Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
"How dare we let it happen"

We won democracy in 1950. Fifty-five years later, we are still demanding democracy. Then we were stressing a national consensus and today we are doing the same. In 1950, we had a constitutional assembly but it could not accomplish its task.

erhaps that is why Nepalis have had to keep fighting for freedom again and again. One wonders when this saga of ushering in and hijacking of democracy will end. Who is the hijacker? Why is it hijacked? Until and unless we find the answer, Nepalis will have to continue fighting for democracy. Why is the country once again under the direct rule of the king? The constitution of 1991 had ended any provision for the king's direct rule. It had only provisioned a space in which the king had to remain a constitutional monarch. It was the same constitution that had guaranteed the supremacy of the people's sovereignty and press freedom. Under the provision of press freedom, there are guarantees for the right to information, no closure of any publication house and no imposition of censorship.

But now we see there is censorship. A state of emergency can't be imposed without the ratification of the parliament and in absence of the recommendation of democratic forces. There is no way the king can be chairman of the ministers' council. Only the representatives of the people can remain in government. These are the fundamental aspects of the constitution.

Who are these people to threaten journalists, arrest and even torture them? Why are they doing it? These are issues we must raise. I agree with Sher Bahadur Deuba on one thing-wherever we go, we need to understand that the constitution of 1991 should be the basis to march forward. If we are playing a game, we need to agree on the rules before appointing an umpire. If the king wishes to play his role, he should say that he is not within the constitution. Or, the king must explain which constitution he is following.

Did the king consult with any political force before making such a move on 1 February? He made it on his own and yet in the international forum, he said it was the right move. How then can the international community call it a 'correct' move? Vague references to democracy and freedom do not make any sense. Opportunism for state power has always been the greatest enemy of Nepal's democracy.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)