For the last fifteen days or thereabout, clandestine parleys have been taking place in India, fully backed by the Government of India, between the Nepali Maoists on the one hand and representatives of the seven party alliance in that country on the other in order to forge a joint front for observing the sixteenth anniversary of the restoration of democracy on April 8.
Some sort of an agreement between the two groups has been arrived at between them, the second in the series since November 2005 when the first one was signed. The second one too was signed in New Delhi and information about the precise venue being kept away from the media.
Several questions regarding India'ssecurity implications arise out of this facility being extended by the Government of India to the terrorist organisation called the Communist Party of Nepal(Maoists) chaired by Pushpa Kamal Dahal who uses the alias Prachanda (Ferocious), and Baburam Bhattarai, a former student of the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This party had launched a violent movement in Nepal since Feb.13, 1996 which has resulted in the death of a total of 13,000 persons so far, 9000 said to be Maoists extremists and 4000 Royal Nepal Army personnel.
One recalls that the Islamic terrorists had staged the 9/11 attack in the USA, the total number of deaths were 3000, That makes the number of casualties in Nepal since 1996 more than four times than that in the 9/11 attack, creating a very dubious world record in the number of persons who lost their lives in terrorist violence.
The main question that arises is that why is the Government of India involved in parleys-as a facilitator of course-in these parleys when the Naxalite menace has engulfed at least 13 States in the country? How come all these Maoists, declared terrorists by the Government of Nepal and which was recently endorsed by the Supreme Court of Nepal are allowed safe passage through Indian territory and housed in India without the security forces not doing anything in the matter? Why, when the Home Minister claims that he has put 26 companies of paramilitary forces in the service of the States in order to help them curb the menace and yet permit the Nepali Naxalites to have free run here? In a recent statement, Shri Shivraj Patil explained that 26 companies meant 26,000 officers and men which was quite a large force.
Shri Patil cannot be unaware of the security threat to India from Nepali Maoists. that is why while abolishing POTA in early 2004, he had also provided a list in the Bill of those terrorist organisations which have been banned under the new law. The Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj is one such organisation, giving credence to the fact that the Nepali Maoists have already created a very strong base in India already. You could see the strength of this banned organisation when they had organised all over India protest demonstrations against the royal takeover in Nepal on Feb.1, 2005. Observer feel that out of the nearly one million Nepalis living in India and earning their livelihood and sending money regularly to the Maoists of Nepal.
How the Maoist movement spread in Nepal since 1996 cannot be described within the short span of an article. However, the predecessors of the Maoists in different names had contested the general elections in Nepal in 1991 and 1994 and were roundly beaten by the two mainstream parties-the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninists (UML). It was after that they had taken to arms since February 1996 abandoning the path of Parliamentary democracy.
Of course ideological veneer was always there, but then Nepal with a population of two cores plus had more than a dozen Communist parties functioning independently. It was only the UML, consisting of seven such Communist partiers which took to the path of Parliamentary Democracy..
The Maoists gained ground because of the total failure of the mainstream democratic parties such as the Nepali Congress and the UML repeatedly since 1991.Ego problems, personal rivalries for securing the top jobs, and general neglect of the masses, remaining confined to the Kathmandu Valley only, have been their consistent failures. The disciplined UML too had suffered splits and expulsions from the party of a few top leaders in these 16 years since democracy was restored on April 1990.
To a certain extent the King'smove to take away all powers from the representatives of the people not only on Feb.1,2005 but also on October 4, 2002, has strengthened the forces opposed to him and parliamentary democracy such as the Maoists. Even if the King gives up the post of virtual Prime Ministership of the Council of Ministers, according to a competent observers of the Nepali political scenario, it would help matters because he has become the symbol, unfortunately of forces opposed to parliamentary democracy.
However, why people of India are concerned at these developments is that this country'ssecurity is of prime concern for its people. There is not only collaboration between Nepali and Indian Maoists-there was a written agreement between the Maoists of Nepal and of Madhya Pradesh (actually Chhattisgarh) for collaboration (Hindustan Times, 23.9.2000), the Maoists of Nepal are also mixed up with the ISI of Pakistan (The Hindu,25.4.2001).
Besides, there is an open border between the two countries which is not very securely guarded. We have the Seema Surkasha Bal there but the number of security personnel does not appear to be adequate. Unfortunately, because of poor media coverage in India of the happenings in Nepal, the people of this country are not adequately informed about the threat from the Naxalites of Nepal.