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  Don't give in to blackmail  
 

DAMAKANT JAYSHI

The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) has launched an illegitimate and unnecessary protest which they have dubbed “third jana andolan”. Illegitimate and unnecessary because the stated goals – constitution and peace – are mere cover up for naked ambition of one man and the party he heads. Moreover, this is being sustained by extortion, threats and lies.

If the constitution-writing were the aim as is being propagated, the Maoist party should have expedited the work in the Constituent Assembly (where the Maoists wield considerable clout), not stall it. You put in more hours, and not* cook up excuses to boycott it. But reading some of the commentary of opinion writers and remarks and statements of the Maoist leaders, one tends to confuse the roles of the cabinet and the assembly. The Maoist focus is on the cabinet, and not on the CA.

As for peace, sincere implementation of past agreements – the 12-point pact of Nov 2005, the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) of Nov 2006 and the Interim Constitution – will produce desired results. Hence, we do not need any further commitments. We have had tons of it.

Some quarters have already suggested swapping between the end of Maoist-launched protest with the resignation of Madhav Kumar Nepal government. This is being too clever by half. Nepal had already announced that he is going to resign, before the make-Pushpa Kamal Dahal-PM campaign was set in motion. The Maoist protest has to end immediately. The quid pro quo is also not between MKN and someone else from the Maoist party as prime minister. This will not resolve the current problems, only push them under the carpet for a while.

The country’s chief concerns are dignified solution to the future of Maoist combatants (which should have been completed within six months of the signing of the CPA in Nov 2006), a democratic (not “people’s”) constitution, lasting peace, and really free and fair election after the promulgation of the constitution. That we are still talking of issues that have been agreed upon in the 12-point agreement, the CPA and the Interim Constitution is in itself a revelation. We are stuck in the very basics. And unless we successfully resolve these, the problems will resurface. The government should pave the way for Maoist-led government only after a clear and credible roadmap is worked out with the Maoists. This time round, empty promises won’t do. We have had enough of those already.

This is where Prime Minister Nepal can play a valuable role.

He has been accused of various sins and faults and is being blamed for the current risky situation for which the UCPN (Maoist) is mostly responsible. The MKN government has proved to be as ineffectual as the one led by Maoist chairman Dahal before him. The current crises owe a lot to Dahal’s arrogance, brinkmanship and incompetence as head of the government. Nepal, as prime minister, had a golden opportunity to prove a viable alternative, a task in which he failed miserably.
But he can wash away most of the sins if he does what is required. His “loser” (this is not my tag but by some self-styled “neutral” commentators who are now resorting to all sorts of bogus and atrocious claims) has an ace value and must use it effectively to bring the Maoist to their senses. This will be his most singular contribution to this county and its citizens.

What can he do? Just don’t give in to blackmail and bullying.

The heat from the Maoist will only increase if the MKN government does not bow down to the party’s wishes. If the government sits pretty and does nothing, the Maoist will have a hard time. Sitting pretty on the part of the government and provoking gunfire from the security forces by the Maoists might be a tempting prospect, respectively, for either side but highly irresponsible as people are already suffering.

Pregnant women are unable to reach hospitals (refer to news in Republica and Nagarik). According to Kantipur daily, Baje BK from Doti district who came from Mumbai could not get his ailing father in his village to hospital due to Maoist-enforced banda. He is still stuck at the bus station in Dhangadhi, unable to go to his village to perform the last rites of his father. Another, Tikaram Kumal from Achham, who also came from Mumbai after learning of his mother’s death, is stuck at Dhangadhi. He too is unable to perform the last rites of his mother, also due to the banda.

If the strike continues, it is the Maoists who are going to pay dearly. The people they brought into the capital and other cities are already returning home or falling sick and yet there is no desired spark. There is no popular uprising against the stated enemy. On the contrary, people are fuming and it is going to burst somewhere soon. And that will be people’s andolan.

The reports of defiance of indefinite banda (general strike) are pouring in from across the country. True, these are now sporadic incidents but are very likely to increase. After all, spontaneous protest by people is more powerful and infectious than that by ferried folks. The Maoists might have been able to demonstrate an impressive number of protestors but they still lack the crucial backing of ordinary people, especially those who do not belong to any party but have played a decisive role to make the past movements successful.

Thus the desperation from the Maoist leadership is all too apparent. Hence, their threat to make their protests “more stringent”. There is another cause for desperation: the May 28 deadline for drafting the new constitution is getting closer. They need to form a government by then and subsequently go for the extension of the CA.

So what is the game changer? Either violence, or agreement between the top three parties. Violence or clashes are easy to foment. You just need to fire from within your ranks, or attack a motorist, thereby provoking a response from the policemen or simply prevent a minister’s, army/police officer’s vehicle from plying. If it is violence, things will only go beyond control and the course thereafter won’t be scripted by the Maoists.

Agreement, therefore, will serve everyone. The Maoists will have to agree to a clear, time-bound integration of 3000-5000 Maoist combatants into security forces (including the national army) as agreed during the 12-point agreement in New Delhi in 2005, and to a democratic and inclusive constitution by Nov 28 this year in which plurality, independent judiciary and constitutional supremacy are guaranteed. The Maoists will also have to renounce violence as means to further their political agenda. Then Dahal can have the lollipop he is so desperately seeking.

The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have remained mute spectators for long. Do the non-Maoist parties realize why the Maoists are acting (to) so brazenly? No one has challenged them effectively even when they came up with/make illegitimate demand. Also, giving in to street protest and surrender a government that commands a majority in an elected parliament will set a bad precedent. This is an enormous risk that this country cannot afford. For once, show some spine and stand up to this bullying.

* (Added)

damakant@myrepublica.com

 
Published on 2010-05-06 07:50:16
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LATEST COMMENTS
How can one say people´s peaceful andolan an illigitimate activities. jaysi- ji is not a neutral one in my opinion. He is alwayes bias and seems to be writing for few dhanimani shamgrant families. I have always read him speaking against UNCP. Is he from a person who have a lot of property? The poor people want lasting peace that is possible only if we have a poor peopel centered constitution. Why can´t we use the people´s democratic constitution? [more]
  - Jaysing bohara
Jaysiji, why u are so against the Nepali and Nepal´s sovereignty? Did not u find millions of Nepalese people in the street throughout the country? If u do not understand people´s aspiration, u are not a nepali but a bhada ka tattu. Plz be nepali and Nepali people´s writer. Write for People´s supermacy and national sovereingty. Only these things will help us to bring about lasting peace in Nepal. Congress is remained good party after 2036, UML after 2046 and both of them a [more]
  - Shanti
where is human rights in these hard times? not even one word of opposition? They are not paid to protest teh maoists, bloody dogs. [more]
  - Ritesh
Well said DJ



More than commenting on DJ my attention was drawn by comment posted by - Lokraj KC and I want to put some of the theories I have learned so far.



"Jaisi seems to be a writer hired to vomit venom agaist maoist"



These are the type of comment or words we have been hearing from so called peoples´ leaders. If they find someone who do not buy their line of terms are either some reactionary or anti nation [more]
  - Rajen Kumar
It is really shocking a staff writer of an ´independent´ national daily fails so miserably to read the ground reality. DK´s views represent the well-to-do neo-elites and this pathetic alliance of the corrupt, defeated, opportunist and visionless puppets in the government. What paper are you running anyway by shamelessly writing writing against the masses. [more]
  - BIBEK CHHETTRI
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