In my opinion, Kanchanpur does seem to be an unlikely venue for these developments, but these developments in and of themselves are not all that strange. With the Maoist leadership now ensconced in Kathmandu, the youth who formed the core of the movement have been neglected. During the conflict countless children were forcibly taken away from their families, politically indoctrinated, and taught that it is acceptable to kill to advance one’s political aims. The energy and resources of the youth were parasitically drained by the Maoist leadership while they needed it. However, now that these leaders have a chance to gain mainstream political acceptance, they are happily busy holding meetings and riding in SUVs around the streets of Kathmandu. But the end of the conflict means something quite different to those who were on the front lines.
Returning from the conflict, these young people have been isolated from their families (and society as a whole) for years, deprived of education, and (most) have nothing but unemployment to look forward to. In this context it should not be surprising that many violent and radical splinter groups are popping up across Nepal. From the Terai Tigers to the Republican Army of Nepal, fierce political indoctrination, frustration with political elites and a lack of opportunities make armed insurrection continue to be an appealing course of action to disillusioned youth.
Finally, there continues to be widespread frustration throughout Nepal in regards to the monarchy. The second jan andolan (people’s uprising) was directed against the king and almost all Nepalis I speak with strongly believe that the monarchy should be abolished. Yet the political elites (who were conspicuously absent during jan andolan) are now perceived to be determining the fate of the monarchy without listening to, or consulting the people. Many people feel deceived and betrayed by the political parties, creating further resentment and opposition. Indeed, with such widespread popular sentiment against the monarchy, it is boggling to me that this is even a topic to be debated. If the issue were ever put to a vote it is clear that the monarchy would be abolished, and thus it seems that this should be a no-brainer.
Until the gulf between political elites and the constituents they allegedly represent (and between rhetoric and action) is bridged, the potential for kidnappings, extortion and murder remains—even in sleepy Kanchanpur.
Posted By Jeff Yarborough
Posted Jul 16th, 2007