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Nepal National Unity Or Disintegration

Nepal National Unity Or Disintegration

By Bhupal Lamichhaney

United we stand divided we fall. Every one knows the saying. However, in Nepal unity among political actors is very rare. Even at this very dire hour in the history of Nepal, we find political leaders happily repeating their own old rhetoric. One will never deny too much politics being blind partisan has brought this situation. The prime minister has called all political actors for "national unity and reconciliation" but the reality seems going too far away from unity and reconciliation.

However, it seems in Kathmandu things are going well. Arm management has started. The Maoists have joined the interim legislature. The United Nations has given its backing to efforts to turn the page on a decade of insurgency. The UN Security Council agreed to send a team to back up the Himalayan nation's peace process, under which the Maoists have agreed to end their decade-long "people's war" and enter mainstream politics.

And now they are waiting for joining the government which will conduct Constitution Assembly election. The CA will then write a new constitution that will complete happy transformation of Nepal into a new democratic nation with respect of human rights, liberty, freedom and equality.

But the optima are marred as we see a call from UN human rights Chief Louise Arbour for the prosecution of people who committed grave human rights abuses during the insurgency. What can we make out of her suggestion? Does not this tell us that Nepal is heading toward establishing the culture of impunity? The culture of impunity will lead to the further escalation of mistrust and conflict resulting a substantial breach in unity of people. People exempted of punishment for their crimes cannot be considered equals. They are more than equals. Can democracy thrive in such condition?

Change of rulers periodically is a must in democracy. But mere change in the person does not symbolize democratic practice. The important part how people identify themselves with the nation and democratic practice will determine the sustainability of a nation. The interim constitution, which has totally disassociated the King with the politics of Nepal, was promulgated.

People like Prachanda the supreme of the Maoists party perhaps has thought that everything is now under control because they are the successors of the rulers. But they have forgotten how much damage their decade long campaign has inflicted upon national unity. They are the one who tried to divide Nepal into regional and ethnic lines. Now the southern part of the country is burning under influence of the splinters who were once the Maoists themselves.

In the meantime we must not forget the violent protests in Nepal's poorer southern plains began Saturday and lasted for three days after a 16-year-old boy was shot dead by a Maoists cadre during a scuffle between the Maoists and activists opposed to the interim constitution. The protests are driven by the Mahadhesi Janadhikar Forum, which objects to the new interim constitution.

The Prime Minister is in favor of dialogue and wants to solve the problems. He said, "All domestic problems should be resolved through dialogue. I appeal to these Mahadhesi groups to come to the negotiating table”. But his most important partner the Maoists does not seem ready to have dialogue with the splinters. Maoist supremo Prachanda has ruled out talks with the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) and the armed factions of Terai Janatantrik Mukti Morcha (JTMM).

“Negotiation is done with political forces, not with criminals and gangsters. The Janadhikar Forum and the likes are being given undue importance. They are people who ran away from our party. We know who they are and who are dictating them,” an agitated Prachanda said talking to reporters at the Prime Minister’s tea reception.

He claimed the violence in Siraha was perpetrated by royalist ‘infiltrators’ and that he had informed the government two months earlier about the possible attempts of royalists to create unrest in Terai region.

However, once the thin thread of national unity is split a lot of energy and courage need to put for bringing it back. Only accusing the king's supporters and the Hindu extremists of trying to scupper the peace deal by orchestrating a wave of unrest in the southeast of the country will not heal the wound. This kind of condemnation will further inflame the situation.

All most all international actors are willing to support Nepal for a peaceful transition. However, the domestic situation in the country looks gloomy and not positive. Changes are happening in such a fast pace, it seems very hard for maintaining the dynamics of the nation. A lot of political reforms hurriedly introduced are solely responsible for today’s disorder.

We read everyday the reports from different parts of the country. Non Nepalese are in queue to obtain citizenship of the tiny Nepal. Majority Hindus are not satisfied with the declaration of Secular State. Moreover, the whole Tarai including Supreme Court and the Prime Minister was dissatisfied with the draft Interim Constitution. However, it was promulgated and endorsed. One may wonder how could this happen. But we say in Nepal, anything miraculous can happen.

For Prime Minister G P Koirala, are Citizenship Bill, declaration of Nepal as a non Hindu State and the Interim Constitution becoming too heavy to shoulder?


Bhupal Lamichhaney: working independently on nonviolence activism for human rights and democratic values and can be reached at bhupall @ . More of his ideas and views can be read in blogs:

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