Nepal Civil War

Nepali Civil War
Communist mural in Kathmandu. It reads: "Long Live Marxism-Leninism-Maoism and Prachanda Path."
Date13 February 1996 – 21 November 2006
(10 years, 9 months, 1 week and 1 day)

Comprehensive Peace Accord


Nepal Kingdom of Nepal
(Government of Nepal)

Supported by:
United States United States [1]
United Kingdom United Kingdom[2]

Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

Supported by:

Communist Party of India (Marxist)
Commanders and leaders
Nepal King of Nepal:
Birendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (1972-2001)
Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev (2001-08)
NepalPrime Minister of Nepal:
Sher Bahadur Deuba (1995-1997; 2001-02; 2004-05)
Lokendra Bahadur Chand (1997-1997; 2002-03)
Surya Bahadur Thapa (1997-1998; 2003-04)
Girija Prasad Koirala (1998-1999; 2000-01; 2006-08)
Krishna Prasad Bhattarai (1999-2000)
NepalCOAS of the Nepalese Army:
Dharmapaal Barsingh Thapa (1995-1999)
Prajwalla Shumsher JBR (1999-2003)
Pyar Jung Thapa (2003-2006)
Rookmangud Katawal (2006-2009)
NepalIGP of Nepal Police:
Moti Lal Bohora (1992-1996)
Achyut Krishna Kharel (1996–1996; 1996-1999)
Dhruba Bahadur Pradhan (1996–1996)
Pradip Shumsher J.B.R. (1999–2002)
Shyam Bhakta Thapa (2002-2006)
Om Bikram Rana (2006-2008)

(Pushpa Kamal Dahal)
Baburam Bhattarai Laldhwaj
Mohan Baidya (Kiran)

Nanda Kishor Pun
Casualties and losses
4,500 killed[3] 8,200 killed (mostly civilians)[3]
17,800 killed overall[4]
1,300 missing[5]

The Nepalese Civil War, known popularly as the Maoist Conflict (Nepali: माओवादी जनयुद्ध; IAST:māovādī janayuddha), Maoist Insurgency or Maoist Revolution, was a ten-year-long armed conflict between the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (CPN-M) and the government of Nepal, fought from 1996 to 2006. The insurgency period was popularly known as Maovadi Dwandakaal (Nepali: द्वन्दकाल) in Nepal. 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. The conflict was characterized by lynchings, massacres, purges, captures and autonomous rule, spread of communist teachings, conflicts against the authority and crimes against humanity. The revolution resulted in deaths of over 17,000 people involving civilians, insurgents, army and police personnels, and internally displaced hundreds of thousands of people (mostly in rural Nepal). According to INSEC, 1,665 out of the deaths that occurred during the Civil War were female victims, with government forces being responsible for approximately 85 percent of the killings of females.[6] This revolution succeeded in overthrowing the 240 years old Hindu Shah monarchy of Gorkha and established secular republican regime which resulted in political, social and cultural change in Nepal popularly termed Krambhanga (Breach of Continuity).


More than 17,000 people (including both civilians and armed forces) were killed during the conflict, including over 4,000 Nepalis killed by Maoists from 1996-2005, and over 8,200 Nepalis killed by government forces from 1996-2005.[3] In addition, an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 people were internally displaced as a result of the conflict. Furthermore, this conflict disrupted most rural development activities.

On 10 January 1990, the United Left Front (ULF) was formed,[7]:331 which, together with the Nepali Congress, was the backbone of the broad-based movement for democratic change. However, communist groups, uncomfortable with the alliance between the ULF and the Congress Party, formed a parallel front, the United National People's Movement (UNPM). The UNPM called for elections to a constituent assembly, and rejected compromises made by ULF and the Congress Party with the royal house. In November 1990, the Communist Party of Nepal (Unity Centre), or CPN(UC), was formed, and included key elements of the UNPM. On 21 January 1991, the CPN(UC) set up the United People's Front of Nepal (UPFN), with Baburam Bhattarai as its head, as an open front to contest elections.[8]:332 The CPN(UC) held its first convention on 25 November 1991,[8]:332 adopted a line of "protracted armed struggle on the route to a new democratic revolution",[9] and decided that the party would remain an underground party. In the 1991 election, the UPFN became the third-largest party in the Nepali parliament. However, disagreements within the UPFN surged, regarding which tactics were to be used by the party. One group, led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal (alias Prachanda), argued for immediate armed revolution, while the other group, led by Nirmal Lama, claimed that Nepal was not yet ripe for armed struggle.[8]:332

On 22 May 1994, the CPN(UC)/UPFN was split in two. The militant faction later renamed itself the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), or CPN(M). This faction described the government forces, mainstream political parties, and the monarchy, as "feudal forces". The armed struggle began on 13 February 1996, when the CPN(M) carried out 7 simultaneous attacks over 6 districts.[8]:333 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 which the police would sustain control. Controversy grew regarding the army not assisting the police during insurgent attacks in remote areas. On 19 July 2001, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala resigned over his inability to tackle the Maoist insurgency, and over the refusal of the army to take part in the conflict.[8]:335 On 25 July 2001, the government of Sher Bahadur Deuba and the Maoist insurgents declared a ceasefire, and held peace talks from August–November of that year.[8]:335 The failure of these peace talks resulted in the return to armed conflict, beginning when the Maoists attacked an army barracks in Dang District in western Nepal, on 22 November.[8]:335 Overnight, the army was unleashed against the insurgents, mobilizing both tanks and artillery. The insurgency situation changed dramatically in 2002, as the number of attacks by both sides increased greatly, and more people died than in any other year of the war.[8]:309

The government responded to the insurgency by banning anti-monarchy statements,[10] imprisoning journalists, and shutting down newspapers accused of siding with the insurgents. Several rounds of negotiations, accompanied by temporary ceasefires, were held between the insurgents and the government. The government categorically rejected the insurgents' demand for elections to a constituent assembly, for fear that 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 both the Maoists' request to negotiate directly with King Gyanendra rather than via Prime Minister Deuba, and the Maoists' request for discussions to be mediated by a third party such as the United Nations.

Throughout the war, the government controlled the main cities and towns, whilst the Maoists dominated the rural areas. This was a result of the fact that almost all government institutions were located in either the capital city Kathmandu, or the headquarters of a district. In August 2004, even Kathmandu came under rebel control, as the Maoists performed a week-long blockade of the city.[11]

Under the aegis of the global War on Terror 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, United Kingdom, and India, among other nations, provided extensive military and economic aid to the Nepali government. On 1 February 2005, in response to the inability of the relatively democratic government to restore order, King Gyanendra seized full control of Nepal in an attempt to definitively end the insurgency. He proclaimed, "democracy and progress contradict one another... in pursuit of liberalism, we should never overlook an important aspect of our conduct, namely discipline."[12] As a result of this takeover, the United Kingdom and India both suspended their material support for Nepal.[8]:337 On 5 May 2005, in response to the takeover by King Gyanendra, 7 political parties began talks to form a Seven Party Alliance (SPA).[8]:338 On 22 November 2005, with support from the Indian government, Maoist rebels and the SPA jointly issued a 12-point resolution, which described autocratic monarchy as the main obstacle to "democracy, peace, prosperity, social upliftment and an independent and sovereign Nepal",[13] and included a commitment to hold elections to a constituent assembly and for the Maoist rebels to renounce violence.[8]:339

In 2006, violent conflict decreased significantly, and instead, the year was dominated by pro-democracy demonstrations.[8]:339 Throughout April 2006, pro-democracy demonstrations were held across Nepal, and over 400 protesters in Kathmandu were arrested, while tens of others were injured. On 21 April, King Gyanendra announced that he would return the Prime Ministership to the SPA, but this offer was rejected by both the Maoist rebels and the SPA.[8]:339 On 24 April, King Gyanendra announced that he would also reinstate the House of Representatives, which satisfied the SPA, who formed the reinstated House of Representatives.[8]:339 However, the Maoist rebels vowed to continue the agitation, and on 2 June, in Kathmandu, the Maoists held the largest pro-democracy demonstration, which was attended by over 200,000 people.[8]:339–340 On 9 August, the government and the Maoist rebels agreed to accept the United Nations to monitor the peace process and to manage the arms of both sides.[8]:340 On 21 November, the government, the SPA, and the Maoist rebels signed the Comprehensive Peace Accord, which formally ended the Civil War.[8]:340

The Civil War forced young workers to seek work abroad, predominantly in the Persian Gulf and Southeast Asia. The regular flow of remittances from these labourers has allowed Nepal to avoid serious economic crisis or bankruptcy. The economy of Nepal is heavily dependent on the infusion of foreign income from these foreign workers (similar to the Lebanese economy during its civil war). As a result of the Civil War, Nepal's tourism industry, which is its greatest source of foreign currency, suffered considerably. According to the travel company iExplore, Nepal went from being the 10th most popular destination among adventure travellers to the 27th most popular.

According to INSEC, 1,665 out of the 15,026 deaths that occurred during the Civil War (approximately 11 percent) were female victims, with government forces being responsible for approximately 85 percent of the killings of females.[6]

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

Army integration[]

The Nepalese Army (NA) took final control over the People's Liberation Army (PLA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre), on 10 April 2012.[14] Prime Minister (PM) Baburam Bhattarai, who also heads the Army Integration Special Committee (AISC), told the committee on 10 April 2012, that the NA was going to move into all 15 PLA cantonments, take full control, and seize more than 3,000 weapons locked in containers lying there.[14] He added that the process would be completed by the evening of 12 April.[14] However, following reports of clashes in the cantonments, the PM met the NA chief, Chhattra Man Singh Gurung, in the evening of 10 April, and directed him to implement the decisions of the AISC.[14] NA troops took charge of the cantonments and the weapons' containers the same day.[14] This vitiated the environment in the cantonments.[14] Consequently, the process was halted on 10 April at the request of the Maoist leadership.[14] It was, however, restarted on 13 April, and, as of 19 April 2012, when it was finally concluded, there were 3,129 former PLA combatants left for integration into the NA.[14] A total of 6,576 combatants chose the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS), that promises cheques in the range of NPR 500,000 to NPR 800,000, depending on their ranks.[14]

In the first phase (18 November - 1 December 2011) of regrouping, 9,705 former combatants had chosen integration into the NA.[14] In a landmark achievement, the AISC had initiated the process of integration following a 1 November 2011, seven-point deal signed by three major political parties – UCPN-M, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist) (CPN-UML) and Nepali Congress (NC) – and the umbrella formation of several Madheshi groups, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF).[14] The deal provided three options to former PLA combatants – integration, voluntary retirement and rehabilitation.[14] 9,705 combatants opted for integration, 7,286 chose voluntary discharge, and six combatants registered their names for rehabilitation packages.[14] The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) had registered 19,602 combatants in the second verification conducted on 26 May 2007.[14]

On 14 April 2012, AISC decision laid down that the ranks of the integrated combatants would be determined according to the NA's, and not the PLA's, standards.[14] A Selection Committee would be headed by the Chairman of Nepal's Public Service Commission (PSC) or by a member appointed by him, and a General Directorate would be created under the NA, headed by a Lieutenant General, to absorb the integrated combatants.[14] The combatants will have to undergo between three and nine months of training, depending on their ranks.[14] The Directorate would only be deployed for disaster relief, industrial security, development, and forest and environment conservation.[14] On 17 April, the NA stated that it could not start the recruitment process of former Maoist combatants until the structure—leadership and size—of the General Directorate had been finalised at the political level.[14] On 19 April 2012, the three major political parties agreed to merge two separate proposed commissions on Truth and Reconciliation, and on Disappearances, into one.[14]









2006 democracy movement


In July 2007, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction proposed legislation that would establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission in Nepal.[52] The parliament is setting up a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to investigate wartime killings, torture and forced disappearances and is debating proposals to grant an amnesty for abuses by government and rebel forces.[53]

The revolution resulted in political, social and cultural change in Nepal popularly termed Krambhanga (Nepali: क्रमभङ्ग) which meant Breach of Continuity.[54][55][56]

See also[]


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  3. ^ a b c Ed Douglas. "Inside Nepal's Revolution". National Geographic Magazine, p. 54, November 2005.
  4. ^ 17,800 people died during conflict period, says Ministry of Peace
  5. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  6. ^ a b "Conflict Victim's Profile". INSEC. Archived from the original on 6 May 2017. Retrieved 3 May 2017.
  7. ^ Mahendra Lawoti and Anup K. Pahadi, ors (2010). The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Revolution in the twenty-first century. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-77717-9.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Mahendra Lawoti and Anup K. Pahari, ors (2010). The Maoist Insurgency in Nepal: Revolution in the twenty-first century. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-77717-9.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  9. ^ Manesh Sreshtha and Bishnu Adhikari (2005). Internal Displacement in South Asia: The Relevance of the UN's Guiding Principles. Sage. ISBN 0-7619-3313-1.
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  52. ^ Selecting Commissioners for Nepal's Truth and Reconciliation Commission International Center for Transitional Justice (ICTJ)
  53. ^ This investigation was caused due to the increasing Maoist insurgencies within the Northern Kathmandu area, which has been plaguing the area of late. It is well known that the rebels have an inclination for targeting white, Westerners who they see as the "cause of the food and poverty crisis" within the state.Nepal urged to drop plan for war crimes amnesty Archived 1 August 2012 at the Wayback Machine NY Daily News
  54. ^
  55. ^
  56. ^ "नेपाली संस्कृतिमा क्रमभङ्ग". 12 August 2017. Retrieved 20 February 2019.

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