Nepali Times
"Who brought the nation to its present condition?"

The country's situation, which had been deteriorating for the past few years, has now reached a critical phase. All Nepalis as well as the international community are aware and worried about this. Terrorists, extremists, ethnic separatists and criminals feel encouraged. Events that push our society towards confusion and anarchy have becomenearly commonplace. These trends have raised many questions, which should not only be addressed to us but to all Nepalis.

We have heard even responsible people saying that the Royal Nepalese Army is centred only in the district headquarters and has been on the defensive. In a situation where, after the declaration of emergency, the army has been deployed nationwide, such blinkered views are totally untrue.

It may not be possible for the Royal Nepalese Army to remain permanently in all areas it has reached, but the clashes that have taken place in different parts of the country prove that the allegations are baseless. What needs to be kept in mind here is this: who brought the nation to its present condition? Is this the creation of bad-governance, or is it something that the army has brought about?

Was the state of emergency declared because the army wanted it, or was it needed because of this grave threat to national security? Before debating this issue, we need to understand why the state of emergency was needed in the first place. In a country where there is a democracy, elected people's representatives and an elected majority government, can the state of emergency be declared just because the army wants it?

Do we accept direct terrorist attacks on the constitution, constitutional government and government installations as a national crisis or not? If no Nepali can accept the killing of one Nepali by another, do you think the army has stepped out to kill our own brothers and sisters on its own accord? Is it right to blame the Royal Nepalese Army, the protector of national security, for a situation which is the result of 12 years of political factors? Why was the advice given by the army on matters of national security not taken seriously and ignored? If we look for answers to all these questions, then the reality will automatically surface.

The Royal Nepalese Army has been carrying out the orders of His Majesty's Government, and implementing its assigned tasks. But are the elected people's representatives also taking up their responsibilities in their constituencies? Why are they not helping the security forces in its campaign against terrorists in their constituencies?

At a time when all citizens need to unite to defeat the Maoists, we see confusion, political drift and power struggles for the leadership of parties. Why are these selfish games of factional dominance being played out with disregard for the work of the Royal Nepalese Army in support of the nation and national security? Have all sectors provided the expected support to the Royal Nepalese Army's efforts?

The present crisis could be a serious threat to national security and prestige, and I want to make the rank and file aware of the questions being raised all over about what the Royal Nepalese Army should be doing.

I would like to inform you that at this point, it is only the Right Honorable Prime Minister and some youthful ministers who have understood the seriousness of the threat to national security, and provided support to all security agencies.

It is an indisputable fact that the Royal Nepalese Army which has taken responsibility for the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Nepal, has remained within the constitution and devoted itself to service of nation, monarchy and people. But when the army abides by the constitution, it also works to protect it. What this means is that the Royal Nepalese Army will never engage in double talk. This fact should be understood by all.

There may be other reasons that the country has arrived at this critical juncture, but in the present context it is clear that the main factor is Maoist terrorism. In accordance with the constitution, the Royal Nepalese Army has been deployed to achieve the national goal of eliminating terrorism. Crushing terrorism can be a long and difficult war. In this type of battle sometimes you may achieve your goal, but there will also be setbacks. We must not be distracted, we have to draw our lessons from them. We are equally sensitive that innocent people should not suffer any losses in the course of war, and we have given clear orders about this to all concerned. Still, there may have been some lapses on our side. We have learnt and have continuously improved out work style.

I now want to use this opportunity to address the respected journalistic fraternity. The nation is going through a very difficult situation, the economy is in a critical state. Because of the security situation there have been fewer tourists, and businesses relying on tourism are collapsing. Nepalis and foreigners working on development and infrastructure are stopping construction work.

Don't we have to ensure stability of the nation, ensure a sense of security to all citizens, and return the image of beautiful, peaceful Nepal? Despite difficulties arising from non-cooperation, in a situation where soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army are putting their lives on the line in the service of the nation, it is natural to expect you to bring out the facts and help raise the morale of the army.

A small, but confusing and false news item in the papers or a comment, can have a negative impact on the trust and confidence that we have earned from the Nepali people after a long and hard struggle. Human beings are sensitive, and it is natural for there to be differences between the beliefs and ideologies, but in this time of crisis it is necessary to keep our differences on hold.

At a time when global public opinion is standing up against terrorism, all of us Nepalis have to stand united in helping the Royal Nepalese Army complete its responsibilities. I extend that appeal to all respected journalists.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)