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Martial Law in Nepal

November 11, 2005


from Socialism and Liberation, April 2005

In Nepal, the continued insurgency led by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) triggered a backlash from monarchist-led military forces. In an outright coup, King Gyanedra announced the suspension of parliament on Feb. 1, rolling back fundamental democratic rights. There has been a virtual media black out: All non-governmental communication with the outside world has been cut indefinitely.

Nepalese government troops unleashed a wave of terror following the coup. A March 8 report in the British Newspaper Telegraph described “700 homes burnt and 30 people lynched” in counterinsurgency campaigns.

The crisis was precipitated by a general strike, called by the insurgency, which brought much of the country outside of Katmandu to a virtual standstill. To suppress popular support for the insurgency, the military detained or put under house arrest leaders of all the major political parties and trade unions.

The military crackdown, however, has not stopped the rebels from operating. In a daring March 6 attack on government buildings in the Southwestern Sandhikharka district, rebels torched thirteen government buildings. This attack came on the heels of government statements that, despite King Gyanendra’s martial law, a clear roadmap to peace and democracy had been established.

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