Nepalese Civil War

Nepalese Civil War
Communist mural in Kathmandu. It reads: "Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Prachanda Path."
Date 13 February 1996 – 21 November 2006
(10 years, 9 months, 1 week and 1 day)
Location Nepal

Comprehensive Peace Accord

Nepal Kingdom of Nepal
( Government of Nepal)

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

Supported by:

Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Commanders and leaders

Nepal Nepal:

Sher Bahadur Deuba (until 1997; 2001-02; 2004-05)
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (Last King of Nepal; 2001-08)
COAS of Nepalese Army:
Dharmapaal Barsingh Thapa (until 1999)
Prajwalla Shumsher JBR (1999-2003)
Pyar Jung Thapa (from 2003)
Nepal IGP:
Moti Lal Bohora (until 1997)
Achyut Krishna Kharel (1997–2001)
Pradip Shumsher J.B.R. (1999–2001)
Shyam Bhakta Thapa (from 2001)

( Pushpa Kamal Dahal)

Baburam Bhattarai

Mohan Baidya (Kiran)

( Nanda Kishor Pun)
Casualties and losses
4,500 killed [1] 8,200 killed (mostly civilians) [1]
17,800 killed overall [2]
1,300 missing [3]

The Nepalese Civil War was an armed conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) and the government of Nepal, fought from 1996 to 2006. The rebellion was launched by the CPN-M on 13 February 1996 with the main aim of overthrowing the Nepalese monarchy and establishing a People's Republic. It ended with the Comprehensive Peace Accord signed on 21 November 2006.


More than 19,000 people (including both civilian and armed forces) were killed during the conflict. "Inside Nepal's Revolution". National Geographic Magazine, p. 54, November 2005. Douglas lists the following figures: "Nepalis killed by Maoists from 1996 to 2005: 4,500. Nepalis killed by government in same period: 8,200." and an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people were internally displaced as a result of the conflict. This conflict disrupted the majority of rural development activities and led to a deep and complex Left Front which, together with the Nepali Congress, was the backbone of the broadbased movement for democratic change. However, communist groups uncomfortable with the alliance between ULF and Congress formed a parallel front, the United National People's Movement. The UNPM called for elections to a Constituent Assembly, and rejected compromises made by ULF and Congress with the royal house. In November 1990 the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre) was formed, including key elements of constituents of UNPM. The new party held its first convention in 1991, the adopted a line of "protracted armed struggle on the route to a new democratic revolution" and that the party would remain an underground party. The CPN(UC) set up Samyukta Jana Morcha, with Baburam Bhattarai as its head, as an open front ten contest elections. In the 1991 elections, SJM became the third force in the Nepali parliament. However, disagreements surged regarding which tactics were to be used by the party. One sector argued for immediate armed revolution whereas others (including senior leaders like Nirmal Lama) claimed that Nepal was not yet ripe for armed struggle.

In 1994 CPN(UC)/SJM was split in two. The militant faction later renamed itself the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist). The Maoists labeled the government forces " feudal forces," and included in this accusation was the monarchy and the mainstream political parties. The armed struggle began soon afterward with simultaneous attacks on remote police stations and district headquarters. Initially, the Nepali government mobilized the Nepal Police to contain the insurgency. The Royal Nepal Army was not involved in direct fighting because the conflict was regarded as a matter for the police to sustain control. Furthermore, controversy grew regarding the army not assisting the police during insurgent attacks in remote areas. The popularly elected prime minister resigned his post, due to the refusal of the Royal Army to take part in the conflict. This situation changed dramatically in 2002 when the first session of peace talks failed and the Maoists attacked an army barracks in Dang District in western Nepal. Overnight, the army was unleashed against the insurgents, mobilizing both tanks and artillery. Under the aegis of the global War on Terrorism and with the stated goal of averting the development of a " failed state" that could serve as a source of regional and international instability, the United States, European Union, and India, among other nations, have provided extensive military and economic aid to the Nepali government. This material support to the Nepali government dried up after King Gyanendra seized full control in February 2005 to get rid of civil war for once and all.

The government responded to the rebellion by banning provocative statements about the monarchy, [4] imprisoning journalists, and shutting down newspapers accused of siding with the insurgents. Several rounds of negotiations, accompanied by temporary cease-fires, were held between the insurgents and the government. The government categorically rejected the insurgents' demand for an election to the constituent assembly; it would result in the abolition of the monarchy by a popular vote. At the same time, the Maoists refused to recognize the installation of a constitutional monarchy. In November 2004, the government rejected the Maoists' request to negotiate directly with the King Gyanendra rather than via the Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba; their request for discussions to be mediated by a third party, such as the United Nations was dismissed.

Throughout war, the government controlled the main cities and towns, whilst the Maoist dominated the rural areas. Historically, the presence of the Nepali government has been limited to town and zonal centers. The only state apparatus present in most small villages, where most of the inhabitants of Nepal live, were a health post, a government school, a village council, and a police booth. Once the insurgency began, the schools were all that remained, indicating that the Maoists had seized control of the village. The Royal government powerbase was located in the zonal headquarters and the capital Kathmandu. Unrest reached Kathmandu in 2004 when the Maoists announced a blockade of the capital city.

Three Maoist rebels wait on top of a hill for orders to relocate in the Rolpa district

Intense fighting and civic unrest continued well into 2005, with the death toll rising to 200 in December 2004. On 1 February 2005, in response to the inability of the relatively democratic government to restore order, King Gyanendra assumed total control of the government. He proclaimed, "Democracy and progress contradict one another... In pursuit of liberalism, we should never overlook an important aspect of our conduct, namely discipline."

On 22 November 2005, Maoists, the joint CPN(M)–United People's Front conference in Delhi issued a 12-point resolution, stating that they "...completely agree that autocratic monarchy is the main hurdle" hindering the realisation of "democracy, peace, prosperity, social advancement and a free and sovereign Nepal." In addition, "It is our clear view that without establishing absolute democracy by ending autocratic monarchy, there is no possibility of peace, progress, and prosperity in the country." Since their formation in 1994, they were in arms for the establishment of democracy in Nepal. Unlike other communists, they support democracy and multi-party system in Nepal.

An understanding had been reached to establish absolute democracy by ending monarchy with the respective forces centralizing their assault against monarchy thereby creating a nationwide storm of democratic protests. This marked a departure from the previous stance of the CPN(M), which had so far vehemently opposed the gradual process of democratization advocated by the UPF.

As a result of the civil war, Nepal's greatest source of foreign currency, its tourism industry, suffered considerably. Travel company iExplore published rankings of the popularity of tourist destinations, based on their sales, which indicated that Nepal had gone from being the tenth most popular destination among adventure travelers, to the twenty-seventh.

The conflict forced the young and able to seek work abroad in order to avoid the human rights violations committed by the government forces and the crimes committed by the Maoists. These guest workers work predominantly in the Gulf ( Qatar, Saudi Arabia, etc.) and Southeast Asia ( Malaysia etc.). The regular flow of remittances from these labourers has permitted the country to avoid serious economic crisis or economic bankruptcy. The economy of Nepal is heavily dependent on the infusion of foreign income from the guest workers (similar to the Lebanese economy during its civil war).

According to INSEC, an organization which specializes in human rights issues in Nepal, 1,665 out of the 15,026 deaths (approximately 11 percent of all deaths) that occurred during the People's War were female victims. [5] Based on this dataset, the dynamics of the violence against women appears to very asymmetric, with government forces being responsible for 85 percent of the killings. [5]

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