Biplav-led outfit is using the Maoist-era playbook to sow chaos, but the government is slow to act

Published On: December 18, 2020 09:55 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 17: On December 8, a teacher was killed by the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal in Morang district. The outfit took the responsibility of brutal killing of 54-year-old Rajendra Shrestha, claiming the teacher was killed in ‘retaliation’.

The brutal killing of the principal of Sarswati School of Miklajung Rural Municipality is a reminder of the decade-long Maoist conflict.

“The outfit is following the footsteps of the erstwhile Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The government needs to seriously work on controlling the activities of Biplav before it's too late,” say former security officials.    

The government, in March last year, declared the party as a criminal outfit, following their involvement in several criminal activities. Since then, almost 2,000 cadres and leaders of the outfit have been arrested by police, but criminal activities of the Biplav-led party did not stop.

During the decade-long Maoist conflict, over 17,000 people including civilians, insurgents, and security officials were killed, and 1,300 are missing, and thousands were displaced.

The criminal activities of the party have not come to an end; rather it has increased in recent times.

According to data maintained by Nepal Police, the outfit has already killed four people, detonated more than 100 bombs, and kidnapped two individuals. The outfit is also involved in extorting money from businesses and local political leaders in rural areas. 

Recently, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industries also said that businesses outside Kathmandu have been forced to pay the outfit. The Federation did not take the name of the outfit, but it was hinting at the Biplav-led outfit. 

In a meeting with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, FNCCI said it has been receiving complaints of extortion from businesses operating outside Kathmandu. “In the past few months, businesses – in rural areas – have been pressurized either to provide the extortion amount or close their businesses,” said FNCCI President Shekhar Golchha, during a meeting with PM Oli.

As the criminal activities of the outfit have started to increase, the Ministry of Home Affairs has directed Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force to aggressively counter the outfit. Both the security forces said it has been closely working with the Nepal Army to control the threat of the outfit.

According to Ramesh Kharel, former deputy inspector general, the state should either control the activities of the outfit by using force or invite them for a dialogue. “The government should work to control their activities before it’s too late. The activities of Biplav are rising just like that of Maoists two decades ago. This is alarming. The government should act,” said Kharel, adding that the state has termed the outfit as criminal, but more than 90 percent of arrested cadres are released.

Kharel also said that the government has been dilly dallying to control Biplabv’s activities as Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa also comes from the same background.

Likewise, a former additional inspector general of Nepal Police said that the government needs to coordinate with the security forces to control Biplav’s activities. “Looking at the activities of Biplav, I feel the government needs to act at the earliest,” he added.

“The government needs to come up with a clear policy. It should equip the security forces with modern weapons. Police still have decades-old weapons,” Kharel said.

Biplav left the Maoist party in 2012 along with the current Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa. Citing that the Maoists did not respect the achievements of the decade-long conflict, Biplav formed Communist Party of Nepal. However, in 2016, Thapa returned to the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led Maoist Party.


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