Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Troubled rebels

It is learnt that Rit Bahadur Khadka, central committee member of Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and chief of the Dolakha District Jana Sarkar ("people's government"), has been killed in an encounter with plainclothes Nepal Army soldiers in Parsa. News of the death has not, however, been confirmed by the security forces or the Maoists. About two weeks ago, a Defence Ministry release was released which claimed that a few "high level" Maoist leaders had been arrested in Parsa. Political analysts think that the arrests and the alleged death of Khadka in Parsa could be more than mere coincidence. Our sources cannot give details as to exactly when, where and how Khadka was killed, but we have confirmed that the incident took place after the second week of June.

Similarly, Rabi Bogati, alias Anant, the son of Maoist politburo member Posta Bahadur Bogati, alias Diwakar, was killed at Kumari in Nuwakot district on 20 June. Anant held a high rank in the Nuwakot Jana Sena ("people's army"). In an interview given to the Internet edition of Jana Awaj [a Maoist party mouthpiece], a high-ranking guerrilla leader Rajesh confirmed that 32 high-ranking guerrillas, including a very influential company commander Roshan, were killed during the encounter at Gam on 2 May. The Maoists have already confirmed the deaths of central committee advisor Ajab Lal Yadav and alternative member in the Western region Yam Prasad Banjade.

However, the Maoist leadership has kept silent about the government claim that alternative politburo member Khoj Bahadur Kandel and alternative central committee member Lekh Raj Bhatta have both been killed. The Maoists have also not reacted to the death of Eastern region militia commander Ras Kamal at Nepalthok in Kavre a month ago, news of which was publicised by the security forces with photographs. On the other hand, president of the All-Nepal Free Student's Union (Revolutionary), Devendra Parajuli, has already confirmed the deaths of five student leaders, including vice president of the Union, Benoj Adhikari.

Instead of acknowledging the deaths of their commanders, Maoist leadership has been issuing releases claiming that their opponents have faced "heavy casualties and defeat". Political analysts believe that the Maoists have been denying their casualties for fear that acknowledging them might frustrate their fighters on the ground and make them become defensive, or even surrender to the government.

We have also learnt that the Maoists are facing severe shortages of medicine and food in remote areas of Rolpa, Rukum and Jajarkot, mostly due to the government-imposed limit on the amount of food-grain that can be supplied to these districts. The security forces learnt about this, and the fact that the Maoist guerrillas were running low on funds during the Lisne Lek attack when they intercepted a letter addressed to the central committee requesting that Rs 2.5 million be released immediately.

The local produce in the hill districts of mid-western region cannot sustain even the local needs, and so obviously limiting the supply from the outside would directly affect the Maoists' supplies. Moreover, in these districts the security forces have already confiscated large stores stockpiled by the Maoists. This is why political analysts believe that Maoist guerrillas are suffering hardships due to shortage of food, and also suspect that there might be a rebellion brewing in the guerrilla ranks, a situation of rebellion might have occurred due to the frustration caused by a paucity of medical supplies. Our sources claim that there has been an increase in the number of guerrillas defecting.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)