In India, the year 2008 opened with an attack upon a CRPF camp at Rampur, Uttar Pradesh, in the sleepy hours of the morning. Initial investigations revealed the attack was probably an inside job, and the finger of suspicion pointed to ?surrendered? Kashmiri jehadis who were absorbed in the police force under an erroneous amnesty scheme. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has now assured an eternal bonanza to terrorist families by promising a lifelong pension for every jehadi slain by security personnel in the attempt to save India for citizens like us.
A similar disaster awaits Nepal with the increased pressure on the Koirala regime to induct the goon squads of Maoist leader Prachanda into the Nepal Army. Nepal'sforced transition from a monarchy to a republic, under US machinations disguised as advice from the Carter Centre, has already ruptured Nepali society and polity.
It may be recalled that in November 2007, former American President Jimmy Carter visited Nepal to mediate between the Interim Government and the Maoists who had quit office to blackmail the regime. Shri Carter, a well known evangelist, grabbed the opportunity to promote the Maoist agenda, urging that the Interim Parliament be allowed to declare Nepal a Republic in advance of elections to the Constituent Assembly. He insisted on reform of the Nepal Army before Maoist goons returned civilians? lands seized during the insurgency, and demanded integration and rehabilitation of Maoist fighters in the regular army.
Prachanda is now insisting this unreasonable demand be met. The Army is naturally appalled; Chief of Army Staff R. Katawal demurred that the Nepal Army should be kept above ?isms? and that politically motivated and indoctrinated cadres should find no place in it. The United Nations Mission to Nepal (UNMIN) estimates there are almost 20,000 ?recognised combatants? in the Maoist army. Many so-called soldiers have been loaned to the Young Communist League, which has seized valuable private lands and is a law unto itself.
As far as the Nepali interim Constitution is concerned, it only says ?integration? will take place as per recommendations of a special cabinet committee after Constituent Assembly elections. Nowhere does the Interim Constitution promise to absorb Maoist cadres into the Nepal Army. Prime Minister G.P. Koirala, who holds the Defence portfolio, has maintained a public silence on the issue, but is reported to have privately endorsed the views of the Nepal Army with officers and of the Maoists with the comrades! Two senior Ministers, Madhav Kumar Nepal and Khadga Oli, have warned Prachanda and Koirala not to politicise the army by inducting Maoist cadres. Shri Govindaraj Joshi, central committee member of the Nepali Congress, also opposes ruining the Army.
Analysts feel the Maoists have raked the integration issue at a time when preparations for the Constituent Assembly elections are underway in order to have an excuse to boycott the poll process once their cadres are paid under an understanding reached with the ruling alliance on December 23, 2007. Under this deal, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) will receive nearly Rs two billion from the state exchequer by mid-February, to ensure the Maoists do not backtrack from the poll process due in April.
In an astonishing move, on January 18, Prachanda called a press conference and claimed that Nepal could witness some political assassinations, which the army may use as an excuse to come to the ?rescue of democracy?. Observers feel such provocations are unwise as Nepal already suffers a government unable to bring stability to the country and unable to secure legitimacy through elections. The truth may be that the ?boys? are unwilling to test their popularity at the hustings.
Prachanda of course, tries to pretend he has the mandate of heaven. In a move that has completely foxed observers, the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has announced it will celebrate the birthday of North Korean despot, Kim Jong-II, on February 16. The reclusive North Korean leader is accused of having ordered the 1983 bombing in Rangoon, which killed 17 visiting South Korean officials, and the 1987 blast on Korean Air Flight 858 that killed all 115 people aboard.
As the effete GP Koirala regime stands by helplessly, the Maoist-held Information and Communication Ministry has announced that Nepal will observe the 66th birthday of the North Korean President on February 16; the birth anniversary of his father Kim Il-Sung on April 15, and the founding of the Democratic People'sRepublic of North Korea on September 9. Information and Communication Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara is heading the committee supervising the celebrations. He told the media that Nepal was celebrating the three occasions as a symbol of anti-imperialism.
February is also the birth anniversary month of Nepal'sfounder King Prithvi Narayan Shah. Shamefully, under Maoist pressure, the regime will cease to honour the great monarch. In Nepali history, Prithvi Narayan Shah is reputed as the unifier of the country that till then was split between feuding principalities. This legacy endures among the common people who have increasingly become critical of the Maoists and their slights against the monarchy, which many hold to be the symbol of Nepali unity. Shri GP Koirala'sdaughter, Sujata Koirala, a Minister without portfolio, has in fact defended the monarchy as a symbol of the Himalayan state'svery identity. But given her father'syears of weak-kneed pusillanimity, this may be too little, too soon.