It has been six months since the Maoists declared that once they successfully defeat the security forces in the rest of the country, the 'people's liberation army' would enter Kathmandu. Comrade Prachanda's cadre are still determined to achieve this goal, but they are waiting to see how the ceasefire with Indian Maoists plays out.
'Because of the conduct, nature and behaviour of this government we don't see the possibility of a ceasefire at the present time,'" Prachanda said in a statement three weeks ago. There may be two reasons for this rigid stance: the Maoists now want to demolish what is left of the UML, and they don't really need to play for time to launch a major attack.
For now, they are happy enough that people like Girija Koirala have given themselves the task of single-handedly resolving the Maoist problem. Mao Zedong used to say: "Attack those in power, take advantage of the opposition." Our Maoists are employing the same strategy by letting Girija do the fighting for them--just like they did with Sher Bahadur Deuba previously.
Now that the UML is on Sher Bahadur's coat-tails, the palace has the perfect weapon to prolong the king's active role. The king has no illusions that it is the UML he has to contend with. The Maoists also know that unless they defeat the UML and Congress, they can't bring down the monarchy. After finishing off the Nepali Congress cadre at the grassroots between 1996-2000, the Maoists are now training their guns on the UML.
The palace, for its part, has propped its gun on the UML's shoulder to take aim at the Maoists and is hoping kill two birds with one bullet. The UML's slogan of restoring the truce and going for elections is just to give its membership some reason to hope. It is pretty clear in the month after this government was set up that the real players are Sher Bahadur and Mohamad Mohsin. Not Bharat Mohan Adhikari.
Militarily, the Maoists are now focusing on Kathmandu and the tarai. Its tarai 'special force' and the valley 'ring committee' (see From the nepali press) are part of a strategy to wrest a stranglehold on the army and state and 'enter Kathmandu'.
Negotiations underway in India between state governments and the Naxalites are also the reason the Maoists have ruled out talks for now. In Andhra Pradesh, there is a ceasefire in the 30-year war and the ban on the People's War Group has been lifted. Bihar's Maoist Communist Centre and Naxalites in Uttar Pradesh and Delhi also want a ceasefire. All this bodes well for Nepal's Maoists who will have easier access to safe havens across the border. They just need to wait and watch how those negotiations fare.
Nepali and Indian Maoists are part of the Coordination Committee of Maoist Parties of South Asia (COMPOSA), which wants to spread the 'people's war' in the subcontinent. COMPOSA is wary of coordinated crackdowns by Kathmandu and New Delhi against them in both countries, and Nepali Maoists want to have a regional strategy too. For instance, our Maoists would benefit from a truce in the border regions of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.
The current campaign of assassinations and sabotage is only a way for the Maoists to keep themselves engaged. Killing unarmed political workers and civilians is cowardice. Even Mao had a name for that sort of thing, he called those executions the result of a "conscript mentality" and "ideological bankruptcy".
Our Prachandistas regard themselves on a higher plane than Mao's Maoists, and often issue statements saying 'we will not kill political party workers and civilians'. Yet, in internal party circulars they instruct lower committees to fulfill quotas for termination of class enemies. Given the number of non-combatant deaths and civilians killed in roadside bombs and landmines, the revolution appears to have taken on the character of a criminalised war.
The reason they have backed off from a truce is because of the wait-and-see approach to what happens in India. For Prachanda to succeed in 'entering Kathmandu', he and his international comrades are convinced the Indian Maoist rebellion needs to be stronger as well.
Translated from the Nepali original in Himal Khabarpatrika.