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From The Nepali Press
Property rights



If the country is to move forward, the right of citizens to private property needs to be guaranteed. There can be no foreign investment without this. But the recent capture of private forests in Chitwan's Kumrose and Siraha prove that the Maoists have systematically and methodically been confiscating timber from private land and selling it off. This is a threat to the right to private property and, as in Chitwan, it is also a grave threat to the environment. Local communities had worked with Pumori Agro-forestry to plant and nurture the forest in order to prevent devastating floods that have caused havoc there in the past. There is outrage about these incidents, and maybe the Maoist leadership will say sorry. But that is not going to help local communities.

Such behaviour does not befit a party that is now represented in the interim parliament and will soon be joining the government. The least the Maoists should do is declare their policy on private property. Are private individuals allowed to own and grow forests? If not, they should first pass a law through parliament.

Instead, the Maoists continue down their well-trodden path of terrorising people and destroying property. The Maoists' behaviour is just proving the Americans right, and the prime minister, who claims to have brought terrorists to the way of peace and democracy, wrong. They continue their culture of threats, intimidation, and violence and they haven't returned property confiscated during the conflict.

The looting of private property and threatening industries with labour militancy may be less common now, but it hasn't stopped. We haven't yet seen a commitment to negotiation, compromise, and rule of law. Instead we see the Maoists taking the law into their own hands. The kind of scorched earth policy, if not controlled in time, will reduce the country to ashes.

The Americans haven't removed the Maoists from the terrorist list. They have said they won't do that until the Maoists formally renounce violence. Even countries that were soft on the Maoists are now fed up. If they enter government without a commitment to peaceful politics and an end to intimidation and violence, we will be inviting an even bigger catastrophe. If those who are plundering the people are let into government they will never have the public's confidence.



LATEST ISSUE
638
(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)


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