By Hasan Tarique Chowdhury
22 September, 2007
After a decade long bloodbath Nepali people had started hoping, a genuine hope for peace and for meaningful democracy. It was not only good news for Nepalese but also for the peace loving people of neighbouring country. (Map of Nepal)
As we all know that Nepali King Gyanendra was forced to surrender his powers in April 2006 after the Maoists and other Communist and democratic forces joined forces with a coalition of seven political parties in a sustained campaign of street protests against his direct rule. Afterwards an interim government was formed accommodating the Maoist in the cabinet, fixed a roadmap to general election and constitutional reform to abolish monarchy had been adopted unanimously. Suddenly, on 18th September the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) quitted the interim government demanding the immediate abolition of the monarchy ahead of constituent assembly elections due to be held in November. (photo: Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) www.globalsecurity.org/.../
International Herald Tribune reported on 20th September that Nepal's former communist rebels refused to rejoin the coalition government despite efforts by the ruling parties, which is going to deepening the Himalayan nation's political crisis.
Prime Minister Girjia Prasad Koirala called an emergency meeting of leaders of the ruling alliance and the former rebels, who just walked out of the government on 18th September after it failed to meet several of their demands, in an attempt to overcome the crisis.
Despite the demand from the Nepalese Prime Minister that his initiative to overcome the crisis was sincere enough, but still there is a doubt. As Mr. Koirala had taken a firm line in refusing to bow to the Maoists' demand that King Gyanendra be stripped of his title and the monarchy abolished. That’s why one of the Maoists in the interim cabinet, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, blamed Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala for the breakdown in talks. Also Iswor Pokhrel, of the United Marxist Leninist Communist Party of Nepal, another major partner in the coalition said the prime minister asked Prachanda, the head of the CPN (Maoist), to reverse the decision to withdraw from the government. Prachanda said he would discuss the matter with his party colleagues and reply later. However, according to reports of many Nepalese news media, primarily the negotiation process has not yet been succeeded.
Previous political history of Nepal clearly indicates that this failure of the political process will again invite conflicting consequences in Nepal. Although the former Maoist minister Mr Mahara ruled out any return to armed conflict and said that they will focus on peaceful protests to meet their demands. Nevertheless, the Maoists warned they would begin street protests, organize a general strike and boycott an upcoming election for a Constituent Assembly that will decide the country's future political system and rewrite its Constitution. Therefore, it is quite normal that the ordinary people of Nepal are seriously worried after the Maoist withdrawal from the cabinet as because the previous nightmare is still alive in their mind. Leading Nepalese newspaper Katmandu Post signaled on 20th September that there is a high probability of Army deployment countrywide if the Maoist does not change their mind.
Therefore, the present political scenario clearly indicates further havoc in this impoverished country. That will definitely devastate the national economy, foreign trade, especially tourism industry of Nepal. Moreover, it will also negatively influence the business with its neighboring countries. If the peace initiative fails, innocent people of Nepal will pay the ultimate cost for democracy. Because gun is always not the answer. Necessarily, this will not strengthen the support base for the CPN (Maoist). The current action taken by CPN (Maoist) has been criticized by some Nepalese analyst as ‘anxiety disorder’. According to them ‘they have lost the self-confidence to face the general public, mainly due to their past activities’.
For this reason it is the high time for the Nepali Maoists to win over the peoples mind and prove themselves as true peace lover and to achieve their ultimate goal in a democratic manner.Because the there are conspiracies from imperialist forces to portray the leftists of Nepal as undemocratic.
(Hasan Tarique Chowdhury: Secretary, Bangladesh Peace Council. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org]