Nepal: Tribes Try to Out-Mao the Maoists

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June 7, 2007: The success of the Maoists in getting the government to enact reforms, has encouraged the tribes and ethnic minorities to do the same. Over the last few months, several new, armed, and aggressive, militias have appeared in the countryside. These groups appear to be trying to outdo the Maoists, which would be ironic, as the Maoists are now part of the government. Meanwhile, the Maoists and traditional political parties appear to be maneuvering to ease each other out of the government. The Maoists have always wanted to establish a communist dictatorship, and the political parties believe the Maoists have not really changed their political goals.

June 7, 2007: Maoist groups are now offering, or selling, refuge to tribal separatist groups (like the ULFA) from across the border in India. ULFA is also a criminal gang, involved in all manner of scams. Buying sanctuary in Nepal appears to be a good business move. Indian is in the process of improving its border security in this area. But on the Nepalese side, there is not much border patrol at all. The Maoists also appear to be supplying the ULFA with supplies and weapons.

June 1, 2007: A coalition of tribal groups called a general strike that basically shut down commerce in the capital. The government has long insisted that Nepali be the only language for dealing with the government, thus making it difficult for many ethnic (and tribal) minorities to deal with the government. May 30, 2007: In the southeast, there is growing unrest at refugee camps for 100,000 ethnic Nepalis who were forced out of neighboring Bhutan over a decade ago. Bhutan expelled the Nepalis because they were Hindu, and Bhutan wanted to get rid of anyone who was not Buddhist. Nepal does not want to accept the refugees, and many of the refugees want to go back to Bhutan. Now the U.S. has offered to accept 60,000 of the refugees, and this has caused violence between factions who want to go to America, versus those who believe everyone should return to Bhutan. This has led to violence with Nepali police, and Indian border guards, as a group of refugees tried to cross the nearby Indian border, to use the bridge and road leading to Bhutan. That's the same road used to bring the refugees to Nepal. Some people have been killed, and dozens injured.

 

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