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Nepal Relapsing into Regression

Nepal Relapsing into Regression

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar
Friday, June 16, 2006

“If the King is not given the space, it might create a grave situation. Let not another revolt start just because someone has been looked over. I have saying ceremonial monarchy since long to give a breathing pace to the king. If the king is not given the space, it might create a grave situation,” said Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to the group of his supporters in his hometown Biratnagar on Wednesday, June 14, 2006 [1]. Nepalis gave him a mandate to holding elections for a Constituent Assembly. The job of Mr. Koirala is to follow the mandate of the people and then let the Constituent Assembly decide the fate of the kingship. So, Mr. Koirala has no rights to scare Nepalis off the grave situation to accept the kingship.

The seven political parties in alliance for movement against the king’s dictatorial regime have removed the provision for the kingship from their party statutes. Telling the Nepalis to accept the kingship again, Mr. Koirala went against his own party statute, and has revived the regression against which the seven-party alliance (SPA) and Koirala himself fought for three years, and ultimately with the people’s participation in their fight against regression, regained the state power in 19 days in April 2006. Now, he wants to get the kingship back, and probably turn over the power back to the king.

The people’s movement in April 2006 restored the House of Representatives and gave a mandate to the current Government headed by no other than Mr. Koirala to punish the personnel of commanders of the Unified Command of the Army, Armed Police Forces and the Police for brutally suppressing the protestors against the dictatorial king, the state-run media personnel for publishing and airing hundreds of opinions articles and news against democracy, human rights and freedom of press, and advocating for the dictatorial regime, and the heads of the constitutional bodies for welcoming the most undemocratic actions of the king taken on February 01, 2005 Have the current government and the House of Representatives done anything toward it?

Certainly, the current government and the House of Representatives have done nothing toward it. The personnel of the Unified Command have been enjoying better lives than used to be because they have no fear of the Maoists as used to be. They have killed 21 people and injured 5,000 people with impunity during the people’s movement in April 2006. The heads of the Constitutional Bodies supposed to be impeached by the House of Representatives are enjoying better lives too. Politicians, reporters and other civilians advocating for the kingship are rewarded. Is it the Nepalis wanted from the so-called SPA Government and the House of Representatives restored by the people’s power?

The statement of Mr. Koirala strengthened the positions of both the king and the Maoists. The king got the breathing space as Mr. Koirala himself stated in his statement. The king badly needed such a breathing space as he almost lost his crown during the people’s movement in April 2006. Now, he could regroup his supporters and prepared for fighting against democracy and human rights as he had done during his fourteen months of the autocratic rule.

The Koirala’s statement strengthened the Maoists too because they could utilize the prevailing public sentiment against the kingship and Mr. Koirala and his SPA Government for their support to the kingship. The Maoists would surely and easily mobilized the people against the kingship and against the supporters of the kingship because the young generation Nepalis of aged up to 40 years have realized that the kingship has been the main reason for the political, social and economical ills in Nepal. Nepalis have suffered a lot during the Shah dynastic rule of over 237 years.

The Koirala government had done two favorable things to the king and the Maoists. He did not take any punitive actions against the guilty personnel of the Unified Command for brutally suppressing the protests against the autocratic king’s regime, thus preserving the much-needed military loyal to the king, and he freed the entire Maoist terrorists from the different prisons. Thus, the Koirala government has created an environment conducive to another revolt, which he supposedly wanted to avoid.

The opinion of the American Ambassador to Nepal, James F. Moriarty on the possible repetition of the notorious Pol-Pot regime in Nepal might come true because Mr. Koirala saying, “Let not another revolt start” has sown the seed of the revolution by stating the relevance of the kingship and by letting the culprits of the Unified Command and the Maoists walk freely with impunity. This clearly indicates that Mr. Koirala has no vision of the political future in Nepal.

So, this time, the revolt would be against the kingship and its supporters such as Mr. Koirala and the SPA Government. The revolt would be in towns and not in rural areas. The Maoists have the rural areas under their control, now they are heading toward the urban areas. The 12-point understanding reached between the SPA and the Maoists gave the Maoists much-needed legal and political strength to enter into urban areas. Now, their battleground will be the urban centers not the rural areas. Once they captured the urban centers, the Maoist cadres would easily displace the well-to-do urban people. The American Ambassador’s vision of reincarnation of Cambodian Pol Pot in Nepal comes true not far in the future.

The current government does not look like the government of the so-called SPA but of the king. The Prime Minister has been the supporter of the king throughout his political life, and has continued to be so even though he has got the mandate for something else than advocating for the king. The Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Oli is also the supporter of the kingship. So, he did not need to spend a single night behind bars while most of the political leaders of his stature have been in the custody of the Unified Command during the days of the people’s movement in 2006. Another Deputy Prime Minister, Amik Sherchan wanted to be against the kingship but could not be because he needed the ministerial position before he could be out of politics.

Current Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula is not much different from the king and his Home Minister Kamal Thapa in lavishly spending the taxpayers’ money on his comfort. Mr. Thapa flew on the state-run helicopter to Hetauda for casting his single vote and asking others to caste votes for the candidates of his newly split-away Rastriya Prajatantra Party at the time of the unconstitutionally held municipal elections on February 08, 2006. Mr. Sitaula flew on the government helicopter to the nice tourist resort village called Siklis nearby Pokhara on Sunday, June 11, 2006 to have a nice friendly chats with the Maoists’ supreme leader ‘Prachand” and his deputy Dr. Baburam Bhattarai for two and a half hours. In his heyday, King Gyanendra used the aircraft of the State-run Nepal Airlines for his pleasure visit to some African countries after the completion of the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Summit in Bangladesh in November 2005 making a huge loss to the airlines, and used the helicopter for his pleasure trips and visiting various religious shrines in the country at the time when Nepalis have been literally fighting for survival.

A bunch of corrupt politicians including Girija Prasad Koirala and Madhav Kumar Nepal have been running the political parties. Their job is to get into power no matter how, and then to have access to the national treasury. This time too, they did the same. They did not put their sincere leaders into power but their own puppets and sycophants. For example, Narahari Acharya, Ram Chandra Poudel and Arjun Narsing K.C. of the Nepali Congress Party had actively participated in the protest against the king’s autocratic regime. Acharya and Poudel have been behind bars several months. However, they could not get nowhere near to the power center after the Nepalis put the SPA in power. When Mr. Poudel protested against putting the notably unjustifiable people on the Council of Ministers, the clique of Girija and Madhav Nepal charged him with the squabbling with each other over the cabinet positions.

The Koirala government appointed the staff member of the Gorkhapatra publication and the chief reporter of Gorkhapatra daily newspaper, Mr. Kulchandra Wagle to the advisor to the Ministry of Information and Communications on Sunday, June 11, 2006. Thus, the Koirala government rewarded the reporter responsible for reporting against the democracy and against the people’ uprising. The government sidelined the independent media reporters who have risked their lives for correctly collecting and reporting the news about the protest movement in 2006. Appointing the reporter of the Gorkhapatra publication to the advisor to the Ministry of Information and Communications, the government not only rewarded the individual reporter of the Gorkhapatra publication but also appreciated the tons of opinion articles and news reports against democracy and democratic movement published to save the autocratic king.

The Finance Minister of the Koirala government brought out the white paper on the financial misuses committed by the king’s authoritarian government in the state-run newspaper ‘Gorkhapatra’ in Nepali on May 16, 2006. The king’s government distributed millions of rupees to the media agencies and reporters for reporting and airing opinion articles and news against democracy and democratic movement for sustaining the autocratic regime of the king. However, even one month after the publication of the misuse of the taxpayers’ money, the Koirala government failed to take any actions against the officials who distributed and against the media agencies and the media people who received the money illegally.

On Thursday, June 15, 2006, before returning back to Kathmandu from Biratnagar, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said to his supporters, “Republic does not come simply because someone else or I alone shout for it. The SPA, the Maoists and the king are not the whole world but there are also others in the world and we should make decision accordingly.” [2] With this statement Mr. Koirala does not consider the power of the people who put him back into power. He sees the power with the king, with the SPA and the Maoists. Thus, Mr. Koirala has relapsed into regression.

At the same time, Mr. Koirala told his supporters, “Ceremonial king is just to make the king as Pashupatinath.” Comparing the most corrupt political institution with the most holy institution of Hindus such as Pashupatinath, has Mr. Koirala not insulted the millions if not billions of the Hindus spread all over the world? Could he convert the institution responsible for the death of thousands of Nepalis and for keeping all Nepalis in perpetual poverty for 237 years into the most holy institution such as Pashupatinath?

The day after Mr. Koirala made the declaration of keeping a ceremonial king, the army helicopter started flying in the sky of Kathmandu every morning irritating the residents. Why the army needs to fly the helicopters using the most expensive fuel at the cost of taxpayers’ money when the Koirala government borrowed billions of rupees from India at the time of his visit to India from June 6 to 9, 2006 just to keep the country going. For example, the joint communiqué issued at the end of the visit said that the Indian government agreed to provide one-time grant of one billion rupees to the Nepal’s budgetary provision and a soft loan of US$ 100 million for infrastructure development project. [3] The loan in dollars means Nepalis would need to bear the heavy burden of the loan as the inflation of Nepalis rupees would ever increase the value of dollars and in turn the loan amount.

Every day flying of the army helicopter might mean the Unified Command of army, armed police and the police under the army is preparing for the possible conflict that has immensely benefited the commanders at the cost of the lives of the ground soldiers who fought against their own brothers. Major portion of the taxpayers’ money deflected from the development budget to supporting the unified command went to the commanders’ pockets in the recent past. Therefore, the commanders are interested in keeping the conflict going on.

If the conflict continues in the future there is a great possibility of the ground soldiers and the Maoists’ militia joining hands and fighting against the common enemies such as the king and the supporters of the king such as Mr. Koirala and the SPA government. In the event of the victory of the Maoists, the repetition of the Pol-Pot style events become a reality in Nepal. Nepalis need to be prepared for that eventuality.

Therefore, if Mr. Koirala and his government attempt to put the clock back, soon Nepalis might be on the streets with the slogan ‘Girija Chor, desh chhod’ (thief Girija, leave the country).


Footnotes

[1] The Rising Nepal June 15, 2006

[2] The Rising Nepal June 16, 2006

[3] The Rising Nepal, June 10, 2006


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