The Red Republic (2003) – Maoists now control a third of Nepal and boast that they will raise the red flag on Everest itself. More and more people are turning to them to voice their discontent.
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The poor, rural district of Surkhet has been abandoned by the political elite in Kathmandu. There are no roads, no electricity and few jobs. These circumstances have enabled the Maoist to make Surkhet one of their strongholds. The comrades have filled the void with a syllabus of ideological indoctrination and are attracting young people from the area in their droves. One of these new recruits is twelve year old Kranti. His father was also a Maoist before he was killed by the government. Now Kranti is determined to “do something” for the cause. The Maoists are fighting for a new constitution and vast restraints on the king’s power. Initially their rebellion was dismissed by the government but there is now growing recognition that these demands need to be addressed. “We have to bring them into the mainstream,” states peace negotiator Kamal Thapa. A recent poll indicates that, if they promised to lay down their arms, the Maoists would be more popular than any other political party. However, the Maoists show no signs of disarming until all their demands are met and have promised a “more vicious, more brutal,” campaign if war starts again. Whatever happens it seems unlikely that the voice of Nepal’s excluded poor will ever be quiet again.
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Produced by ABC Australia – Ref. 1934