If doubts remain over the direction of Nepal's Maoist movement, the anachronistic nature of the Maoist leaderships' thought process, or about the Maoists' interpretation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (and the related Arms Management Treaty), the interviews below are a MUST SEE!!
CNN-IBN's Karan Thapar does a splendid job of hitting almost every issue of significance to contemporary Nepali politics (except the Bhutanese refugee crisis) and preventing Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal (a.k.a. "Prachanda") from his well-noted tactical digressions.
Regular and pointed interjections by Thapar throughout the interview keeps the session focussed and Thapar's intermittent summaries of Prachanda's responses provide "black and white" positions on questions of relevance.
On the Monarchy
- Prachanda is happy that the second amendment to the interim constitution provides the basis for removing the monarchy but insists on removing the monarchy before the CA polls, regardless.
- Implication: Begin watching for Maoist allegations that the monarchy is meddling in preparations for the CA, with a view to undermining the polls.
- Prachanda maintains that his party will "respect" the results of first sitting of the constituent assembly (should the assembly vote to retain a ceremonial monarchy). However, he also states that should this unlikely event occur, the Maoist party will proceed to "educate" the people that their choice has been wrong.
- Implication: The Maoists will not accept a ceremonial monarchy regardless of the verdict of the constituent assembly. They will "respect" (meaning they will cosmetically accept the results) but they will also immediately proceed to launch yet another movement ("peacefully") to once again, rid the monarchy. Once more, this is a subtle threat being issued by the Maoist leader and a way to keep the masses in constant fear so that voting is held along the lines of appeasement, not free voter sentiments.
On the Surrender of Arms, YCL and Maoist Control
- Prachanda believes that allegations against the YCL are highly exaggerated; he wants people of focus on how the YCL has helped clean city streets, build roads, etc.
- Prachanda also stated explicitly that his party has not "surrendered" their weapons that the "compromise" that has occurred is premised on Maoist and Nepali Army integration.
- Prachanda feels firmly in charge of his organization so theoretically, he should be held accountable to for the murders, kidnappings, extortion that his people continue to carry out.
- Implication: Look out for a certain former Nepali Army General that the Maoists will bring on board to push for military integration. Although not mentioned during the interview, it is very likely that retired General Chitra Bahadur Gurung will take this spot.
Overall, this interaction session is one that Prachanda probably wishes he had not had. There was nothing difficult about Karan Thapar's questions; most of Prachanda's answers should have been qualified "yes's" or "no's."
Instead, what blurted out of Prachanda's mouth was a series of incongruent (and incoherent) responses, non-existent English vocabulary, and a very clear intent to disregard any political development that is at odds with a Maoist vision of a restructured Nepali State.
Once again, the Maoist leadership has told the world what their intentions are and how they plan to proceed forward. And once more, sections of Nepali intelligentsia, the Nepali media and all parties making money off of Nepal's peace process, say nothing.
The lesson learned is this: There is not a single individual or group, or party in Nepal that can challenge the Maoists in the terms that Karan Thapar did.
Why? The answer is simple. During the Gyanendra's rule or the imperfect democracy before Gyanendra, people could go to the state authority for protection if threatened by the Maoists. Today, no editor or civil society activist or writer can operate with a clear conscience because should the Maoists come after them, there is no one they can turn to - especially not the Home Ministry.
This is the status to which "Loktantra" has been diminished. Where are all the protestors abroad and at home, who took utmost pride in championing the 12 Pont Agreement and appeasing the Maoists? Where are all those people who revelled in fighting Royal tyranny and spoke of "morals" and dedication to liberal democracy in Nepal?
The Bitter Truth About Melamchi – Maoist Ideology at Odds with the 21st Century Political Economy
Discrepancies in Maoist Weapons Inventoried by UNMIN – Do the Math
The Idiot’s Guide to the Maoist Playbook
Surreal Politics - How Nepal’s Intellectual / Political Class, Continue to Look the Other Way…
Thoughts on Retired Nepali Army General Chitra B. Gurung’s Proposition