10-16 June 2016 #812

Nepal, cursed by sons-in-law?

Matrika Poudel in Naya Patrika, 5 June

Gopen Rai

We are witnessing an easy way of becoming famous overnight. Splash paint on the walls of Singha Darbar, get arrested by the police and make it to the headlines! There’s always a group standing by on Twitter and Facebook to create a hashtag, as evidenced by “I am with Aashish [sic]” on Twitter, which valourises Adhikari’s paint-splashing exploit. Possibly, a certain organised, vested interest group will empty many bottles of paint to vandalise Singha Darbar every day, to get some attention.

It is shameful for a civilised society to create a trend whereby anyone can commit unlawful activities in the bureaucratic centre of the Nepali state. Today they sprayed colour, tomorrow they will want to piss on the walls. My answer to anyone asking, “Where is the notice that says it’s illegal to paint and take photos of Singha Darbar?” — Should we then stick notices up saying that Singha Darbar is an Open Defecation Free zone?

Some power elites are destroying public and government property on a whim and calling it a fight for rights. After the constitution was passed, this powerful and divisive group has been conspiring to prevent political stability and this constitution from being implemented.

There are some well-known Nepali writers, journalists and politicians in this group who have invested in various protests, including the Khampa resistance. The intellectual market is run by this syndicate. This dangerous group uses the common labels of “elite” and “oligarchy” [sic] against anyone who dares to criticise it. To understand how strongly these power elites are trying to undermine the constitution and Nepal’s stability, one can look at how Al Jazeera and The Hindustan Times report on Nepal. I wish these elite journalists who lecture us about the media’s code of conduct and the ABCs of journalism would also undertake some self-reflection.

Our sons-in-law are the ones who play the biggest role in protesting against Nepal’s constitution and make up the largest power that are invested in the power elite. How could I possibly say that perhaps there are no suitable husbands for the daughters of our affluent families here in Nepal? Now the sons-in-law imported by these daughters are the vehicles pushing the agenda to paint Singha Darbar red and sow the seeds of divisiveness in Nepal.

Analysts and intellectuals in Madhes are worried that foreign daughters-in-law do not get equal rights to citizenship in the constitution. But, the concern here is not about daughters-in-law. It is about the sons-in-law, who are rising up against Nepal, using the daughters-in-law as a pretext. Whether it is the example of Al Jazeera, or Bhekh Bahadur Thapa’s son-in-law, their audacity can be seen openly in the media outlets.

Some sons-in-law are suspiciously active. After security forces reported activities that vary from proselytising to burning the constitution, the government alerted the Immigration Department to crack down on this group. If the government fails to investigate their reasons for staying in Nepal and punish them, Nepal will always be victimised by the sons-in-law.

How many sons-in-law in disguise are here, and what kinds of activities are they involved in? The government should make these details public in a white paper.

Just because they write a book on Nepal or Kathmandu does not mean that they love Nepal.

The Nepali state cannot be the laboratory for experimentation for any interest group or international gang. Only citizens of Nepal have the right to discuss whether Nepal’s constitution is good.

If our constitution is not suitable for us, we will amend it. Or, we will start a revolution and write another constitution. That is our right. But, we cannot let any of our daughters’ husbands act as agents of power and destabilise the country by investing in communalisation of political agendas by cashing in on the flaws of the constitution and the dissatisfaction with it. We cannot tolerate what is being done by capitalising on weak laws and a divisive heart.

Poudel is communications advisor at the Ministry of Information and Communications.