Archive ref no: NCA-18676
REPORT FROM THE BATTLE -FIELD
PEOPLE'S COMMITTEES EXERCISE POLITICAL POWER
The current fifth year of the historic People's War (PW) has been marked by expansion & consolidation of primary form of base areas in different parts of the country, particularly in Rolpa, Rukum, Jajarkot and Salyan districts of Western region, where People's Committees are openly exercising political power. The detailed report given by leading newspaper journalists who had recently gone to Korchawang village (just three hours walking distance from Liwang, the District Headquarter of Rolpa district) where the local Party had given them an open invitation to attend a mammoth open rally on August 26, and a press conference the next day, has shocked the reactionary government. Now it is publicly known that the revolutionary People's Committees have been functioning as embryonic New Democratic governments at local levels doing political, economic, social, cultural, educational activities and exercising coercive organs of power like people's armed forces, people's courts and people's jails (of course, mobile). All these development should be seen in the light of the Party's call to advance in the direction of creating base areas since 1998.
During the Fifth & Sixth Plans, there have been qualitative leaps in both military and administrative formation in the prospective base areas. The expansion and consolidation of these temporary base areas into relatively stable base areas can only be possible with increased and improved military power of people's armed forces.
It should be noted that power vacuum was first created by driving away the local agents of the reactionary state and destruction of its armed might, which were confined to the district headquarters alone. Taking advantage of such retreats, the revolutionary People's army has stormed into the few remaining police posts and destroyed them. This has intensified abandonment of police posts by the reactionary police forces in most of the villages. For example in Rolpa, earlier presence of 39 police posts have been reduced to 8; in Rukum, earlier presence of 28 police posts have been reduced to 6; in Jajarkot, earlier presence of 15 police posts have been reduced to 6. Regular patrolling of villages has given ways to air patrolling, occasional surprised raid and attack on ground with concentrated police force reinforced with special task force. In fact in some of the police posts the situation has reached to such a stage that the policemen don't stay in their posts but take shelters in cornfields or neighbouring villages after the dusk. They have even resorted to using ordinary villagers as human shields to save themselves from the attacks of the people's army. The recent death of 8 civilians along with considerable number of reactionary police forces in one of the major raids against the police force in Panchkatia village in Jajarkot district is one such example.
The low morale of the police force together with the success of raids & ambushes , by People's armed forces has lead to many desertion among the rank & files of the government armed forces. There have been reports of taking mass leaves or fleeing from the training camps. Just few months back 60 police personnel undergoing training in Pyuthan (an adjoining district to Rolpa) fled from the training camp. This running year alone, about 83 police personnel were fined and 8 inspectors were fined for refusing to go to the Western region and 2 inspectors have tendered their resignation. To add fuel to fire there have been increasing number of clashes within the reactionary armed forces and a lot of misunderstanding taking place between armed forces & military forces of the reactionary government in the course of repressing people's armed forces.
In contrast to this, the position of people's armed forces have been strengthening from one level to another. There has been mass scale recruItment in people's militias. The Party has had tough time convincing minors below 18 years to wait for joining the people's army. Incidents of desertion from government police & military forces to join people's armed forces have been taking place. Com. Ramesh from Rolpa is one such martyr who had left Royal army to join people's armed force. The people's guerilla forces have now developed up to company level. ,Often Special Task Forces are organised for major operations.
Journalists of leading Newspapers participating A Cultural Prog- People's Army Forces in Korchawang.
ramme amidst Masses and in Press Conference in Korchawang.
In Western region temporary company level formation", of peoples' guerrilla army have been functioning. Thus in some regions People's War has developed from guerrilla warfare to mobile warfare.
Today people's security arrangement within the prospective base areas have become so formidable that People's Committees are running their own mobile jails, labour camps etc. For the first time detention of captured police personnel & corrupt administrative officials of reactionary government has been used in retaliation of disappearances. The capture and detention of Thule Rai, a DSP from reactionary government police force, for about three months and his safe release in exchange of Com. Dev Gurung, a central leader of the Party is one such example. Similarly Reg Bahadur Subedi (an ex-minister) and his son were taken into people's custody & sent to labour camp for two months as a punishment for their anti-people's war activities. Similarly a district education officer of Rolpa is still serving in people's labour camp for his corruption related crimes.
Along with the destruction of the old reactionary power base, and its armed retreat, which is the principal aspect during the war period, People's Committees have taken leap in construction activities as well. Today in Western region, people's power is being exercised according to a Directory of United People's Committees. This directory specifies four levels of People's Committees such as sub-regional, district, village & ward levels. Village United People's Committees function as main organ for running the administration. A Village Committee usually consists of 3 wards. Ward Committee generally has 5-7 members. In this are included two members representing proletarians or working class, two or three members representing poor peasants, and one or two members from other petty bourgeois classes. In Village United People's Committee there are usually 11 members. Earlier such Committees were formed by general consensus of the masses In a mass meeting. Today,
A Jute Suspension Bridge Knitted by the People of Rolpa Women involved in small-scale cottage industry.
across Madi River.
a full-fledged exercise of election takes place to choose the committee members. What has alarmed the reactionary forces the most, is the participation in these elections by the rebel local cadres of parliamentary parties such as Nepali Congress, United Marxist-Leninist Party, Rastriya Prajatantra Party etc. The United People's Committees run different departments, such as administrative; economic, social & cultural, educational departments etc.
Administrative department looks after all sorts of litigation works, land, business, financial transactions and works related to people's court etc. Minimum rates are charged for all sorts of transactions. Captured public land, properties and that of feudal lords & bureaucrats are turned to people who work on them on co-operative basis. Efforts are being made to give land titlement in women's name, which has greatly enthused women to be more productive in economic fronts.
Under economic works, the main thrust has been to be self-reliant by mobilising local resources and labour forces. Community based cultivation, fodder & fire collections have been encOuraged, to instill community feelings amongst villagers and to save time for more productive works. New & more efficient forms of cultivation along with introduction of new variety of crops are being used giving higher yields. Cottage industries have been set up to cater the needs of the masses, particularly for the people's armed forces, thus producing socks, gloves, sweaters, shawls, bed sheets, bags etc. Also an indigenous paper making factory is producing papers for administrative & litigation works. Money pooled together through various activities & means have been mobilsed to run a mobile form of banking system whereby temporary loans on low interest rate are given for funding small scale enterprises, projects etc. Non-monitorial funds such as "seed collection campaign", seasonal fund collections are also mobilised. Also a system of levying taxes on outgoing indigenous raw materials such as herbal plants, timber, rosin, turpentine etc., has been developed. Poultry farming, animal husbandry or small-scaled cottage industries are encOuraged at household level. In Rolpa women's organisation has come up with an innovative idea of "one unit, one production".
In the social field, sea changes are taking place challenging age-old feudal traditions. New cultures such as widow remarriage, inter-caste marriage, love marriage, divorce have replaced earlier oppressive marriages. Wife battering, liquor consumption, polygamy, gambling, eve teasing have been controlled. Similarly unscientific Oppressive rituals like menstrual rituals, widow hood restrictions & taboos & celebrations have been greatly reduced. New culture of celebrating May Day, 8th March International Working Women's Day, Martyr's Day, Marx, Lenin & Mao's Birthdays are taking roots. .The unemployed lumped youths have found true meaning of life by joining people's armed forces or running people's power or engaging in productive economic activities. Progressive cultural teams at local level are imparting new progressive, anti-feudalist, anti-expansionist and anti-imperialist culture.
In education & health fields, adult literacy Campaign together with health & hygiene awareness campaign have been launched. In the field of formal education, compulsory Sanskrit Course has been totally scrapped, so is the present national anthem song, which highlights the role of Monarch. All private schools have been completely banned in areas "un by United People's Committees. Instead all the government run schools are supervised )y People's Committees, as a result both teachers & students are more punctual in their duties. Today the schools in these districts are better administered and are more progressive than schools outside these districts.
About development works, United People's Committees have been mobilising local resources & local masses for works such as construction of irrigation channels, water supply lines, bridges, roads, public buildings, and periodic repair works of these activities almost all the new roads constructed with the help of mass participation have been named after the local martyrs. Today no NGOs or INGOs are functioning in these areas. They have been thoroughly exposed & driven away. As a result of these developments, most of those local agents of reactionary government, their families & other disillusioned people lO had fled from their villages to district headquarters have started trickling back.
Correct application of mass line in all these activities have broadened mass base which has intern bolstered the firepower of people's armed forces. In Western region in particular, there is a correct balance between military actions & mass work. With every success of armed action against the reactionary armed force, there has been growth of mass activities; similarly with every success of mass activities, there have been favourable conditions created for armed assault against the reactionary government force. As a result, this has given opportunity to advance the PW to higher level through subjective efforts.
However, it should be noted that although the question of new "construction" is often raised in the prospective base areas, the Party has resolutely cautioned the cadres & the masses that "destruction" of the old state (both militarily and non-militarily) would continue to be the principal aspect of the activities of the revolutionary forces for a long time.
MILITARY ACTIONS TAKE A QUALITATIVE LEAP
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A destroyed District Police Office in Dunai, the District Head quarter of Dolpa.
Reactionary Police Force Using Wireless set outside the destroyed Police Office in Dunai.
The most significant aspect of the PW in Nepal has been its relatively fast pace of development. As per Party's policy of accelerating military capability & creating base areas there have been qualitatively higher levels of military actions during the Fifth Plan & Sixth Plan (i.e. from Sept. 1999 onwards). Periodic "shock" programmes of countrywide nature has been taking place to mark initiations of Fifth Plan on 25th October last year, anniversary of initiation of PW on !3th Feb.; initiation of Sixth Plan on 15th June; special "shock" programmes from 23-31 st August this year in which all the four types of military actions e.g. guerilla actions (raids & ambushes), sabotage, annihilation & propaganda actions have been used. Regular platoons together with Special Task Force (STF) have been participating in major armed operations in all the three regions. For the first time a higher military formation of using company level armed force has been used in Western region where PW has reached relatively at advanced level. Similarly kidnapping & detention has been used as a new form in retaliation of the "disappearances".
In Western region the Fifth Plan was launched by attacking against Mahat Village police post in Rukum as a form of retaliation against enemy's "Jungle Search Operation". Platoon no one & two together with other guerilla squads swooped over enemy's striking force consisting of 28 number of heavily armed forces. After having captured the police post, twenty seven arms & several ammunitions were seized. Except for the DSP, Thule Rai, all the rest of the surrendered police force were released. There was no loss on the side of the revolutionaries. Similarly in Takasera in Rukum, a regular armed forces consisting of temporary company made up with platoon no 1, 2 & 3 together with mass participation attacked against 3 police posts spread in 5 houses on April 6, 2000 to mark the celebration of mass-movement day. The concentrated enemy force consisting of 70 police force together with two ambush teams were attacked resulting into death of eight policemen, many of them were injured & all the five houses were razed to ground. In this operation two comrades got martyred. From this operation 37 pieces of rifles, 2 pistols together with 42 arms ammunitions, grenades & some important documents were seized. Similarly in Rara Lili in Jumla district an attack over police post led to capture of twenty one rifles & other arms leaving eleven enemy policemen dead. A section Commander was. martyred on the revolutionary side. According to the latest report, on 24th September, a daredevil attack on the police post stationed in Dunnai, a district headquarter of Dolpa district resulted in killing of 14 police forces, leaving 40 of them injured. The people's armed forces numbering more than hundred stormed into district prison, freeing 17 prisoners, attacking and destroying police district headquarter, district administration office, land registration office etc. In the same vicinity a Nepali Bank Ltd. was also raided capturing around five crore Nepalese currency. So far, .this is the biggest armed strike on reactionary forces, right at the heart of district headquartar. The Home Minister, Govinda Raj Joshi and the head of the Police Force. Achut Krishna Kharel were forced to resign on this ground.
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A Peoples Armed Force Greeted by the Area Committee of the Local Party.
A destroyed Police Post in Jagtipur
In Middle region, the emphasis has been given to ambush style of striking, because this region has comparatively heavy transportation networks. As a result more than a dozen police force have been killed and many left wounded. Recently a police post was attacked in Samari in Nuwakot district in January 2000. Three policemen were killed. Some rifles, ammunitions together with bullet-proof jackets were captured. From the revolutionary side a platoon commander got martyred in this operation. Similarly a police post in Harmi, in Gorkha district was attacked by STF resulting into catches of 10 rifles, four pistols and large quantity of ammunitions. A policeman was killed during the raid. There was no loss inflicted on the people's armed forces. On August 23, a police post in Dhawadi VDC in Nawalparasi district was successfully raided, resulting into catche of three 3-0-3 rifles, 7 rifles and large quantity of ammunitions. One policeman was killed in the raid with no loss on the revolutionary force. This is the first raid in this district and it has been a complete successful one. Within the Kathmandu Valley various important places have been bombed. Prominent amongst them is a bomb thrown at Govinda Raj Joshi's house (at present a Home Minister). Similarly Mahendra police club which is located at the heart of capital was attacked by a bomb resulting into collapse of its boundary wall. All these occurred within August 2000. According to the latest report, on 26th Sept., a daring attack on the Bhorletar police post in Lamjung district resulted into killing of 8 policemen, leaving 3 policemen injured. A nearby Agriculture Bank was also raided.
In Eastern region, a police post in Mahavari VDC in Jhapa district was attacked & raided on 30th August resulting into capture of all rifles & ammunitions, consisting of five 3-0-3 rifles, one pair of Chinese pistols, 364 pieces of bullets. This is the first time that such a raid has been conducted in this Eastern most part of Nepal whose border adjoins with Eastern India. Similarly in Mrigaulia VDC under Morang district, the ward forest office was raided on August 31, resulting into capture of four 3-0-3 rifles & some ammunitions. Similarly many successful sabotage actions were directed in Tehrathum, Dhankuta, Sankhuwasava, Panchthar, Bhojpur districts within August 2000, to link such acts with the spirit of Jhapa movement.
STORM OF WOMEN'S REBELLION ADVANCES FURTHER
Ever since PW was initiated in 1996 women's participation in PW has been increasing. This is despite the fact that they have been increasingly targeted by the state as can be judged by the increasing number of women being jailed, raped, tortured, killed & disappeared. As a result an image of Nepalese women as a helpless trafficked prostitutes caged in Indian metropolitan brothels have changed into a defiant fearless fighters.
Their multi-faceted participation in PW has greatly helped in sustaining PW. This can be seen in Rolpa, Rukum, Jajarkot and Salyan districts in Western region of Nepal where their participation in embryonic People's Committees has been vital in sustaining and developing it. The impressive women's participation in these areas have been even reported by most of the leading newspaper journalists who had been invited by the Party's Western region to the new base areas. Above all their participation at all levels of combat forces have been increasing. This can be judged by the presence of several women who had responded to join mass recruitment in people's armed forces in Rolpa. They form a significant force within people's militia force, which function as a subsidiary force for the main combat force. They have greatly helped in linking the bridge between the masses and the people's armed forces. This has [immensely helped in militarising people at grass root level. Thus they function as ears & eyes for the people's armed forces. They are also fighting as combatants, commanders, vice commanders in people's armed forces at various levels such as squad, platoon, Special Task Force, and company.
Women constitute one of the important productive forces in building self-reliant economy in these new People's Committees. Women's organlsation in Rolpa has come up with an indigenous idea under the slogan, ;'One unit, one production". In order to expand the base of women's organisation a policy of one unit of women's organisation against one ward, one member against one family have been adopted & popularised. In Rolpa alone there are more than 2500 such units functioning. Thus they are the most widely spread 'mass organisation, even beating peasant's mass organisation. Women as young as 18 to
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Women Jailed in Central Jail under various Security Acts. + Women's militia; A Group Photo Taken by a Journalist.
as old as 65 years old are committed in women's organisation. These units are engaged in cottage industries, producing socks, gloves, cloths, bags etc. They are involved in collective farming, fodder & fuel collections, animal husbandry, poultry farming etc. The process of giving land titlement in women's name has increased their confidence. This has greatly increased their productive capacity. Thus every where women are seen in forefront in productive works. They are also the main force in revolutionising production relation in these temporary base areas. Since women are the worst victim of old feudal production relation, their active participation in bringing to People's Court those culprits who have been usurping other's land, engaging in all forms of exploitation, has been vital for smooth running of People's Committees and gaining confidence of the masses. Family discords relating to gambling, drinking, womanizing, battering of women & children have been greatly reduced. So is with property dispute in case of attaining widowhood, separation from husband or in-laws etc. Women's organisation has been successful in politicising family members by turning every family unit to political unit by engaging children to children's organisation, youth to youth organisation, peasants to peasant organisation.
There has been sea change in social-cultural behaviour too. Instead of fasting in the traditional "Teej" celebration for the long lasting life of husbands or to obtain handsome husbands, women have started feasting on this occasion to strengthen themselves against rape, torture & indiscriminate killings by the reactionary police force. They have defied against the traditional ban against ploughing field, roofing house. They are also gradually doing away with widowhood restriction, menstrual restriction, witch craft practices. Illiterate women are now found taking keen interest in adult literacy programmes, they are listening to radio to peep into the outer world. Women are also organised within the four walls of prisons. Take the example of women in central jail in Kathmandu. Here women cadres from Kavre, Lalitpur, Jajarkot, Sindhuli and Gorkha numbering 12 have been lodged under various charges such as .arms act, security acts, treason acts etc. All of them have been lodged together in one room, isolated from the rest of other women prisoners. All of the them have been subjected to mental & physical torture in police custody Amongst them three in particular have been additionally raped by police force.
Taking inspiration from the formation of United People's Committees in Western region. they have organised themselves to form jail united front. Using jail as a war trench they have been fighting against the jail authority. They have formed administration, education. supply & marketing, financial and health departments. Administration department looks after organising prisoners to celebrate, to make demands corresponding to CPN (Maoist) Party's programme. Similarly finance department organises mobilisation of labour in community based production works. An education department is responsible for giving periodic political classes and even organising class to those who are preparing to sit for examination for formal education. This way, even withIn the prison walls too their spirit is glowing like fire. This has rendered the jail authority even more futile in their effort to dampen their spirit.
Because of their important role in both people's armed forces and in running People's Committees. women are increasingly being targeted by the reactionary armed forces resulting to mass rape, torture. disappearance. encounter killings in periodic police operations. So far about 2000 men & women have been martyred since the initiation of PW. and amongst them about 200 are women martyrs. In Rolpa alone, 21 women have been martyred. The recent killing of four activists of PW in Gorkha within the span of one month, amongst whom three are women, proves that the reactionary force has become more alarmed by the militancy of women in Nepal. Hence they are resorting to more torture, rape & encounter killings of women activists, sympathisers. However, such cowardly acts has helped in spreading the message of PW in every nook and corner of the society.
We stand for self-reliance We hope fOr foreign aid but cannot be dependent on it: we depend on our own efforts. ' on the creative power of the whole army and the entire people .Mao Tse- Tung ["We Must Learn to Do Economic Work"]
The Worker (No-6); October 2000