Chhattisgarh incident evokes memories of Nepal’s strife

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Pampha Bhusal, spokesperson of the CPN (Maoist)

For almost a decade between 1997 and 2006, reports of casualties in the war between Maoists and the state were all too familiar and a dreaded story in Nepal. So, when news of the Naxalite attack on a Congress convoy in Chhattisgarh surfaced on Sunday, it brought back memories of Nepal’s own Maoist war, among veteran political observers and Nepalis themselves.

“Many of us might be spooked by this headline in Nepali newspapers today: ‘Maoists kills Congress leaders’. The war goes on in India,” tweeted Kunda Dixit, Editor of the English-language weekly Nepali Times.

The Nepali Congress too condemned the attack. Issuing a press release, party president Sushil Koirala expressed “deep sorrow” and said the party “always opposed such violent attacks on democracy and human rights.”

Muted response

The reaction from the Maoists in the south-east-Asian nation, who abandoned the “People’s War” and joined peaceful politics in 2006, was more muted. There were no press statements and senior leaders from United Communist Party of Nepal (Maoists), which has led the government twice since joining the peace process, were reluctant to make any comments.

“It’s India’s internal matter,” said Pampha Bhusal, spokesperson of the CPN (Maoist), a “hardliner” party that recently broke away from its mother party over, among other things, the party’s perceived tilt towards India. “It’s up to the rulers of India the people there to decide how to solve it.”

There are fears in Nepal that the splinter party may opt for another armed insurrection against the state, although the party has maintained, ever since it spun off, that the “time is not ripe” for a revolt and it would pursue peaceful politics for now.

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