Gangs of Maoist militants have launched a campaign in Nepal against the country’s gay and lesbian population.

The country’s only gay rights organisation, Blue Diamond, reports that this new oppression is sanctioned by Prime Minister, Girija Prasad Koirala.

Gays and lesbians in the Himalayan kingdom previously suffered persistent persecution from security forces during the absolutist rule of King Gyanendra.

LGBT people joined the Maoists and others to protest in a democracy movement against the king last year, demanding a freely elected, secular government.

When King Gyanendra finally relinquished sovereign power to the civilian government, it was hoped that gay and lesbian Nepalese would be granted human rights and legal protection.

The Maoist insurgents, who fought a ten-year guerrilla war against monarchist forces at a cost of over 12,000 lives, finally signed a peace agreement with the new democratic government in November last year.

No longer regarded as terrorists, the Maoists have turned their attention to ridding the country of “social pollutants,” such as pornography, infidelity, drunkenness and homosexuality, which they claim are products of capitalism.

The new government of Girija Prasad Koirala is supporting the communists.

“Under Soviet rule and when China was still very much a communist state, there were no homosexuals in the Soviet Union or China,” Dev Gurung said, according to The Asian Age newspaper.

“Now they are moving towards capitalism, homosexuals may have arisen there as well. So homosexuality is a product of capitalism. Under socialism this kind of problem doesn’t exist.”

The repression of LGBT people began in earnest last month, with gangs of Maoists roaming the streets of the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, warning home owners not to rent rooms to gay men or lesbians.

Despite their support for the democratic movement, gays and lesbians have been told by Maoist leaders that homosexuals are unnatural and pollute society.

After meeting representatives of the LGBT community, the Maoist commander of Kathmandu valley, called ‘Sagar’, is reported to have said, “we are against any aberrant activity that could have a negative and vitiating effect on society.”

Other Maoist leader have told Blue Diamond Society in meeting that homosexuality is a capitalist by-product.

LGBT leaders warned last October that their rights might not be protected by the new government

A Blue Diamond Society spokesman said, “Many of us, including homosexuals and transgender, who came out on the streets to protest against autocracy and fought for democracy, are now asking ourselves: is this the mandate we gave to our leaders to manage democracy?”