Revolution in South Asia

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Archive for May 3rd, 2009

Breaking news: Rapid Events in Nepal

Posted by Mike E on May 3, 2009

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Ben Peterson has posted an urgent report about the rapidly unfolding events in Kathmandu — where the Maoist government sacked the royalist head of the army, and where (apparently) streetfighting has broken out.

Ben writes, 3 PM on May 3:

This morning the Maoists in government made the decision to remove Gen. Katawal from his position of Chief of Army Staff after his repeated political based insubordination. This was done after 10 days of trying to reach consensus with the other political parties, up until a final cross party meeting this morning. This consensus was not possible to come too, and due to this the Maoists have made this decision on their own.

As a result of this, reactionary and anti-democractic forces are trying to unseat the overwhelmingly elected government. The major coalitio parteners in government, the Madheshi Peoples Right Forum and the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninst) have reportedly left government, and supporters of the major opposition party the Nepali Congress has small groups of supporters in the streets, disrupting traffic and burning tires. Also and alarmingly, the Chief of Army Staff has not accepted his removal, and is attempting to meet with other members of the millitary.

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Nepal’s Maoists Fire Royalist Army Chief

Posted by Mike E on May 3, 2009

Katawal, just fired as head of Nepal's army

Katawal, just fired as head of Nepal's army

this is a post from al jazeera, original title “Nepal Maoists sack army chief.”

Nepal’s ruling Maoist party has sacked the country’s army chief in a move that analysts warn could trigger a showdown between the prime minister and the military.

Rookmangud Katawal was dismissed from his post “with immediate effect as his clarification for defying the government orders was not satisfactory,” Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Nepal’s information minister, said on Sunday.

Katawal was accused of disobeying orders to halt army recruitment and was questioned over the firing of eight senior army generals. His sacking has yet to be endorsed by the president. “This will all depend on what he [the president] will decide,” Ajaya Bhadra Khanal, the editor of the Himalayan Times newspaper, told Al Jazeera.  “[We don’t know] Whether he will endorse the recommendation of the cabinet or he will offer them another suggestion, or way out.”

‘People’s war’

The army and the Maoists have been locked in a dispute over Maoist demands that their former fighters, currently confined to UN-supervised camps, be fully integrated into the regular army. But the army is refusing to take in Maoist fighters who it views as being politically indoctrinated.

Concerns have grown over what the dispute will mean for the peace deal, which brought the Maoists into the political mainstream and ended their decade-long “people’s war”. By sacking the army chief, the Maoists ignored objections from opposition parties and some allies in the ruling coalition and some analysts have suggested that the Communist party (UML), a key Maoist ally, could quit the government over the move.

UML members and some other small allies stormed out of Sunday’s cabinet meeting, government officials said.

Destabilisation fears

“This has completely destabilised the coalition because the UML and the Maoists have painted themselves into a corner,” said Kunda Dixit, editor of the Nepali Times weekly. “They have no face-saving way out.”

The Maoists won landmark elections last year and forced the abdication of the king. Since then they have been pushing to finalise the peace process by having their former fighters incorporated into the national army.

But the army, a bastion of Nepal’s former ruling elite, accuses the Maoists of not fulfilling their commitments to return property grabbed during the civil war and disband its youth wing, the Young Communist League.

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Arundhati Roy: Release Dr. Binayak Sen

Posted by Mike E on May 3, 2009

Dr. Binayak Sen

Dr. Binayak Sen

Press Statement by Arundhati Roy for the Release of Dr Binayak Sen

“There is very little doubt that Dr Sen is in prison because he spoke out against this policy of the State Government, because he opposed the formation of the Salwa Judum. His incarceration is meant to silence dissent, and criminalize democratic space. It is meant to create a wall of silence around the civil war in Chattisgarh. It is meant to absorb all our attention so that the stories of the hundreds of other nameless, faceless people – ¬those without lawyers, without the attention of journalists – who are starving and dying in the forests, go unnoticed and unrecorded.”

Issued at the Raipur Satyagraha for the Release of Dr Binayak Sen

April 6, 2009 / Raipur, Chattisgarh

Dr Binayak Sen has been in prison for 22 months, arrested under one of India’s most draconian laws, the Chattisgarh Special Public Security Act. This Act has such a vague, diffused definition of ‘Unlawful Activity’ that it renders every person guilty unless he or she can prove their innocence. Dr Sen’s bail application was dismissed twice, both times at the very outset, by the High Court of Chattisgarh and by the Supreme Court of India. On neither occasion was there a discussion on the merits of the case. On the 2nd of December 2008 the High Court of Chattisgarh once again turned down his bail application, without a discussion on the merits of the case, saying that there had been no change in circumstances.

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