Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Against all odds

I feel the Royal Nepali Army has been able to do its duty. In the year after the army was deployed, the Maoists have been unable to win any of their attacks. They did try to attack in Bhojpur and Beni, but suffered heavy losses. The army has already killed 8,000 of them, including hardcore Maoists and militia. The rebels can't go for frontal attacks and their morale is on the wane. In the beginning, their plan was to occupy the district headquarters and surround the capital. But since their power has diminished, they have engaged in terrorism instead. It is very difficult to stop such terrorism as we have seen in Nagaland and Kashmir for many years. Even in the United States, you had 9/11. From a military point of view, just launching attacks does not mean the battle is won. The Maoists may have been able to stage raids, but they have been losing and the army has been winning. Still, we can't deny the fact that there is no peace in the villages. The army has not been able to show its presence in the villages, and the reason for this is that it is spread too thin.

In a country, you have army, police, paramilitary force, village security force and territorial army. All these forces provide security. In our case, security expense is actually quite low. For example, in India they have a border security force, and yet they have established a Special Security Border (SSB) force of 70,000. In Bihar, they have the army, SSB force, border security force, internal police and home guard. Despite all these provisions, they are having a tough time maintaining law and order. Now compare those figures to what we have. Till two years ago, we had only 52,000 soldiers. After the Sher Bahadur Deuba government declared the state of emergency, additional soldiers were recruited and the number has reached 78,000.

The target was to have an armed police force of 15,000. So far, we have been able to reach about 6,000. There may be around 50,000 thousand in the police force, but many have not been properly trained. That is why they were unsuccessful in beating back the Maoists. In India, they even have an industrial security force. They have a separate force to protect railway stations. But in our case, the terrorists can easily cause explosions in factories. There is no provision for the security of such property, and the Maoists are cashing in on the situation.

During the Surya Bahadur Thapa government, there were some positive developments for security. The government prepared a policy for village security force programs. However, the political quarters and human rights activists opposed this. They argued that the concept of a village security force would give rise to militarisation in the country. But that was a fallacy. The idea was to mobilise youths under the leadership of ex-servicemen. What could be a better alternative for a country with an inadequate number of soldiers?

The open border has been a big problem in controlling the movement of arms in the Maoist camp. We have information that the Maoists have been taking advantage of the open border to accumulate arms and manufacture bombs. For fear of getting arrested, Maoist leaders and activists sneak into India. But the good news is that India does not see the Maoists in a positive way. They have realised that Nepali Maoists can pose a threat to their security as well. If India's SSB force keeps a strict eye on them, the Maoists can be controlled very quickly.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)