Thousands of youths across Nepal found a new vocation last week — training for another ‘peoples war’.
Heeding a call by the opposition Maoists, they are busy learning the art of warfare —self-defence as some UCPN (Maoist) leaders call it — at camps spread all over the Himalayan nation.
Young girls and boys are pouring into the camps and getting trained on how to wield a stick, do target practice with wooden rifles and handle the khukri, a traditional dagger used in warfare.
Their leaders have told them to prepare for a ‘decisive war’ with the ‘enemy’. It’s almost certain that these trained cadres would start their war in Kathmandu from May 1 but there is no clear clue yet on who the enemy is. Many believe it is the ruling coalition government.
Frustrated at having remained out of power since May last year and its many demonstrations failing to catapult it back to power, this is the latest attempt by Nepal’s largest party to regain lost glory and keep its dissatisfied cadres together.
The stated reason, however, for this ‘peaceful’ war is to force the government out of power, lead a national unity government, ensure the peace process doesn’t derail further and the new constitution gets drafted within the May 28 deadline.
The latest venture by the former guerrillas that waged a 10-year civil war before returning to mainstream politics in 2006 is bound to affect Nepal. The economy that is bound to go further downhill and the government’s plan to attract a million tourists as part of its Visit Nepal 2011 celebrations is bound to take a hit.
On its part, the government has asked the Nepal Army and other security agencies to be on alert and also asked the main opposition party to desist from ‘war’ or face the consequences.
But these haven’t had the desired effect. Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has asked his cadres to be ready for a “strong confrontation with the enemy”.