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Nepal: Peace Process in Peril

By       Message Prithendra B. Khatri     Permalink
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Finally the Election Commission has cancelled all Constituent Assembly (CA) polls programmes scheduled for November on Friday for indefinite period on the request of the government. The poll was suspended after the Maoists stuck to their demands which are not in accordance with the spirit of interim constitution.

After about one and half year of various political exercises, fragile peace process of Nepal is heading towards perilous path with this decision. Series of fresh demands put forwarded by the Maoists are main reasons for making the political situation more complex. Once their particular demand is fulfilled new demands are made. It seems that the Maoists do not believe in what is called flexibility.

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They tend to be adamant and overlook national interest and people's aspirations.

Cancellation of CA poll has made political situation extremely precarious and fluid. None of the political pundits (perhaps only PM Girija and Maoists Supremo Prachanda) are in position to predict the fate of peace process at this critical juncture. The Maoists are probably predicting that their popularity is dwindling day by day. They are trying to keep people in illusion. Every time when the situation is favorably developed they put forward fresh political demands in defense to hide their weaknesses. The filthy politics of Maoists is well understood by all conscious people but they are still trying to lure the low and middle class mass by giving false promises. Fearing that there will be no prospect of political gain through election (rather they will have to lose great deal if the poll is conducted as scheduled) they are trying all out to obstruct the poll by putting forward impractical and party centered demands. The rhetoric made by various Maoists leaders is conflicting with each others and making Nepali people confused. At a time they are saying they are committed to hold CA election in proposed date but their act and deed does not justify that they are serious about it. The result is now again kind of deadlock which will put political process in limbo at least for some time. There are scores of Maoists activities which are creating series of hurdles for the smooth 'going' of peace process. First and foremost is the formation of the Young Communist League (YCL) and motive behind its formation. The game of brinkmanship of YCL is becoming ignominy for the Maoists thereby loosing whatever popularity they have gained so far.

Over the post truce period the Maoists have forcefully penetrated in to various business houses, government agencies and other governmental and nongovernmental organizations where they have formed various kinds of unions.

These unions are being politically used to employ their cadres in respective fields, control those organizations and also act as agents to extort money. The recent saga of the Kantipur publication is one of the current examples. There is a saying in Nepal that "if you feed milk to a snake, the snake will bite you once satisfied".

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The Kantipur publication one-sidedly supported Maoists during the royal regime. The same Maoists are now brutally acting against Kantipur publication for some unknown cause (there might be some hidden interests of Maoists for doing so). It is quite obvious that easy political consensus is not possible when there are eight political parties (now seven) with different political ideologies. Even if we ask them to define their understanding of democracy and republic system we will certainly find seven different definitions. There is no common ideology which will bind them together. On top of that these political parties are not having long term democratic visions but focusing only on short term single agenda with a view to penalize institution of monarchy. There is a big talk about all inclusive democracy but the monarchist are not given space in to it. The so called modality of inclusiveness orchestrated by the Maoists is dragging the country in to a deadly ethnic and religious conflict which will have risk of disintegrating the country.

They have not gone in to the deep root of possible political solutions which will rescue the country from the brink of failure. Particularly, party centered political interests of the Maoists are the biggest factors for damaging the peace process.

The Maoists are so much pampered by ruling political parties in general and Nepali Congress (PM Girija and Home Minister Krishna Sitaula) in particular for fulfilling all their relevant and irrelevant demands for the cause of vested political interests. The unholy kind of alliances between the ruling seven parties is not only sidelining other political forces but it is also ruining the peace, stability and harmony within the country. Ruling political parties are virtually unable to make the Maoists agreed on their terms and conditions; it is always other way round.

The Maoists are therefore always encouraged when ever they have to negotiate and impose their demands. The Maoists are not even hesitant to use illegal pressure tactics if other parties are reluctant to fulfill their demands. Recent example of blockade by the uniformed Maoists militants in Chitawan and Makwanpur districts is one of such incidents where the Maoists are caught red handed by the local administration while smuggling huge amount of lumbers.

There are unaccountable numbers of such incidents which are difficult to list out here. The Maoists are also blamed for escalating Terai agitations. It is the Maoists who are blamed for Lahan incident, Gaur incident, Banke incident, bomb blast in Kathmandu and most recently Kapilbastu incident. But they are alleging India, USA, Palace and Nepal Army behind these incidents. Sometimes ago the Maoists leader loosely talked about conspiracy of palace against Maoists leadership and US Ambassador Moriarty. Later it was revealed that it was merely a false propaganda perpetrated against friendly countries, Army and Palace.

The situation and peace process in Nepal is certainly in peril. The share of responsibility of failure has to be taken by all ruling political parties including Maoists.

If other political parties continue to fulfill all demands of the Maoists, then the day will come when the political parties will have to fulfill the demand which will lead the country in to end goal of the Maoists. Situation might come when other political parties are forced to sacrifice their existence. The Maoists themselves have openly mentioned time and again that once they over come monarchy then comes the tern of Nepali Congress and Nepal Communist party (UML). The Maoists are trying to give impression that they are the only victorious force of Jana Andolan II. They certainly have gained enormous amount of political benefits after politically surrendering for short term to seven party alliances.

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However, other political parties and people of Nepal must not forget that the Maoists have not permanently relinquished their old political goal which is based in hard-line communist ideology. Once they are succeeded in achieving their ultimate political goal which is based in outdated ideologies then it is certain that peace, democracy and development in Nepal will be pushed back for at least couple of decades. One can easily visualize what kinds of freedom and rules of law that the Maoists are visualizing and advocating. Bottom line is that no communist rule is accepted in Nepal in 21st century. All democratic political forces must realize this and act accordingly. Nepali people have given you golden opportunity to reshape the future of Nepal. If you betray Nepali people, then you will never be trusted in future. My advice to political parties is that "do not feed milk to poisonous snake".


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