Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Democracy threatened

Within 48 hours of killing 14 policemen in Dolpo, the Maoists struck again and killed eight policemen in Lamjung. This proves how redundant the government has become. The present prime minister, while getting rid of his predecessor, had declared that he was going to concentrate on law and order. He has since time and again said there is no reason for him to remain in power if he cannot resolve the Maoist problem.

This festive season the people are frightened and scared instead of being joyous and happy. No one knows for sure who is going to be the next target of the Maoists. Not only in the outlying districts, even people in the Valley are scared. Those responsible for ensuring peace are busy looking for scapegoats.

Any problem in Nepal is always blamed on the army or the palace. The home minister has tried to place the blame for the present crisis on the army. Some are even trying to blame the palace for this. But the royalty can only survive if Nepal remains a nation and we are sure, that the Cambodian example is still fresh in the minds of the palace. Therefore the palace would not dig its own grave.

The role of the army in any democratic nation is limited. The army steps in only if civil governance fails or if a natural calamity occurs. It has a role if there are separatist movements, but regardless of how one views it, the Maoist problem cannot be called that.

The Maoist problem is a political problem. Therefore a political solution has to be sought. If the army steps in, you will end up with a reign of terror and that would be no solution. Plus it would also scare away donors and again that is not the type of solution we want.

The prime minister had made noises about activating the National Security Council but that too has been sidelined although the opposition is fully prepared to help him. He is in a fix because of his own doing. His cabinet is full of corrupt and inefficient people. He and his men don't understand the gravity of the situation.

The Maoist insurgency has spread to over 28 districts and there is no guarantee that it will not expand further. In how many places can the army be? Secondly, there is no guarantee that the army will succeed. What will we do then? If the army fails, what next?

Democracy in Nepal is under threat, not because of the Maoists, but because of the people in power. We need efficient, clean and hard-working leaders. We need those that can rise above petty politics, someone who is humble, soft-spoken and understands the people. There are alternatives to Koirala within the Nepali Congress.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)