The revolutionary forces in Nepal led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) have been engaged in a country-wide people’s war (“jana youdha”) against the royal government. Much of the country has been liberated. The palace and the Royal Nepal Army now retain control over the central valley of Nepal and areas adjacent to their fortified bases in the district towns in the countryside, and few other areas.
On the evening of Sunday, August 7th, the People’s Liberation Army marked a new stage in the conflict by launching, for the first time, a direct frontal attack on a major fortified base of the RNA.. The “Pili” base of the RNA was established last month near the village of Pakha, close to the headquarters of Kalikot District in the valley of the Tila, a branch of the Karnali River in the western hills of Nepal. The district lies adjacent to the core revolutionary base region of Jajarkot. Establishing the base was a forward move into liberated territory by the RNA, part of a strategy to increase the RNA’s mobility by driving a military road along the line separating the heart of the revolutionary zone and a more recently liberated region, and between the two RNA controlled and fortified airstrips of Surkhet and Jumla. By August 8th this strategy lay in ruins, with the base demolished, and of its garrison of 200 the RNA admits at least 50 are dead, and the PLA has announced it has taken 52 prisoner. The PLA announced that it had lost 22 soldiers in the attack.
The RNA propaganda office in Kathmandu enjoys a direct line to the world’s media, and faced with the unavoidable fact of a significant strategic defeat responded by making the accusation that some of the dead soldiers had been shot after surrender. This unsubstantiated slander was duly picked up and repeated by the established global media.
On August 10th Monthly Review, along with many other far more prosperous media outlets, received a press statement from the revolutionaries emphatically denying the report. The statement is also of importance for setting out a policy of co-operation with the UN in regard to the investigation of human rights abuses, and of co-operation with the UN and with certain NGOs and INGOs in regard to questions of construction and development. As far as we can tell, this press statement (unlike the slander it rebuts) has not been reported on the internet. We therefore set it out here, edited for grammatical clarity. This edit is of course unauthorized, as we cannot communicate with the source of the original, but we believe it fully represents the sense of the Nepalese original.
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
This press statement has been issued to clarify party policy in connection with human rights, and development and construction.
- Our party is a revolutionary party struggling to establish a real democracy of the Nepalese people. We have publicly stated our principled adherence to the core and the spirit of the Geneva Conventions in regard to human rights in the course of armed conflicts, and we have emphasized out determination to adhere to these standards ever since the people’s war in Nepal began under the leadership of our party. Our established practice has been to maintain a respectful and humane conduct toward prisoners of war, and we have repeatedly released such prisoners, demonstrating that our practice corresponds to the statements we have made as to our convictions and beliefs.
- The reality, not hidden from anyone, is that the feudal “Royal” army commanded from the Palace in Kathmandu has “disappeared” thousands without legal process, inhumanely tortured and killed the sons and daughters of the Nepalese people, raped women, beaten the poor peasants, looted their few possessions and set fire to their villages. The palace has openly engaged in the adventure of crushing the entire country under the millstone of autocracy by taking away all the fundamental and sovereign rights of the citizenry in the feudal royal coup of February 1, 2005. Against this background, we have publicly welcomed the decision taken by the United Nations to appoint a High Commission to investigate and protect human rights in Nepal, and have already demonstrated our determination to help the High Commission to the extent of our abilities. We also wish to clarify through this statement that our party policy has been to allow the aforesaid Commission of the United Nations to travel to any part of the country affected by the conflict, to study and inspect the place of any sensitive incident, to visit the prisoners under our control, and as necessary to assist the Commission in discussions and interactions with the different units of our party. This policy of our party is also being applied in regard to the International Red Cross Organizations.
- Everyone now knows that a base camp of the “Royal” army in Kalikot District was daringly attacked and captured by the People’s Liberation Army on August 7th and 8th. The “Royal” government has spread propaganda to the world media that 40 of the captured royal soldiers were killed in cold blood. This story is totally false, the product of a diseased conspiratorial imagination. Far from shooting soldiers after capturing them, the People’s Liberation Army has taken 52 royal soldiers into detention. These royal soldiers in our detention are being treated respectfully, and they will be released in the appropriate time and by an appropriate process. In addition, we wish to issue a heartfelt appeal to all the human rights organizations to protest the random air attacks being carried out by the royal army upon remote villages and innocent and unarmed people to hide their defeat and cowardice.
- Some lack of clarity and regional disparities in practice have remained in our policy toward the UNDP and certain different NGOs and INGOs in regard to construction and development. Our definite party policy has been to provide help to the development efforts of the United Nations. Recently our party has issued a statement to implement this policy and to implement it firmly and evenly all across the country, and our party is confident that this shall produce positive results. As far as different NGOs and INGOs are concerned, our party decision has been to work with them and assist their work by maintaining coordination and consultation and agreement with regional and district level party organizations and people’s governments. If any problem arises in this regard, we wish to clarify that our policy is to resolve such problems by discussions between our party and the central bodies of the relevant organizations and institutions.
August 10, 2005
Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)