"Indefinite Strike" Becomes Finite

To the general surprise of most Nepalis, the Maoists called off their “indefinite strike” on Friday evening. In fact, the “indefinite strike” lasted exactly six days, but in those six days, the country saw a series of protests—some of which were violent—and a series of calls for the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal. Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said that they called off the strike to ease the hardship of the people. Roads were blocked; shops, schools and business were closed throughout Nepal. Kathmanduties were facing shortage of food products, and the middle class especially faced a major problem. Most middle-class Nepalis work during the day in order to buy food that night—they have little to no savings, and would have suffered in an extended strike.

The relief of many Kathmanduties could be read, literally, on their Facebook status. “Finally we can have the sigh of relief from this stupid strike,” and, succinctly, “hurray!!!”

However, Dahal said that they will organize a mass demonstration on Saturday and picket Singhadurbar, where the prime ministerial offices are located, on Sunday. The Maoists maintain that the current government is not legitimate, cannot deliver a constitution, and want its chairman to be reinstated as the prime minister.

Now, the eyes are on the Nepal government as what it will do to reach a consensus. For example, will the prime minister resign? Sources tell me that the suggestion he would indeed resign was the reason the Maoists withdrew from their strike.

--Rajneesh Bhandari