INDEPENDENT NEWS

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar: Gaur Massacre

Published: Tue 27 Mar 2007 10:34 AM
Gaur Massacre
By Siddhi B. Ranjitkar
Those killed in Gaur on Wednesday, March 21, 2007, no matter who they were: Maoists or Madheshis or Pahades, were the children of the same Mother Nepal. The history of Nepal was full of the palace massacres for grabbing power starting in 1846 and ending in June 2001. The palace massacres put Jung Bahadur Kunwar later Rana to power in 1846, and Gyanendra in 2001. Now, the power struggle shifted from the palace to the field but the victims are the same Nepalis called in different names. Nepalis want a lasting peace but the peace has been elusive as the political leaders are interested only in grabbing power and then staying on in power by hook or crook. In the end, people responsible for killings would never escape from the crime though they had a short-term benefit. For example, Jung Bahadur Rana - the killer won the throne after the Kot massacre but his progeny suffered the consequences. His sons and grandsons were mercilessly killed in another massacre he would have never dreamed of.
At least 29 people were killed and several dozens injured in a deadly clash between the cadres of Madheshi Rashtriya Mukti Morcha (MRMM) aligned with the Maoists and Madheshi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) in Gaur in the Rautahat district located about 90 km south of Kathmandu and near the border with India when the rival groups attempted to stage their rally in the same spot on Wednesday, March 21, 2007.
The violence has certainly jolted the peace process that has officially brought an end to 10 years of the Maoists’ insurgency. The Maoists said that the ongoing unrest in the terai was a part of the monarchists’ conspiracy to undermine the peace process. Spokesperson for the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-Maoist), Krishna Bahadur Mahara said a group claiming to be activists of the MPRF stormed the Maoists' mass meeting and opened fire at the crowd indiscriminately but the local administration did not do anything. MPRF rejected the allegations but regretted the mass murder.
On Thursday, March 22, 2007, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula accompanied by CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, and CPN-M spokesperson Krishna Bahadur Mahara visited Gaur for an on-site inspection of the massacre of Nepalis by Nepalis, and to express regret the senseless killings and said the government would take strong actions against the culprits. However, his opponents doubt about the government's ability or willingness to curb the increasing incidents of violence.
Home Minister Sitaula has been facing a growing demand from his opponents for his resignation over mounting lawlessness and violence. Nepali Congress legislator and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala's daughter Sujata Koirala is leading the Home Minister’s opponents for his resignation. Sujata accused Home Minister Sitaula of not bringing the Maoists responsible for the first killings in the rally staged to protest against the Interim Constitution in Lahan in mid January 2007 to justice has sparked the unrest.
On Friday, March 23, 2007, Maoists threatened to retaliate for the murder of 29 Maoists by the MPRF if the government fails to take actions against the culprits. “If the government does not ban the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) and take actions against its leaders we will be compelled to start retaliatory actions,” Maoists’ Second-in-command Baburam Bhattarai told thousands of people attending the memorial service in Kathmandu where 25 corpses were put on display. “We have not lost our patience at this critical moment, but if the government stays quiet on this matter it will have to suffer the consequences,” Bhattarai said. “Royalist forces are trying to derail the peace process and push us back into war,” said the Maoists’ second-in-command. [1]
"Hang the culprits," "Give compensation to the victims' families," and "We will take revenge," chanted the protesters waving red party flags in Kathmandu on Friday, March 23, 2007.
UN officials are concerned with the violence in terai, and demand to stop and punish the perpetrators. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon's special representative for Nepal, Ian Martin said that the international community was shocked by the Gaur violence and hoped those responsible would be identified and punished. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an impartial investigation into the incident. Issuing a statement from her office in Geneva, High Commissioner Louise Arbour said though a considerable number of law enforcement personnel were present in the area on Wednesday, only a small number was deployed to the scene of the incidents. 'I urge the authorities to take all necessary steps to initiate a full and impartial investigation into the killings and other violent incidents and to hold accountable anyone found to be responsible,' Arbour said. 'Such incidents must not be allowed to jeopardize the peace process.'[2]
In Gaur on March 23, 2007, Bindeshwor Raya Yadav of the CPN-Maoist said that its fifty cadres have gone missing after the clash between the cadres of MRMM and MPRF on Wednesday, March 21. They fled to save their lives. Mr. Yadav appealed to the Human Right activists, media persons and security personnel to search for the cadres that have gone out of contact since Wednesday, March 21. Expressing heartfelt condolence to the friends and relatives of the departed souls, Mr. Yadav urged the people to inform about the whereabouts of the missing ones to the party office, security personnel or human rights activists if they find the cadres. [3]
On March 23, 2007, the US Embassy in Kathmandu condemned the violent clash between the cadres of MRMM and MPRF in Gaur calling it armed and deadly and dubbing it tragic and unnecessary confrontation. In a press statement, the embassy asked the government for arresting and prosecuting all perpetrators of the violence, regardless of their political or ethnic affiliation. "Law and order must be enforced uniformly and not on a selective basis," it said. It also called on the government to initiate a transparent and effective dialogue with indigenous and ethnic groups for taking into account of their grievances. The embassy warned of further bloodshed and imperil of the peace process if unity and inclusiveness are not promoted. [4]
On Friday, March 23, 2007, the CPN-Maoist held a condolence meeting at the Open Air Theater in Kathmandu, displaying 25 bodies of those killed in the clash between the MRMM and MPRF. At the meeting, Maoists’ second-in-command Dr. Baburam Bhattarai said the clash and the killings were the attempts to bring the Maoists back into the armed struggle. He demanded the government to immediately declare the MPRF illegal and arrest its leaders. He also demanded an immediate action against the 'killers' and to form an independent probe commission through political consensus to this end. He said they would not accept the probe commission formed by the government alone. He also demanded to declare the 27 Maoist cadres as martyrs and to provide their families with compensation. He warned of the Maoists resorting to retaliation for the killings if their demands were not met. "The government will be responsible if that happens," he said. Dr. Bhattarai also said the murderers were armed and well-trained to kill, and charged the MPRF of being the veneer of the monarchists. In the condolence meeting held at the Open Air Theater in Kathmandu, leaders of various parties including General Secretary of CPN-UML Madhav Kumar Nepal, General Secretary of Nepali Congress Ramchandra Poudel, Minister and leader of Nepali Congress – Democratic Gopal Man Shrestha, CP Mainali of United Left Front, Rajendra Mahato of Nepal Sadvabana Party, Lilamani Pokharel of Jan Morcha Nepal and others condemned the violence and the killings of the barbaric nature. Speaker Subash Nemwang and Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula were also present at the condolence meeting, but did not address. The bodies were wrapped in the Maoists’ flag and their last rites were performed at Pashupati and Swoyambhu on Friday, March 23, 2007. [5]
The killing in Gaur that claimed the lives of 29 'unarmed Maoists' on March 21 created a furor among he CPN-Maoist legislators in the Interim Parliament on March 23, 2007. They obstructed its proceedings forcing Speaker Subash Chandra Nemwang to postpone the House meeting. "We want the House meeting to be called off until our demands are met," CPN-Maoist parliamentary leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara said. No sooner than the House meeting began at 6:00 p.m. after the delay of seven hours, the Maoist legislators started banging the tables and protested in unison demanding that the government take actions against the 'criminals' involved in the killings. Parliamentary leader Mahara demanded that the seven-party government be dissolved and an interim government be formed immediately. Speaker Nemwang promptly responded to the demands of the Maoist legislators giving them the first chance to speak. However, the Maoist legislators continued protesting against the government, banging tables and chanting anti-monarchy slogans and picketing at the podium. After the repeated requests of Speaker Nemwang for calming down and listening to Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula went unheeded, Speaker Nemwang declared the House meeting adjourned for two days until 2:00 p.m. of March 25. [6]
Parliamentary leader Mahara made demands for taking strong actions against those involved in the Gaur massacre, and also for declaring all those killed as martyrs and providing their family members with compensation. He also demanded actions against the king following the instructions of the Interim legislature to the government. Parliamentary leader Mahara claimed that the violent, heinous and barbaric incident was orchestrated by the police administration and committed the crime with the help of criminals from across the border. Mahara charged the Senior Superintendent of Police in Gaur of making no attempts to stop the incident from taking an ugly turn but helped the perpetrators of the crime to go scot-free across the border. Some of the criminals are still strolling in Gaur but the government has not initiated any steps to arrest them, he said. "The incident is the latest evidence of the conspiracy of the palace and the Nepal Army against the unity of the political parties and the Constituent Assembly elections," Mahara said, "We have taken the incident seriously." Mahara also charged some international power-centers of backing such events to halt the ongoing peace process. He also said, "Some leaders of different political parties, despite speaking in favor of Constituent Assembly elections, are in reality siding with the king." Mahara also demanded to seal the border and said that the seven-party government had not taken back the weapons the former royal government had distributed to different vigilant groups to fight against the Maoists insurgency before the People’s Movement in April 2006. Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula talking to journalists on the parliament premises after the recess of the House said that the police had been investigating the incident minutely. "I want you to be assured that the culprits will not be allowed to escape, they will be brought to justice at any cost." [7]
On March 23, fear and panic continued to grip the Gaur municipality after the bloody-Wednesday clash that put 29 people to death, many of them in the most brutal way, and more than 40 injured. People, who had been the eyewitnesses of hundreds of rounds of firing and the deaths of so many people, still fear coming out of their homes. One of the eyewitnesses of the clash, Raj Jha said, “the whole family was still stricken by panic and we have not been able to sleep at night." Another eyewitness, Sabi Subedi said his family still cries out of terror. They still tremble from fear when they think of that bloody day. The whole municipality still looks desolate and the shops are closed. Town folks still fear there could be retaliation from one side or another and do not want to talk about it. Budhan Mahato, a local, said so many people died because of the incompetence of the police and the local administration. Superintendent of Police Ram Kumar Khanal said that the police was looking for those involved in the killing. He said the police raided some places looking for the culprits. He said arrest warrants have been served to the local leaders and workers of the MPRF. However, no one has been arrested yet and he did not disclose those who have been sought by the police. [8]
On March 23, 2007, the CPN - United Marxist condemned the firing incident in Gaur that killed so many people cold-bloodedly and demanded that a high-level probe commission be constituted immediately. The press statement released by the party said that the party politburo meeting held under the chairmanship of Executive Chairman, Hemanta B.C has demanded immediate and strong actions against the criminals and compensation for the families of those killed. The party has also deplored the negligence, unaccountability and failure of the concerned local administration responsible for maintaining law and order in handling the situation, and said the firing incident could be the conspiracy for pushing the country into a state of anarchy and uncertainty aimed at foiling the Constituent Assembly polls. The statement also said that the party has drawn attention of all political parties, the civil society and general masses to take extra caution to see such cycle of violence is not repeated in the future. Various human rights organizations condemned the violent incident in Gaur. They have been stunned by the incident, and called for a probe into the incident and then take strong actions against those found guilty while providing adequate relief to the families of the deceased and treatment to the injured. In a press statement issued by Chairman, Purusottam Dahal stated that such violent incidents would sabotage the on-going peace process in the country and only help those regressive elements seeking to foil the Constituent Assembly polls. Similarly, General Secretary of the Human Rights Academy, Bhawani Prasad Kharel demanded an independent and impartial high-level probe commission to be constituted immediately and to take a stern action against those found guilty in the incident. Coordinator of the National Human Rights Concern Center - Nepal, Mukti Shrestha called on people to remain cautious about the conspiracy of the subversive elements seeking to obstruct the Constituent Assembly polls scheduled for mid June 2007, and appealed to all human rights and the civil society for condemning anti-human rights activities. [9]
On March 23, in a statement issued by the Maoist Central Committee, Prachanda condemned the killings and claimed that the Indian Hindu fundamentalists and the pro-palace forces were behind the incident to foil the constituent assembly polls and derail the peace process, and dubbing the MPRF as a "criminal organization", asked the government to outlaw the group. Reacting to Prachanda’s statement, MPRF Vice-president Kishor Kumar Bishwas said, "it would be unfortunate for the country if the MPRF is declared a terrorist organization and banned." "We didn’t expect such an undemocratic decision from a democratic government", he said. [10]
On Saturday, March 24, the Police arrested and detained at least six suspects in the Gaur incident. Police had raided a number of houses in Sirsia village near the district headquarters Gaur in the morning. Those arrested during the police raid included Ram Janam Das, Raghunath Mahato, Babloo Raut, Oyanath Raut, Lalbabu Paswan and Binod Raut. Police also recovered a pistol from them. Gaur is to return to a normal life yet. Shops remained shutdown, industries were closed and education institutions were not opened. Very few vehicles, especially smaller ones, were seen plying on the streets. [11]
The Home Ministry instructed the local administrations in some terai districts to prohibit MPRF from holding any public meetings. In the wake of Gaur bloodshed and the demands made by the Maoists for outlawing the MPRF, the Home Ministry instructed local administrations in Rautahat, Siraha, Jhapa and Morang districts to prevent MPRF from holding any public program. Siraha Chief District Officer, Shashi Shekhar Shrestha ordered curfew in Golbazaar of the Asanpur Village Development Committee area between 10 am and 6 pm on Saturday, March 24 coinciding with the MPRF’s planned mass meeting there. In Morang, the Biratnagar District Administration issued prohibitory orders on any kind of gathering, protest or sit-ins for four days beginning on Saturday, March 24 again coinciding with the MPRF’s mass meeting scheduled in Biratnagar for this day. On Friday, March 23, the Jhapa District Administration did not allow MPRF to hold a mass gathering in the Jhapa district. The Home Ministry also ordered to keep a close watch on the activities of MPRF in the terai region. The Home Ministry recalled the Chief District Officer of Rautahat, Madhav Ojha. He was criticized for failing to bring the situation in Gaur under control and not following the order, and was replaced with current Chief District Officer of Tehrathum, Durga Bhandari. [12]
On March 24, 2007, the MPRF’s student wing called Nepal Madheshi Student's Front (NMSF) announced the breakaway from MPRF. A two-day meeting of the NMSF’s central committee at Rajbiraj in the Saptari district on Friday, March 23 decided to sever ties with the MPRF stating that its activities were non-political. Issuing a press release on March 24, NMSF Chairperson Keshav Kumar Jha slammed the MPRF’s agitation as heading to astray and accused MPRF Chairman Upendra Yadav of conspiring with royalists to foil the Constituent Assembly elections. NMSF Chairperson Jha has also accused MPRF Chairman Yadav of sacking some persons with "political character" and replacing them with royalists in the MPRF's central committee, of engaging in games to "protect the king" in the name of religion and vandalizing statues of litterateurs and democratic leaders under the palace's directions during the MPRF movement for autonomy. Concluding that the MPRF could not liberate Madheshi people from discrimination because it had directed the Madheshi people’s agitation into a personal vendetta, and engaged in manslaughters and unnecessary clashes with the Maoists rather than fighting for the rights of the people, therefore, NMSF announced a formal severance of all its ties with the MPRF. [13]
On Friday, March 23, 2007, Indian security officials promised to help the Nepalese policemen in capturing the culprits responsible for the Wednesday's massacre in Gaur, who reportedly fled to the Indian Territory. Nepalese officials asked Indian authorities for support to apprehend the culprits. Security officials of both Nepal and India held a meeting at the district police office Gaur and discussed the security situation on Friday. District Magistrate of Sitamadhi, India, Suman Kumar, and superintendent of police, India, MR Nayar, held discussions with the Nepalese counterparts such as DIG Kiran Gautam, Superintending Police, Ram Kumar Khanal of the Nepal Police and Chief District Officer Madhav Ojha. Indian security officers were ready to help capture the culprits according to DIG Gautam. [14]
On March 23, in a statement the MPRF sent its condolences to the bereaved families and said, "The Forum profoundly condemns the role of the Home administration, its tactical conspiracy and indirect involvement in the Gaur incident, and it was a sad and serious accident". The statement signed by the MPRF Valley in-charge Upendra Kumar Jha said that the incident happened because of the Maoists' efforts to disrupt the MPRF’s mass meeting. MPRF termed such attempts by the Maoists an "anti-democratic conspiracy". The MPRF also demanded that a high-level commission with representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal be formed to probe the killings. [15]
On March 23, the government formed a high-level judicial commission under the Probe Commission Act of 1969 to probe the killings in Gaur, Rautahat District. The Cabinet's emergency meeting held today decided to form the commission under the chairmanship of Hari Prasad Ghimire, a judge at Patan Appellate Court. Other members on the Commission were Acting Secretary to the National Surveillance Center, Ram Sarobar Dube, Joint Attorney General Tika Bahadur Hamal and Deputy Inspector General of Police, Niraj Pun. The commission has 15 days to probe the causes of the incident, the losses incurred and the impact of the incident, and then to recommend the government to take necessary actions against those found guilty. The commission enjoys a mandate to indict any individual or authority, and recommend the government to what actions it should initiate. [16]
On March 23, Maoists’ second-in-command, Dr. Baburam Bhattarai strongly objected to the probe commission formed by the government today in the morning. "It was formed without consulting us and we strongly object to it," said Dr. Bhattarai, speaking at a mass meeting held in Kathmandu to condole on the deaths of the people in the Gaur incident. He also said, “The Maoists don't believe that the commission comprising "corrupt justices and policemen" can provide justice. We are taking it seriously and we think the government is trying to undermine such a serious issue by forming a commission comprising corrupt persons." [17]
In his first reaction to the Wednesday’s bloody clash between the MRMM and MPRF activists in Gaur, Maoist chairman Prachanda accused the MPRF of being funded by “foreign and regressive forces” with an aim to disrupt elections for a Constituent Assembly scheduled for mid-June 2007 for writing a new constitution. “We call on the government to outlaw the group that is being supported by elements from across the border,” Prachanda said speaking in the south-western Nepalese town Nepalgunj. He also termed the MPRF, which has been demonstrating for months for the rights of the people believed to be marginalized by the Shah dynastic rulers, as a criminal group on the brink of becoming a terrorist organization and warned of a “bloody conflict” if the government does not take actions against the MPRF activists. Prachanda’s statement came a day after the MPRF activists killed the cadres of the MRMM aligned with the Maoists in Gaur. The MPRF activists and Maoists have been involved in a series of clashes in terai since January 2007. The MPRF said it has been fighting for the rights of the Madheshi people marginalized so far. However, the Maoists have accused them of “hijacking” their agenda. The MPRF protests have virtually eliminated the Maoist influence in terai. [18]
According to the Maoists, and some human rights observers who have visited the scene, supporters of the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) chased the Maoists for several miles before killing them with clubs and spears at Gaur near the Indian border. There are accounts of women Maoists being raped before they were killed and corpses piled up and set on fire in front of thousands of onlookers. The MPRF claims to represent the ethnic Madheshi community. In Kathmandu, Dr Baburam Bhattarai the Maoist Deputy Leader told an angry crowd of thousands “if the government does not arrest the MPRF leadership we will have to start a war against them.” Sitting on the podium next to him, were national leaders including the Home Minister and the Speaker of Parliament. The corpses, shrouded in white sheets in open coffins, were laid out on tables by Maoist workers who wore face-masks against the stench. Many of the most important men in national politics filed past to place flowers upon them. In a sign of how far the Maoists have come since entering the ceasefire, the party leaders’ bodyguards, with bulging jackets betraying concealed weapons, rubbed shoulders with army officers guarding cabinet ministers. [19]
Human rights activists have revealed shocking and gory details of how people were murdered in cold blood in Gaur on Wednesday, March 21. The group of human rights activists made on-site inspection on Thursday, March 22 informed that over one dozen persons were murdered in cold blood in a grisly manner; murderers raped five women and cut off their breasts before killing them; over a dozen persons were chased five to eight kilometers before they were killed. They also suspected that an organized criminal gang must have been involved in the attack. "Looking at the grisly manner of killing, one cannot imagine that any political organization can engage in such act," said Padma Ratna Tuladhar, a member of the group. Those killed were found with severe wounds in their heads. Bamboo sticks and spears were used repeatedly to smash their heads, they informed. The group of rights activists who went to Gaur on Thursday included Dr. Mathura Prasad Shrestha, Dr. Arjun Karki, Dr. Gauri Shankar Lal Das, Padma Ratna Tuladhar, Daman Nath Dhungana, Subodh Pyakurel, Gauri Pradhan, Bishnu Pukar Shrestha and Bimal Chandra Sharma. [20]
Maoist chairman Prachanda said that the Wednesday’s Gaur massacre was the handiwork of the royalists and regressive elements, Indian Hindu fundamentalists and anti-peace elements that were for destabilizing the country’s sovereignty and did not want peace, democracy and constituent assembly election. He asked the government to impose a ban on the MPRF which, he said, was formed by the royalists and Hindu fundamentalists against democracy, peace process and constituent assembly election. Prachanda also rapped the local administration for being a “mute spectator” even though the massacre took place for hours within the secured district headquarters. He claimed that the MPRF used sophisticated weapons secretly distributed by the royal regime to anti-Maoist resistant groups formed to foil the Maoists’ insurgency. “The Indian Hindu fundamentalists have been found to have openly infiltrated from across the border with arms,” Prachanda said. He said it was a “master plan” of the royalists, Hindu fundamentalists, anti-democratic and anti-peace elements that did not want to see the constituent assembly election take place and wanted to put at risk the country’s integrity and sovereignty. [21]
On March 22, 2007, some 3,000 People’s Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers of the Maoists’ first main division based at Ilam’s Chulachuli moved out of the camps in protest against the murder of their party cadres by the MPRF activists yesterday, said division commander Parwana. Eight hundred PLA soldiers from the First Main Division at Chulachuli came out of the camp this afternoon and held a protest demonstration. They also demanded formation of an interim government soon, a probe into the Gaur incident and punishment of the culprits. The rally went around the city and later held a condolence meet at Jhapa’s Kerakha bazaar. Speaking on the occasion, joint commander Pawel said, “The palace is hatching conspiracies to stop a constituent assembly poll and the establishment of a republic.” PLA soldiers from Morang’s Tandi and Yangsila and Ilam’s Danabari also came out of the camps and held a protest rally. They emerged at noon and returned to the camps two hours later. PLA soldiers of the third division at Shaktikhor also deserted the camp and held a protest demonstration against the Gaur incident. PLA soldiers of the Arunkhola-based fourth division also came out of the cantonment and held a protest rally carrying sticks and placards. They held a condolence meeting at the Arunkhola section of Mahendra Highway, disrupting traffic for almost two hours. On the occasion, Maoist Deputy Commander Chandra Prakash Khanal (Baldev) said that the Gaur incident was a planned one. PLA soldiers of the third division from Hattikhor and Jargha camps also came out to the street for a protest demonstration. PLA soldiers of the sub-camp at Sainamaina came out of their camp. The Maoists’ Rupandehi district head Bamdev Chhetri said the PLA soldiers returned to the camp after an hour-long protest. About 2,000 PLA soldiers from Kailali district’s Masuriya held a protest rally on Mahendra Highway. PLA soldiers from Sahajpur and Gorange also came out of the camp. PLA soldiers came out of the Dashrathpur camp in Surkhet, too. [22]
On March 23, 2007, issuing a press release following the return of the members of the UNMIN last night from the visit to Gaur, the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) called on the government not to spare the perpetrators of Gaur massacre which left 27 people killed on Wednesday. The UNMIN said the perpetrators of these deplorable killings should be identified and brought to justice. “The killings in Gaur have exposed the lack of effective policing in many parts of the country, a problem which needs to be addressed as a matter of priority if repetition of such violence is to be avoided,” the UNMIN said. The killings also underline the urgent need for the MPRF, the MRMM, and all political groups to clearly and definitively renounce violence in advancing their political cause, the release said. UNMIN warned that the use of violence will only make a truly inclusive national dialogue more difficult. UNMIN also expressed concerns about the Maoist combatants leaving the camps to protest the Gaur killings. Although these protests remained non-violent, leaving cantonments in this way was a clear breach of the Agreement on Monitoring Arms and Armies which risks undermining public confidence in the peace process,” the release said. [23]
On Saturday, March 24, 2007, human rights activists urged the Maoists not to be provoked by the Gaur incident and give continuity to the peace process. "It is obvious that the massacre in Gaur is condemnable and the culprits had intended to provoke the Maoists to retaliate and derail the peace process. This is time for the whole nation to understand the gravity of the situation and take steps patiently," said Krishna Pahadi, a human right activist, speaking at an event held at Reporters' Club. He charged the government of showing a dual character — collaborating with the Maoists and at the same time supporting the MPRF. "It was the government's prime responsibility to avoid such clashes and also to show concern about the incident," he said. Another human rights activist Dr Arjun Karki, just returned from the visit to Gaur, said that the incident in Gaur was highly condemnable and guided by those who did not want to see democracy flourish and want to obstruct the election for a Constituent Assembly by taking advantage of the incompetent government. He urged the government and the Maoists to learn a lesson from the Gaur incident. "The wounds and injuries in the bodies suggest that they were murdered in the same manner as done by organized, trained, and professional killers; probably it is done by such persons," he said, adding that many of the women victims were raped and murdered. "The incident could have been easily avoided if the local administration or security forces showed presence at the scene," he said. He also said that the Rautahat Chief District Officer, Madhav Ojha was taking shelter in the army barrack at the time of the killings instead of being at the scene to bring the situation under control. Former member of National Human Rights Commission, Prof Kapil Shrestha said the government remained a silent spectator when a gang of criminals rendered the political movement useless. He demanded a credible and inclusive probe commission and punishment to the culprits. He also condemned the MPRF for not showing any response to the incident and its consequences. Former chairman of Human Rights Organization of Nepal, Charan Prasai said the incident could be noted as a 'black day' in the Nepal's history and the government must take steps to avoid repetition of such incidents in the future. [24]
On March 25, 2007, the Interim Legislature unanimously passed a public-interest motion presented by the Maoists’ parliamentary leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara condemning the Wednesday-massacre in Gaur and demanding to bring the perpetrators of the incident to justice immediately. The motion demands a high-level commission on the basis of political consensus, to probe the Gaur killings, to take a tough action against the culprits, to give compensation to the victims' families and provide free treatment to the injured people. The motion also asks the government to seize the weapons possessed by the anti-Maoist groups that were active during the Maoists’ insurgency, as well as a ban on groups that pose a threat to communal harmony and the country's sovereignty. Legislators such as Ram Bahadur Bista, Parshuram Meghi Gurung, Govind Bikram Shah, Govinda Bahadur Shah, Navaraj Subedi, Ganesh Shah, Hari Acharya, Sunil Prajapati and Jayapuri Gharti, and others took part in the discussion on the motion. The legislators condemned the Gaur massacre and criticized the home administration for failing to maintain law and order. They also demanded an immediate action against the perpetrators of the Gaur incident. Speaking at the House, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said the Home Ministry has already beefed up security in sensitive areas and intensified search for the perpetrators of Gaur massacre. He suggested the House that a judicial commission, which the government has already formed but the Maoists rejected saying it unilaterally formed, would be a better one to probe into the incident rather than a political commission as demanded in the motion. [25]
The palace people have been losing their face and the Nepalese people’s sympathy because of their activities making Nepalis kill Nepalis. Any organization working at the hands of the palace would certainly lose the credibility. The palace has been the flickering light that might go off at anytime. Every step it has been taking against the Nepalese people has earned more hatred of the Nepalese people than used to be. The MPRF killing the cadres of MRMM would not achieved the goals of getting autonomy, proportional representation and federalization rather it would give the government to act harshly against it than used to be. If the MPRF leaders have received money from the palace for letting the hooligans infiltrating into their rallies then it might be disastrous to not only such leaders but also to the cause of the ethnic Nepalis. Such leaders have no rights to lead the ethnic movement.
Footnotes
[1] Daily News and Analysis, “Fresh trouble in Nepal” Friday, March 23, 2007
[2] India eNews.com, “After bloodbath, looters spread terror in Terai, Friday, March 23, 2007
[3] The Rising Nepal, '50 cadres still missing', March 24, 2007
[4] The Rising Nepal, “US Embassy condemns Gaur clash” March 24, 2007
[5] The Rising Nepal, “Condolence Meeting: Independent probe into Gaur 'carnage' sought,” March 24, 2007
[6] The Rising Nepal, “MPs demand action against Gaur culprits” March 24, 2007
[7] The Rising Nepal, “MPs demand action against Gaur culprits” March 24, 2007
[8] The Rising Nepal, “Rautahat still reeling under fear, panic” March 24, 2007
[9] The Rising Nepal “Stern actions against Gaur killings demanded” March 24, 2007
[10] ZEENEWS.COM, March 23, 2007
[11] Nepalnews.com ia Mar 24 07 “Police arrests six suspects of Gaur incident”
[12] Nepalnews.com sd Mar 24 07 “MPRF programs banned in some Terai districts; curfew in Siraha”
[13] Ekantipur.com, Kantipur Report, “Madheshi Student Front severs ties with MPRF”, March 24, 2007
[14] Ekantipur.com, “India to help nab Gaur assailants” March 24, 2007
[15] Ekantipur.com, PR “Sad and serious accident: MPRF” March 24, 2007
[16] Ekantipur.com, POST REPORT “Body formed to probe Gaur killings,” March 24, 2007
[17] Ekantipur.com “Maoists object to probe commission,” March 24, 2007
[18] PeaceJournalism.com, March23, 2007
[19] Telegraph.co.uk, “Maoist rebels demand revenge for murders”, March 23, 2007
[20] Nepalnews.com sd Mar 23 07 “Rights activists reveal shocking details of Gaur attack”
[21] The Himalayan Times, “A royalist plot, says Prachanda” March 22, 2007
[22] The Himalayan Times, “PLA fighters stage protest outside camps” March 22, 2007
[23] The Himalayan Times, “UNMIN, US Ask Govt Not to Spare Perpetrators of Gaur Killings” March 23, 2007
[24] The Himalayan Times, “Maoists Told not to Be Provoked by Gaur Incident” March 25, 2007
[25] The Himalayan Times, “House Condemns Gaur Massacre, Demands Action against Culprits” March 25, 2007
ENDS

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