Prachanda Path to mean the Maoists were softening, government met a long-standing rebel pre-condition for dialogue and announced the whereabouts of those
in custody.

2-7 April 2001: Maoists gunned down over 70 policemen in separate attacks in Rukumkot and Naumule. Police chief Pradeep Sumsher Rana admitted he could not fight Maoists anymore. Opposition UML stepped up street protests against Koirala, while Deuba stepped up campaign to unseat him.

12 April 2001: Ordinances for setting up paramilitary and regional administrators re-promulgated. Maoists attacks on police bases continue.

1 June 2001: Royal massacre. Maoists say they had a "working understanding" with King Birendra, the massacre was masterminded by India. They infiltrate street protests following massacre. Government declares curfew, brings situation under control.

4 June 2001: Government issues the Public Security Regulations amidst widespread protest from the Left and civil society.

15 June 2001: Maoist women declare Chitwan a dry zone, student wing steps up attacks on private schools.

29 June 2001: Baburam Bhattarai says in a newspaper article that the Republic of Nepal was born after the royal massacre.

6-13 July 2001: Maoists attack police posts in Lamjung, Nuwakot, Ramechhap, Gulmi, Dailekh and Holeri. They abduct 69 police from Holeri. Army helicopters intercept Maoists, there is a shootout, but the army is called back. Maoists also form a regional alliance called the Confederation of Communist and Maoist Parties of South Asia (CCOMPOSA).

22 July 2001: Deuba replaces Koirala on 19 July. The next night, Maoists attack police post in Bajura killing 17. Deuba strikes a truce with Maoists on 23 July and says talks will begin.

14 August 2001: Top communist leaders including Madhav Nepal of the UML and Bamdev Gautam of M-L sneak to Siliguri India for an audience with Prachanda. The two, and other communist leaders, disagree with the Maoist plan for a joint struggle for a republic.

30 August, 2001: Round I of peace talks were held in Godavari. Three Maoists and five government negotiators agreed to keep on talking.

14-15 September 2001: Round II. Maoists tabled their wish-list, had three core political demands: an interim government, a constituent assembly, a new constitution and the institutionalisation of a republic.

13 November 2001: Round III of peace talks. Government scraps Public Security Regulation and frees 68 prisoners before talks. Maoists give up demand for a republic but stick to constituent assembly, all political parties say \'no.'

21 November 2001: Maoist leader Prachanda sees no point in keeping on talking. Maoists set up a 37-member Joint Revolutionary People's Council headed by Baburam Bhattarai.

23 November 2001: Maoists launch attacks in Surkhet, Dang, Syangja and other parts of the country, for the first time attacking the Royal Nepal Army, killing 14 soldiers in the Gorahi base. 23 policemen are also killed. Maoists loot Rs 225 million from banks over the week.

25 November 2001: Maoists attack army again at Salleri. They kill 27 policemen, a chief district officer and four soldiers. But this time, Maoist casualties are heavy-over 60 said to be killed, although only 15 bodies are recovered.

26 November 2001: King Gyanendra declares a National State of Emergency. Government declares Maoists terrorists, and deploys the Royal Nepal Army to fight the insurgency.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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