25-31 January 2013 #640

“Put ourselves in Dailekhis’ shoes”, BBC Nepali Service

Interview with NC leader Ram Sharan Mahat, 23 January

Rabindra Mishra: Was it right to prevent the PM from entring Dailekh?

Ram Sharan Mahat:
Under normal circumstances, no. But this is a special case because the residents of Dailekh had great expectations from the state, the government only added insult to their injury.

But surely parties like the NC and UML, who claim to be the vanguards of democracy, could have discouraged their cadre from knocking down trees and blocking the roads?

In the past two weeks, the Maoists tried to demonstrate their power by bringing in hordes of cadre from other districts. Dailekhis were only trying to counter the Maoists and challenge the PM for intervening in a criminal case.

What do you have to say about your cadre’s violent ways?

This happens everywhere on the local level when outsiders try to mess with their existence, such anger is understandable. The cadre were not following our directions, it was a totally spontaneous outburst.

But surely your silence means approval?

How can you say that we have remained silent when we have only opposed the government’s sudden power show in Dailekh at a time when all the locals are demanding justice? You must have heard that women came out on the streets to protest against the Maoists’ atrocities. Should we oppose that as well?

Does that mean your party believes in an eye for an eye?

It is easy for us to stay in Kathmandu and talk about human rights and international standards, but only the locals of Dailekh know what it must be like to live under constant threat even in a democracy. We must put ourselves in their shoes before coming to conclusions.

Besides the PM said a few days ago that he was a Marxist revolutionary, that he was no Gandhi, and that he believed in an eye for an eye. Maybe Dailekhis learnt from the head of their government.

How democratic is it for your cadre to try and take control of the district?

Who did this, I don’t know. I was in Dailekh a few days ago, and everyone was protesting peacefully. The protests must be understood as a spontaneous response to an inhuman atrocity faced by one of their own.

Clickhereto listen to the interview in its original Nepali: