Nepal: Sliding Towards Civil War


March 14, 2007: The Hindus (Mahadhesis) of southern Nepal, make up about a third of the population, are poor, and want to get something out of all the changes that are coming. But the Maoists consider the Mahadhesis to be opportunists, trying to grab a share of power after the Maoists did all the work. Joining the Mahadhesis are the tribal peoples (of which the Ghurkas and Sherpas are the most famous), who also want to see some changes in their own situation. Leaders of these ethnic factions are competing with each other for followers. They do this up making bigger demands, and more threats of violence. There is also much anger against the Maoists by the majority of the population. The Maoists are led by upper caste Hindus, as are the political parties. The Maoists are seen by the tribes, and lower caste Hindus (like the Mahadhesi) as violent and untrustworthy. The political parties are seen as corrupt. The king is no prize either, but is seen more as a symbol of national unity, than anything else. The king, after all, is just another upper-caste Hindu. The caste system (there are four castes, plus about a fifth of Hindus who have no caste and are "untouchable") is illegal in India, but still a major factor in social relations, and politics. Same deal in Nepal.

March 13, 2007: Now both the political parties and the Maoists are calling for the monarchy to be eliminated. But many Nepalis want to keep the monarchy. Will they fight to keep the monarchy. No one knows.

March 12, 2007: In the south, pro-Maoist students clashed with Mahadhesi protestors, leaving nearly 40 injured.

March 10, 2007: The government agreed to give more parliament seats to the Mahadhesi people in the south. Violence continues in the south, with at least one dead, and several dozen wounded in the last few days. In some parts of the south, police have imposed curfews.

March 9, 2007: Kidnapping for ransom is becoming more common in the capital, with at least twenty known cases of it in the last few months. Criminal activity, in general, has increased since the peace deal with the Maoists. That's because police and army forces have been busy with the Maoist disarmament and increasing ethnic violence.

March 4, 2007: A Maoist faction, Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (JTMM), has threatened violence if the government doesn't come up with money and other benefits for Maoists and their families. JTMM is based in southern Nepal.

March 2, 2007: The army is pushing for an investigation into the low number of weapons the Maoists surrendered. Many army officers believe the Maoists have hidden most of their weapons, in violation of the peace deal. The UN says it will look into it.

March 1, 2007: Now there's an armed separatist group in the south, the Mahadhesi Tiger (MT) , who are kidnapping and threatening people who oppose their plan for a separate Mahadhesi state in southern Nepal. The Maoists oppose this, as do many Mahadhesi. There are other, similar, groups like Tarai People's Liberation Front.

February 28, 2007: Mahadhesis have set up more roadblocks. For Nepal, the roads in the south are the main connection to the outside world. The resulting violence with Maoists left one dead and nearly 30 injured. Meanwhile, a coalition of tribes in eastern Nepal, representing about ten percent of the population, are also demanding to be heard. The Maoists are not too happy about this either.

February 27, 2007: Some Hindus (Mahadhesis) of southern Nepal, following the Malist example, have organized into armed groups, and are trying to support themselves by extorting businesses and wealthy individuals.

February 26, 2007: The government came up with more money for food and housing at the Maoist camps, and the fighters who had left are returning. The government will also provide the Maoists in the camps a dollar a day for spending money.


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