Kathmandu: Nepal’s victims of Maoist conflict, human rights defenders, lawyers and professionals have welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court striking down the formal declaration of ‘People’s War Day’ by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal government. The judgement invalidating the government’s declaration of a year ago was delivered by the Court on Friday, December 29, 2023.
In February last year, Dahal government had declared Falgun 1 as People’s War Day, and announced to perpetuate it for the years to come. Falgun 1 marks the day when the Maoist started the bloody war against the state, in which estimated 17000 people were killed.
The conflict victims as well as the civil society members had objected to the government’s decision by saying that celebration of the day as people’s war day made mockery of the plight of the conflict victims who have been denied justice for over one and half decades.
“It needs to be clear that the armed uprising begun by the CPN (Maoist) in 1996 was aimed against the existing parliamentary system under the democratic Constitution of 1990. The Maoist leadership hoped to use violence to attain its political goals even though the road was clear to use peaceful movements and free and fair elections,” says the statement signed by conflict victims and civil society leaders.
Signatories include Suman Adhikari, Gyanendra Raj Aran, Pampha Budathoki, Kalyan Budathoki, Hira Tiwari (Sharma), Purnimaya Lama, Sabitri Shrestha, Radhika Bhattarai, Shiva Kumar Budathoki, Rita Sen, Ek Maya Bishwokarma, Hari Kumari Khadka, Manju Rawal, Shova BC, Shanker Budathoki, Bhagawati Khatiwada, Netra Bahadur Bhandari, Ramesh Kumar Wagle, Sabitri Chiluwal, Rita Karki, Nayan Bahadur Shahi, Goila Shahi, Basmati Shahi, Krishna Gautam, Shyuam Sundar KC, Parbati Karki, Gopal Bahadur Shah, Som Niraula, Humnath Dawadi, Nitu Pokharel, Trilok Bahadur Chand, Lenin Bista, Kanak Mani Dixit, Dinesh Tripathi and Sushil Pyakurel.
“The state sought to subdue the Maoist violence through its own rampant use of force, as a result of which the general public suffered for a full decade from pressure from the two warring sides. Many innocent citizens died, disappeared, were disabled, even as the property of the citizenry was looted and the rebels resorted to using child soldiers,” they have said in the statement. “Besides the decade of conflict, the society also had to suffer another decade of uncertainty and instability, and even today the peace process incomplete because of the delays in transitional justice.”
In its December 29 judgment, Supreme Court had said that declaration of People’s War Day could “impact the future work of the transitional justice bodies” and that neither the Comprehensive Peace Accord nor the 2015 Constitution use these terms.
“We are clear that the armed revolt of the Maoists was not something carried out according to the call of the people of Nepal, instead it represented actions of one political party seeking to achieve its goals by striking fear among the people and misleading its own cadre with the ideology of violence,” the statement says.
“The declaration of the said ‘day’ on 12 February 2023 aroused great concern among us signatories, because it would energize those who wanted to use the politics of violence in the future, whereas only peaceful movements and transformation are acceptable in a democratic society protected with human rights values.”
Meanwhile, they have also taken the political parties to task for not objecting the February, 2023 decision of the government while also praising those who firmly spoke against it. “We denounce the political parties and political leaders who did not object to the foisting of this so-called ‘people’s war’ terminology on the people, and applaud all who relentlessly raised their voice against such an agenda,” the statement says.
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