New Internationalist

Nepal is South Asia’s worst trouble spot

May 2004

Over 1,500 people dead, 250 disappeared and thousands made homeless fleeing their ravaged villages. These are not the final casualty figures in the wake of a natural disaster, but the toll of the Maoist conflict in Nepal since the collapse of the last cease? re in August 2003.

The conflict in this poor Himalayan kingdom is now one of the deadliest in Asia. The total death toll since it began in February 1996 is over 9,130. ‘This is by far the most violent conflict in South Asia,’ said Deepak Thapa, an expert on the Maoist conflict. ‘The rate of daily killings has doubled since the resumption of hostilities.’

The growing trend of disappearances and indiscriminate killings lends credence to rumours that the military is following an unofficial policy of extermination of state enemies by death squads. No hard evidence exists, but senior military officials privately admit that the policy is to ‘terrorize the terrorists’.

While the spotlight has fallen on the rights abuses by security services, the Maoists are far from blameless. They have killed innocents, political activists and family members of soldiers with impunity, while some reports indicate a forced recruitment drive of up to 50,000 children.

Bangladesh, with all its floods and civil strife, used to be the basket case of South Asia,’ a Kathmandu-based diplomat said. ‘Now it’s unequivocally Nepal.’

Suman Pradhan / IPS

Front cover of New Internationalist magazine, issue 376 This column was published in the May 2004 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

Comments on Nepal is South Asia's worst trouble spot

Leave your comment


  • Maximum characters allowed: 5000
  • Simple HTML allowed: bold, italic, and links

Registration is quick and easy. Plus you won’t have to re-type the blurry words to comment!
Register | Login

...And all is quiet.

Subscribe to Comments for this articleArticle Comment Feed RSS 2.0

Guidelines: Please be respectful of others when posting your reply.

Get our free fortnightly eNews


Videos from visionOntv’s globalviews channel.

Related articles

Recently in Currents

All Currents

Popular tags

All tags

This article was originally published in issue 367

New Internationalist Magazine issue 367
Issue 367

More articles from this issue

New Internationalist Magazine Issue 436

If you would like to know something about what's actually going on, rather than what people would like you to think was going on, then read the New Internationalist.

– Emma Thompson –

A subscription to suit you

Save money with a digital subscription. Give a gift subscription that will last all year. Or get yourself a free trial to New Internationalist. See our choice of offers.