Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
Act or resign

The Maoists have taken their campaign to a new level. Using unarmed women, men and children as human shields, they have succeeded in murdering over 100 soldiers, policemen and government employees. The river of blood shed in Accham was the largest and to the Maoists, may be one more successful step in their violent campaign. They have stopped being a political force and have taken to crime, but the government has also done little other than denounce their violence and call them terrorists, which indicates its ineffectiveness and weakness. The political parties are now set to "bargain" hard with government as parliament debates whether or not the emergency-imposed because the army wanted it-should be extended, even as Girija Prasad Koirala and his cronies are scheming to wrench power. Koirala's greed for power and his cronies' attempts to question the government's abilities are deplorable. That is not to say that Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's government has done praiseworthy work. Even though the government was able to mobilise all security agencies, it has been unable to control terrorism. It is evident that there is no coordination between the security agencies and because the political leadership is weak, it is likely that the country could be heading towards a civil war, and may even be the subject of international conspiracies. It is a different matter that Koirala and his cronies see this as an opportunity to grab power. Prime Minister Deuba faces new challenges and ignoring them in the belief that holding on to his position is the most important thing would be wrong.

Democracy is a political system that depends on the people's trust and support to function. And allowing the people to feel secure is the government's first responsibility. Do people feel this way after what happened in Accham? Although it is premature to reach conclusions without full information, it is clear that there has been a failure of intelligence (because it was unable to account for the large number of Maoists who had amassed there) and there also seems to have been lack of coordination between the different security agencies. The prime minister has to immediately give the people details of the incident and ensure that they can feel safe. This country has to know just how serious the government is about ensuring law and order. It is Nepal's bad luck that its political leadership still lacks the commitment to take decisions and implement them. The Maoists are like the Taleban, on the road to turning the country into another Afghanistan. Accham has strengthened their ambitions. If Deuba does not have the clarity of vision and the courage to face the crisis, his continuing as prime minister is unjustified. The prime minister needs to give the nation answers right now.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)