Nepal: March 23, 2002


In the last two days, troops and police have killed at least 29 rebels in several operations. The rebels have growing support in the poor rural areas. Many of the rural people are tenant farmers working on rented land. A population explosion in the 20th century led to cutting down of many forests and putting a lot of marginal land into production. Some 90 percent of the 25 million Nepalis are farmers. Many hear radio and some have seen TV and movies. They know there are people out there living a better life and the Maoist rebels promise the good life. All you have to do is join the revolution and kill the ruling class. For many people without many other prospects, this approach has some appeal. But most Nepalis are conservative. And the populations contains groups, like the 26,000 retired soldiers (Gurhkas in British service), who oppose rebellion and use their leadership positions  in their villages to resist the rebels. 


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