The Madhesi movement which seemed recovering from the toll of post-Christmas three weeks long andolan (movement) which left about three dozen dead. Now, it has been paralyzed by Gaur carnage which occurred on Wednesday. It seems to be a turning point in Nepali politics. Madhesi People’s Rights Forum has dared to attack Maoists- they killed at least 28 people in such worst, cold and grisly manner that it has won many enemies overnight and their own followers have been distancing themselves from the party.
Government’s Response/Maoists Pressure:
Today, Maoists’ parliamentary leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara tabled a public interest motion which was approved unanimously by the legislative parliament. The motion demands that a high-level commission should be formed on the basis of political consensus to probe into the Gaur carnage and tough action against the culprits including necessary compensation to the victims' families and free treatment to the Maoists cadres who sustained injuries during the Gaur violence.
Besides that, it has also asked the government to seize the weapons belonging to anti-Maoist retaliation groups. Such groups were formed and armed by the state during the Maoist insurgency. It has also demanded that the government should ban those groups that pose threat to communal harmony and the country's sovereignty hinting towards the ban on MPRF.
However, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Situala said that the government will form an investigation commission taking consideration to the seriousness and sensitivity of the Gaur incident, but not on the basis of politics. He insisted that law should take its course in order to bring the criminals to justice.
MPRF General Secretary, Ram Kumar Sharma said to BBC, “The Maoists-affiliated Madhesi Mukti Morcha tried to attack some twenty-five thousands people who were participating in our mass meeting. They tried to foil the program.”
“Our program was scheduled to be held there, and we had informed people about it a week ago. But they went on to call another meeting at the same place- that too on the same day but they announced their program just a day before our meeting was going to take place- I call this drama- to make our program unsuccessful.”
“However, there were only 200-300 Maoists cadres who under the leadership of Shastri attacked us. Our 20-25 thousands people retaliated and the incident took place.”
“It should be taken into account that only Maoists have not sustained casualties. Our speaker … Patelji was also injured and so many other people have also received injuries. But due to the large number of people retaliating against a handful number of Maoists cadres- the casualties on their side was high.”
It has been confirmed by most of the Nepali media that Maoists-affiliated Madhesi Mukti Morcha had attacked the mass meeting being organized by MPRF.
However, Maoists say that they had already talked with Forum prior to organizing their own program in a 100 meters distance. But it seems that the Maoists tried to play smart and disrupt the rival party’s function. It must be taken into account that the Madhesi Uprising which left about three dozen deaths back a month had only started after a Maoists cadre shot dead a 16-year-old boy, Ramesh Kumar Mahato, in Lahan, Siraha.
After the toll began to increase every other day, the government was supposed to hold dialogues with the agitating groups. For a while, it seemed that there will be dialogues. But the MPRF insisted that they won’t initiate talks until Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula quits. He didn’t quit- and the talks never happened. Due to the government’s lack of interest in addressing the demands of Madhesi people directly, MPRF was successful in garnering support from the Madhesi people. Even though many hesitate to admit this, MPRF wnet on to threaten the very popular base of Maoists-affiliated Madhesi Mukti Morcha led by Matrika Prasad Yadav. So, Maoists become their sworn enemies. More than often, Maoists leaders used words like ‘criminals’, ‘vagabonds’ etc for MPRF, tantalizing them to organize more intense protests and strikes.
Now, people have beginning to raise questions about the Maoists attitude and ego problem. It was due to this attitude to suppress opponents’ voice, crush it with the barrels of guns and threats from its cadres for donations that earned it disrepute. Now, MPRF is a single party in the country which has opposed the Maoists- but unfortunately, MPRF choose the same path Maoists have been using- of violence and bloodshed. Many people here think MPRF is just a group of ‘few’ hundred people- if it was so then why did the loss on Maoists’ side was so high? Maoists were never so innocent as to remain quiet when others attack them. Moreover, they have a habit to attack innocent, ordinary people.
Seven Suspects of Gaur Carnage Arrested:
Altogether seven people have been arrested by the police as yet. They have been accused of being part of the Gaur carnage and the police have also found weapons from their place. Meanwhile,
Home Ministry prohibits MPRF from holding mass meet:
Meanwhile, according to media reports, local administrations in some Terai districts, namely Rautahat, Siraha, Jhapa and Morang, have been instructed by the Home Ministry to prohibit MPRF from organizing any program in the area. A curfew order coinciding with the scheduled mass meet of MPRF was imposed on Saturday in Golbazar, Siraha.
It has been also reported that Morang district administration has issued prohibitory orders for four days beginning Saturday which means any kind of gathering, protest or sit-ins has been banned. Similarly, local administrations in Morang and Jhapa forced MPRF to cancel mass meet in the respective districts.
However, Deputy House Speaker Chandrika Yadav, a Madhesi leader herself, said that if the government issues arrest warrants against the MPRF leaders, it will be a major mistake। Central Committee member of Nepali Congress -Democratic headed by former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Yadav also said that if the government tries to suppress the on-going Madhesi movement, then it will be disastrous for the whole country. Speaking to media persons in a program organized yesterday in Rupendehi by Federation of Nepalese Journalists-Rupendehi chapter, Yadav also stressed on need of dialogues but accused the government of not trying to solve the Madhesi people. She warned that if the government perceives the movement as wrong or as a crime-then this will be the biggest tragedy for the country.
Also published in NowPublic.