February 8, 2012
On Monday, they demanded that they be recognized as equivalent to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) fighters and be provided the same financial packages as promised by the party in 2007 — a demand neither heard before nor registered anywhere institutionally.
Lalit Thapa, the Secretary of the YCL Thuruwan State Committee, organized a press conference at which he announced that the YCL and disqualified Maoist fighters seized the documents of the party offices and padlocked them in the Dhangadi region. According to Thapa, the offices of nine district committees of the Maoist party as well the Tharuwan and Seti-Mahakali state committees had been closed indefinitely.
He also promised that the YCL would boycott all party programs, prevent party central committee (CC) members from visiting the western region of the country and seize the vehicles and property of party leaders and PLA commanders.
This unpredicted confrontation forces Maoist leadership into a difficult corner. The Maoist party created the YCL. Recently, it seems, its baby has taken on a life of its own.
Since 2007, what support has the YCL received from the Maoist party?
According to a Carter Center Report issued in March 2011:
YCL cadres said that “full-timers” do not receive salary but are provided with food and accommodation; some also said that the party provides them with some money to cover basic needs, transportation, and communications costs. “Part-timers” do not receive the same benefits as “full-timers” except during party events. A Nawalparasi YCL representative told observers, “I am a full-time cadre. I own no private property and the party looks after me. I go to the people in the village and they give me food and shelter. The party also gives me some money for transportation and communication.” A Kailali YCL representative said the party does not provide salary, but only “limited pocket money” to cover basic needs. He further said that, as many YCL cadres are from a “war background and can’t go home,” they have been working as full-timers and are provided with some food, accommodation, transportation, and simple clothing. Cadres interviewed also consistently mentioned receiving political training from the party and a few said they had received physical training.
What prompted this new protest?
Apparently, the recent voluntary retirement process of the PLA, (See my article), is the reason behind this week’s unrest, as well as the YCL’s ascendant sense of displacement.
Further details were reported by Dil Bahadur Chhatyal (Republica, Feb. 6, 2012):
Back in 2007, the party had picked out promising members of the PLA and formed the combative YCL in a bid to foment an urban insurrection for state capture.
"Two brigades of PLA personnel were sent out of the cantonments by the party leadership and PLA commanders to ensure the victory of the party during the CA elections," YCL central committee (CC) member Lalit Thapa said, adding, "The party had promised to treat us on par with those remaining in the cantonments, but it did not [keep its word]."
Thapa claimed that 363 PLA members including himself were taken out of their battalion and made members of the YCL.
"They assured us that it would make no difference even if we didn´t participate in the UNMIN verification process," he lamented, and said the YCL members were compelled to launch the protest after the party failed to live up to its word.
Just before sending their combatants into the cantonments in 2007, the Maoists had picked out the promising PLA personnel and directed them to work for the YCL with a view to fomenting an urban insurrection for state capture. The Maoists also rounded up local youths from across the country to fill up the cantonments.
Issuing a statement, the protestors have demanded PLA identity cards, rehabilitation for physically disabled YCL members, relief packages on par with the PLA, and integration into the Nepal Army (NA), among other things.
They said they will hold talks with any leader other than PLA chief Nanda Kishor Pun and the coordinator of the Special Committee, which is headed by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. The YCL members have also stated that they will launch an indefinite general strike in western Nepal from February 13.
It may be important to add that Monday’s incident occurred one day after the Minister of Commerce and Supply, Lekhraj Bhatta – a Maoist politbureau member – expressed his willingness to lead a movement against his own party. This was in reaction against what he described as a corrupt government , which, in his opinion, has contributed to the superhike of market prices and the “artificial” scarcity of oil and gas in Nepal.
Unity within the Maoist party seems to have hit an all-time low.