STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Understanding Nepal Maoists' Demands: Revisiting Events of 1990

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  • January 2003
    Volume: 
    27
    Issue: 
    1
    Articles

    The Maoist insurgency which began in February 1996 is the major security challenge facing Nepal, having affected almost all the 75 districts of the country. The Maoists' core demandsan interim government, an elected Constituent Assembly to frame a new Constitution, a republican state-revolve around issues which seemed to have been settled in the 1990 Constitution. This Constitution was promulgated following a people's movement marking a transition from a party-less panchayat system to a multi-party democracy with Constitutional monarchy and sovereignty resting with the people.

    The paper raises the question-why are the Maoists opening these issues now? Why do they have a problem in accepting the 1990 Constitution? The paper argues that to answer these questions it is necessary to revisit the events of 1990. The findings show that the Maoists' demands have similarities with the grievances articulated in 1990 by various political parties and ethnic groups.

    The paper concludes that the Maoist insurgency is just one 'face' of instability. Unless corrective measures are taken, Nepal will witness more of these. Secondly, and more significantly, the gap between the myth and reality of 'Constitutional monarchy' needs to be objectively examinednot just in the context of the Maoists' demands but in the larger frame of the evolution and stability of the Nepali political system.

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