Nepal Maoists condemn Indian operation against rebels

By Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS,

Kathmandu : A year after India started paramilitary operations against its own outlawed Maoist party and nearly five months after security forces killed a top guerrilla leader, Nepal’s Maoist party has finally reacted to the incidents officially, condemning both and underlining its continued antagonism towards the Indian government.

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The week-long plenum of Nepal’s largest party, that ended in a remote village in western Nepal Saturday, has formally condemned India’s ‘Operation Green Hunt’, the offensive started in five Indian states in November 2009 to flush out underground Maoists, known as Naxalites in India.

“We condemn the oppression of the Indian people in the name of Operation Green Hunt,” the plenum declaration said. “We urge for a peaceful resolution of the problem.”

The 14-point statement also condemned the “immoral and planned murder” of Cherukuri Rajkumar, who was the spokesman of the Indian Maoists under the nom de guerre Azad.

Indian police say Azad was killed during a gun battle with the guerrillas in Andhra Pradesh state in July, a claim rejected by the rebels who allege he was captured and shot dead in cold blood.

The official show of solidarity by Nepal’s Maoists with the Indian Naxalites comes after their chief, Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda, came under fire from his own party members at the plenum for the long official silence of the party on their fellow ideologues in India.

The week-long Maoist extravaganza, expected to formulate future strategy, however ended in a whimper after widening animosity between Prachanda and his two deputies.

Prachanda, whose leadership is under challenge, has advocated a new revolt if “reactionary forces” at home and foreign intervention prevent the implementation of a new constitution by May 2011.

However, the Maoists have been advocating a fresh “people’s revolt” since the fall of Prachanda’s short-lived government last year and their effort to create public support and return to power has consistently fallen flat.

Now, as the decision-making central committee of the party has been given the task of resolving the leadership tussle, the former guerrillas have fallen back on their pet hate, India.

When the Maoists started their 10-year insurgency in 1996, anti-India tirade had accounted for a fourth of the 40 demands.

They were revived at the plenum once more with the Maoists demanding an end to the 1950 India-Nepal Peace and Friendship Treaty that grants equal status to each other’s citizens, and all other “unequal pacts”, an end to encroachment on Nepali territory and the return of Indian soldiers from Nepal.

It is also asking for a review of all projects related to the development of hydropower and water resources, a demand primarily targeting India since most of the nascent republic’s water agreements have been signed with either the Indian government or Indian companies.

Some of these projects were agreed upon during Prachanda’s own government and passed by parliament when his party was a dominant partner in other coalition governments.

The plenum has also condemned the recent formal charge by India that the Maoists were providing arms training to their Indian peers in Nepal with the help of militant Islamic terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

What the plenum rhetoric failed to address is the crucial issue of nearly 20,000 Maoist guerrilla fighters, who are yet to be discharged four years after the Maoists signed a peace agreement.

Unless the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army is disbanded, the promulgation of a new constitution has been ruled out by the other parties.

Less than 50 days now remain for the rehabilitation of the PLA before the UN agency that is monitoring them begins to exit from Nepal.