Ajay P. Nath: Peace And Stability in Nepal
Peace And Stability in Nepal
By Ajay P. Nath
The American president's recent statement on terrorism was the strongest so far against the enemy of freedom and human civilisation. He just doesn't believe in any form of compromise and does not show the slightest hint of it. Terrorists are terrorists, and they must be dealt with severely wherever they are and whoever they are. Their atrocities and extremities, their cruelty and barbaric display of Pol Pot-like behaviour are beyond human imagination and tolerance.
The British prime minister has come down equally heavily on the terrorists. The British government, in fact, is coming out with a special act on terrorism, which empowers the authorities to even expel suspected terrorists from the country and curtail the freedom of expression, movement and other basic rights in order to control and curve terrorism. Terrorism today has become a common menace for the people of the 21st century. It has become a global challenge for the international community, a global threat that is disturbing world peace, stability and the people's desires to prosper and progress.
Under the undaunted and unflinching American leadership, the struggle against the enemy of freedom and civilisation is gaining unprecedented momentum whether that be in Britain or Brussels, Nepal or New work, Madrid or Madras. Terrorism, whether that is in Pakistan or Chechnya, Afghanistan or Ankara, Iraq or India, is a menace to the innocent people and public property. Their heart is full of cruelty, and their deeds are smeared with the blood of infants, children, the old and feeble people. If violence is their motto, terror is their aim and cruelty their objective. The innocent, unarmed and weak are their targets. Therefore, no human being should have any kind of mercy or tolerance toward these rogues and thugs as long as they do not renounce violence, give up arms, surrender to the state, promise to come to the national political fold and reconcile with the main national stream.
Unless the state security forces are not strongly beefed up to give them a bloody nose without any respite, they are not going to give up their violent activities and atrocities. As long as they are able to create terror and extract from the people, the people cannot exercise their fundamental rights, nor can they take the responsibility. The security agencies, in order to enforce the rules of law, have to be effective. And for them to be effective, the whole instrument of national power must be behind the legitimate operations of the security forces.
Since this is a battle of ideas and ideology, the political institutions are the ones that should be in the forefront fighting a political, intellectual and ideological battle so that the people can gear up to face the challenges and defeat the terrorists. The will of the majority is mandatory for pluralistic institutions to function, which means that a functioning democracy can deliver to defeat terrorism. Political institutions, therefore, have a decisive role to play in defeating terrorism. The security forces can only stabilise the situation to provide the space for the political agencies to maneuver enough for a suitable deal to strike.
In Nepal, terrorists have been operating for the last ten years, and their fundamental strategy is to create terror, extract and extort. Those who do not obey or submit are made examples with fatal reprisals in front of families, friends and villagers. So far, they have killed 15 thousand people, destroyed billions of rupees worth of property and infrastructure and maimed and displaced more than a hundred thousand. Recently they blew up a public bus in Chitwan district, killing 38 people. In Kailali, they massacred six children and women, and in Nepalgunj, they killed Shrivastav in Kapilvastu and Ajaya Raj Singh in Nepalganj, both political workers. They have forced industries like Colgate and Unilever to shut down and destroyed Jyoti Spinning Mills, depriving thousands of employees of their jobs. They claim to work for the poor and deprived and champion their cause. Is this how terrorists champion the cause of the poor and deprived?
The Industrial Security Group (ISG), which comprises representatives of the embassies of France, Germany, India, the United Kingdom, United States and the delegation of the European commission along with their bilateral Chambers of Commerce, has strongly condemned the terrorist acts of destruction and damage to public property like mills and industries that serve the needs of the people and workers. The ISG says that the Maoist claim that they represent the workers' interest is a pretext for extortion and an illegitimate means to achieving political mileage.
The closure of companies and foreign joint ventures hurts the basic interest of the people, and no political force should legitimise or recognise such acts of terrorism in any form. The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry has also strongly condemned these acts of extreme terrorism. They have taken out massive rallies against such anti-people acts. Surprisingly no political parties have condemned these acts of terrorism against the state and people so far, including brutalities displayed at the road construction site in Kalikot.
Is it the tacit support to the terrorist in such acts of violence and cruelty that has given an unprecedented fillip to the conduct of the terrorists in the name of establishing working relationships with them? What compelled the political parties and their student wings to be used by the terrorist and become a springboard of the terrorists? Have the terrorists renounced violence, given up arms and decided to come to the national mainstream through the use of the ballot? Did they not raise arms against the state and its elected government? If the political parties ever fall into this terrorist trap, nothing on earth would be more unfortunate. With the chaos that will befall the nation, the country will become a failed state, bringing more trouble not only to the region but also to the world as a whole.
Recently some political leaders have found congenial to talk about a republic and constituent assembly, the agenda of the terrorists. How wise and visionary a leader would ask the people to go for a constituent assembly and republicanism? Why constituent assembly? What does a republic mean for a country like Nepal with its unique geopolitical location, geo-strategic importance and diverse natural characteristics?
Just imagine a Nepal without the monarchy. Who will lose? Is it the monarchy or the Nepalese people? Who will control the chaos and confusion, which are inevitable should Nepal become a republic? Will Nepal, without the monarchy, be able to absorb the triangular shock of internal feuds, neighbours' hegemony and conflicting international competition that will burden the country and the Nepalese?
While the terrorists are killing, torturing, destroying and brutalising on the one hand and the political parties are calling for a constituent assembly and even a republic in the secure and peaceful capital, on the other hand, the King is sweating and in the terrorist-infested far-flung corners of the country, listening and talking to the victims of terrorism. He is offering space to the terrorists and calling on the political parties for national unity in order to address the 10-year-old terrorism and rampant corruption and to clean up the administration and bring about national fiscal discipline. Peace, a permanent one, is his priority and re-energising the democratic institutions his project. "As the people's aspiration is peace, the state mechanism is engaged with priority to establish peace in the country," the King has been saying.
If peace and development are Nepal's priority, and stability and prosperity are its projects, which the King has been stressing and emphasizing all along, what is stopping the political parties from joining hands in the great and historic cause? Instead of instigating and encouraging its small but radical groups of students, cadres and followers to destroy public property, create hindrances and irritants to the normal functioning of lives and educational institutions, the leadership can put pressure on the terrorists to give up violence, lay down arms and accept the people's impartial verdict. The present trend of terrorist action does not guarantee a secure democratic future for Nepal. If the political parties allow themselves to be used and exploited by the terrorists as in the past, democracy, human rights and press freedom will be the first victims of the terrorist. None on earth should forget how the Bolsheviks and Joseph Stalin wiped out all democratic opposition's views.