From The Nepali Press
Former national assembly member and Brigadier General Dipta Prakash Shah in Deshantar, 1 January
FROM ISSUE #280 (06 JAN 2006 - 12 JAN 2006) | TABLE OF CONTENTS
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One needs to realise that a country cannot be ruled simply by having the army at one's side, as was the case two centuries ago. The military strength of the Royal Nepali Army is quite limited as is the assistance it receives from foreign governments. But the Maoist's real strength remains unknown. From where do the rebels get their arms? How do they get them? Is any country involved in supplying them? The government needs to know all this. The rebels have established 12 divisions, which could mean that they are stronger than the army but it is for the government to prove if they have become weaker. Just saying that the Maoists have become weak will not serve any purpose-the government will only create an illusion while the rebels can carry on with their devastating missions. Ultimately such a strategy will only invite disaster. The Maoists are said to have embarked on a military tactic with a historical precedent. More than two centuries ago, King Prithbi Narayan Shah first occupied nearby cities before successfully launching an attack on The Maoists are up to the same thing now. But they must understand that one can't win state power today through military force alone. Today, any political force needs to have the people on its side. The rebels have said that they are trying to move towards peace. If they are sincere, they may end up winning state power on the basis of the partnership they have forged with the political parties. The rebels have also assured the chief of the UN's human rights office in Nepal, Ian Martin, that they will not commit violence while disrupting the upcoming municipal polls. Amidst all these developments, if the king still wishes to resolve the crisis he should bring together all the powers, including the Maoists, and hold a referendum. He should let the people decide if they want monarchy or not and if they do, what form it should take.