The People Revolt
No matter what reasons the Maoists quoted, the ‘People’s Movement’ was called off only because of the power of the people on the streets.
by RAMESHWOR BOHARA
Earlier that morning, the Maoists in Kupandol had beaten up locals heading to the peace gathering in Basantapur. The people were enraged with the Maoists.
The emergency bell, gifted to Bishnu Malla's wife by Goddess Taleju in the Malla regime used to be rung only twice - on the ninth day of Dashain and on the day of Khadga jatra. But after the devastating earthquake of 1934, it was used as an alarm. The bell was rung earlier in the same day when the Maoists charged into the city with stones, batons, rods and knives.
Standing against Injustice
The bandh, indeed, was only for the normal citizens. While even the ailing and the ones in labour had no ride to reach the hospital, the Maoists zoomed around brandishing their flags in buses and bikes and had water tankers on standby. In fact, a youth taking an ill child to the hospital in Satungal was thrashed by the Maoists on 4 May.
Under the dures of the Maoists, the locals as per the data by Police Headquarters remonstrated in more than 55 places. The protest was not in opposition to the party's ideologies but in opposition to the acts of the party. Nevertheless, the Maoists labeled the crowed as mob and vigilantes and gundas and continued its violent acts. Even more, by categorising the individuals like workers, intellectuals and industrialists who want to 'live and let live in peace' as his enemies, Prachanda only augment the feeling of rebellion amongst the people.
Hence the same party that had been ordering its cadres to attack the 'vigilantes', was compelled to halt the indefinite strike at 9 in the evening of 7 May, saying they did not want Nepalis to wrestle amongst themselves. The behaviour of the Maoists had aggravated to such an extent that they had been barging inside people's homes and harassing them, testing the people's patience.
It is the democratic awareness of the people that led them to protest against the forcefulness of the Maoists. Nonetheless, the violent protest in Birgunj and Dhankuta, as claimed by the Maoists does seem planned. While the protest in Birgunj was based on a Hindu state, the one in Dhankuta was based on UML's youth force. But the protest in Kathmandu was different, the places where people protested were the same ones that have been active since the democracy was introduced in 1950.
Before the locals of Patan headed to protest, they rang the historic bell. It is in the same place where the women of the locality enclosed and trapped the policemen who were sent to repress their protest in 1989. And it is the same places outside the ring road, Budanilkantha, Satungal and others had also been protesting since 1950.