One of the most unforgettable things about my stay in Nepal has been the terrorised faces of Nepalis. I witnessed that terror myself when I visited Dhading district a few days ago. We could see how fear had gripped the local people because of a roadside bomb planted by Maoist rebels.
I have always worried about the obstacles Nepal's development has had to face and the state's increased investment in security due to the Maoist insurgency. The killings of political workers and critics by Maoist rebels are deplorable. I have serious reservations about the Maoists' sabotage, destroying development infrastructure and terrorising people.
If the rebels stop terrorism, the government can call them for peace talks. They must understand that dialogue is the best solution for them as well. It's not just me, but all foreigners in Nepal dislike the abuse of students as political tools and the repeated shutdowns and strikes. I have had personal experience of how harmful bandas can be. But those who have distracted students from their studies and have been organising bandas do not seem to understand the gravity of the situation.
Yet another sad issue is the lack of consensus among political parties. They have expressed a commitment for consensus, but don't seem to be able to achieve it. Efforts must be made to manage disagreement and different opinions logically. The political culture needs to be developed in such a way that parties with different opinions can stand under the same roof.
We, as a donor country, are also troubled by the lack of an elected body. For Finnish-aided projects, there must be elected representatives. This is why our development funds have not been completely utilised. In such a situation, we suggest that the general and local elections must be held at the earliest and that all political parties including the Maoists should come for peaceful political contest.
The deteriorating human rights situation in Nepal is yet another serious issue. The EU has already urged the government and the Maoists to endorse the human rights accord prepared by the Nation Human Rights Commission. If the human rights situation continues to deteriorate at the present rate, Nepal will not only have its image tarnished, but will also lose international cooperation and good will. In the context of geopolitical influence in Nepal, India definitely comes in the picture. After it recently handed over two Maoist leaders to Nepal, India has appeared to be serious toward the Maoist insurgency.