- Chinese Influence in Nepal
- Murderers are free
- Human rights are selective
- Reservation in Army Jobs
- Ethnic Unrest
- Anger against UN and International Community
- Land transfer
- The Priest Appointment
- Why Anti-India sentiment in Nepal?
- Regressive forces
- Change of India’s Stand
- Criticism of India’s Nepal Policy
Nepal logjam is a three part article series. Make sure you’ve read previous parts, before proceeding further.
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|2 of 3||
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||Discussed in this article.|
- However in the late 80s, King of Nepal decided to buy weapons from China.
- India responded by putting trade-embargo on Nepal. This completely paralyzed the Nepalese economy.
- Thus, Royal+Political establishment in Nepal learned the lesson ki “India se pangaa =bahut mahengaa.”(If we annoy India, it’ll be very costly for us!)
- So, the Nepal King cancelled weapons deal with China and maintained a bit of distance from Chinese authorities.
- But ever since the abolition of Monarchy, China is building strong relations with Nepal.
Lumbini Special Development Zone
- Lumbini, about 50 km from India’s border.
- It is a pilgrim place for Buddhists and Hindus.
- Asia Pacific Exchange and Cooperation Foundation (APECF)= NGO backed by Chinese Government.
- APECF has signed deal with Nepalese Government to Development this area. (Project worth $3 billion.)
- This has upset India, because we wanted to develop this tourist city on our own.
|2003||USA banned the Nepali Maoist party as a “terrorist organization.”|
|September 2012||US has taken their name off the list of terrorist organizations.|
This is seen as a move to become friendly with the Nepalese Government (presently headed by Maoist party) and prevent absolute domination of either China or India in this country. Anyways, back to the point:
- Supreme Court of Nepal, convicted a Maoist MP for murder.
- But since he belongs to PM Baburam Bhattarai’s party, the Government isnot doing anything.
- In fact Prime Minister asked the President to pardon that fellow!
- The Speaker of Nepalese “Lok Sabha” did not disqualify the said Murderer MP even after court-conviction.
- This has eroded Bhattarai’s image in local crowd + among international players.(UN, India etc.)
- Amnesty International and other human rights’ groups say that Nepal’s Government (led by Maoists) is not prosecuting their own leaders for genocide and crimes against humanity.
- PM Bhattarai has unilaterally withdrawn human rights violation cases, including those of murder and abductions, against his party leaders and cadre.
- It seems the international community has chosen to shut its eyes to the atrocities committed by the Maoists, in the name of getting “politically stable” Nepal.
- On the other hand, some Nepalese Army officials are being prosecuted for “Human rights violation” during civil war. This is creating bitterness between Army and Government.
UN Mission to Nepal (UNMIN)
- To assist the peace process
- To manage the arms and armies of the Maoist party (after they joined democratic process in 2006)
- 2010: UNMIN left Nepal.
- UNMIN has been accused of being Pro-Maoist, when it came to handling human rights violation.
- (2011) Nepal’s ranks around 150 in the Transparency International, so you get the idea of how things roll in Nepal.
- The officers from Irrigation department complained to Prime minister that Irrigation minister doesn’t pass any project unless bribes are paid to him in advance.
- Similarly bureaucrats from almost every department have openly alleged that ministers demand huge bribes for transfers, promotions and plum postings.
- Elections to local bodies have not been conducted in the past decade.
- Asian Development Bank and the World Bank reports show heavy corruption in poverty removal programs done at national and local levels.
- One of the Coalition partners of Maoist Government = the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) aka Madhesi party.
|Madhesi party||@Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai,
|Babu||Ok ok, I agree.|
|Army Chief||But I won’t agree.
The Nepal army will recruit anyone fulfilling the prescribed eligibility criteria.
We have never discriminated against anyone in the past.
|Babu||Ok ok. I back off.|
So, ultimately this move did not materialize but it angered the other Hindu castes (Brahman, Chhetri etc.).
- Maoist party wants to divide Nepal on Ethnic lines. (besides, their coalition partner Madesi party is blackmailing them to create separate province for Madesi people.)
- But other Hindu castes are against this move.
- Particularly Brahman and Chhetris (=30% per cent of the total population).
- So they also started bandh and agitations. They donot want provinces to be created on ethnicity.
- Such Bandh and agitations have badly affected tourism and income of people.
- UN, Swiss and Norwegian Government had given money to certain Nepali NGOs and Organizations that claimed to work for poverty removal.
- But ground reality, all the money was only used for particular castes and groups.
- This has further annoyed the Upper caste organizations.
- They started agitating against UN and other donor agencies.
- Finally UN representatives gave statement “We had given money only for “poverty alleviation”. If that money has been used for promoting caste and ethnic hatred, we regret it.”
- During the Civil War (1996-2006), the Maoists held their Kangaroo courts and took away land from “rich” farmers in rural areas and distributed it among their own cadres.
- Under the Peace accord, such land was to be returned to original owners.
- But Prime Minister Bhattarai (of Maoist party) has instructed the revenue department to legalize such land transfers= Maoist cadres will continue possessing the land.
- This is brewing more tension among villagers.
- According to age old tradition, only Indian Brahmin were appointed as head priest in Kathmandu’s Pashupatinath temple.
- But when Prachanda became Prime minister, he appointed a Nepali Brahmin as the head priest of the temple.
- This led to massive protests by the Hindu community in Nepal.
- 2012: Nepal Government makes a new law to restore appointment process. (=only Dravid Shaivite Brahman community from the Trilinga* area of India can become “Bhatt/Priest” in that temple.
- *Trilinga= a territory that comprises parts of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu
- In the above points, you saw how and why common Nepalese people are unhappy with the things.
- The rule of Maoist Government has brought nothing but corruption, ethnic tension, economic problems.
- Many Nepalese people have started thinking, “This Maoist led Government is bad and India has supported them to power.= India is the bad guy.”
- (Just like how common Afghan people would feel against America, for supporting that corrupt Karzai regime.)
- On the other hand, the “regressive” forces in Nepal, also hate India for not supporting Former king Gyanendra and the Monarchy, during and after the civil war.
- Recall that Maoists did not return the land to the original owners. So there is bitterness in certain population sections of villages.(rich, well-to-do farmers etc.)
- Similarly the demand of ethnic states for Madhesi etc. are not acceptable to other Hindu castes (Brahman, Chhetri etc.)
- 2012: The former king Gyanendra starts making visits to various districts of Nepal.
- Large number of people greet him. There is lot of slogan shouting in his favor. Thousands of people come to see him and hear his speeches.
- It proves that many people are still in favor of the old traditional monarchy. (unlike Indian calculation that lead to change of Nepal policy in 2005.)
- And this section of Nepalese want the things to return to old system.
- These forces are labelled as “Regressive forces” (Regressive=returning to a former less advanced state.)
- Right now they’re fragmented, (don’t have a special political party to champion their cause.)
- But who knows, in long term, King and or his family or someone else might start political party.
- This is making Prachanda and the Maoist party bit nervous. Because public who initially supported them are now disillusioned.
- Until now, Prachanda used to run propaganda that Royal family has stashed truckload of cash in Swiss bank accounts.
- But recently the Swiss authorities told that Royal family of Nepal had no account in any Swiss bank. This has further emboldened the regressive forces.
- So Prachanda is trying “scare-tactics” in his speeches to woo his traditional vote-bank, “look if you don’t support us. These “regressive forces” will come back and make your life hell like.”
- Recently, India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid’s said, “India has no particular “likes or dislikes” for any force in Nepal.”
- Meaning we’ll work with anyone in Nepal as long as it serves our national-interest. (it proves that We want to correct our earlier mistake of supporting the Maoists.)
- This statement of Khurshid has made Prachanda and Baburam really nervous.
- They fear India might play some “dirty-trick” behind the scene, and support these regressive forces/King/Nepali Congress(NC) etc. or even worst: support Kiran, who totally hates both of them!
- Under Maoist regime in Nepal, Chinese presence has increased. (compared to previous Monarchy).
- India gained an ally (Nepali Maoists) but India lost goodwill of Common Nepalese people.+ Plus there is new guy to deal with: Kiran and his anti-India campaign.
Ofcourse, in politics and diplomacy you cannot keep everyone happy. But…
- Prachanda’s control over Maoist party has declined. (Recall how Kiran left his party with almost 1/3 of the cadres.)
- Many of the remaining Maoist cadres and smalltime party leaders are unhappy with Prachanda and Baburam’s corruption and lavish lifestyle.
- Most of the Maoists combatants have deposited their weapons to army, accepted cash and left for their villages.
- Prachanda doesn’t have the political clout like before.
- Prachanda doesn’t have the power of violence anymore. (He cannot start another civil war now. Weapons deposited, Maoists combatants left for home.)
- The romance period with Maoism is over. Public is angry and unhappy.
- In next election, Maoist party’s seats will decline.
- Even Baburam and Prachanda don’t have much friendship with eachother= in future, there may be even more splits in the Maoist party.
- So in the coming days, Prachanda will not be the dominant figure in Nepal.
- This means, he will not be of much use to either India or China.
So, ultimately India wasted time and money supporting the wrong team for 6 years.
In return we got bad publicity among Nepalese people that we (Indians) are responsible for their crisis: both financial and political.
- And now India will have to repeat “making friends” exercise with whoever becomes the new king maker in Nepal.
- Therefore, when President Ram Baran Yadav visited India in December 2012, Indian establishment did not offer him any open support.
- Right now we are in “wait n watch mode” to see who emerges as the “main player”.
For the list of all previous articles on [Diplomacy], visit Mrunal.org/diplomacy