Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Caught between two armies

The country is caught between two armies. But the king's worries must be growing with the national and international media constantly highlighting Prachanda's statement while being severely critical of the monarchy. It's not really a surprise that the Maoists are gaining political opportunity with the king being isolated from the international community. But the real danger is the demoralisation of the RNA especially after the rebel attacks after the end of the four-month unilateral ceasefire in January. They seem to lack the ability to counterattack. Lack of political vision, the king's continued attacks on the political alliance and Maoist offensives have been directly affecting the army's junior cadres, who seem to wonder why they should die and for whom?

The king's leadership has failed to rally the RNA. Still, Information Minister Sri Shamsher Rana is under the illusion that he can preserve his power by threatening journalists by using anti-terrorist laws. The Maoists have been cleverly talking about peace and democracy. They have even shown willingness to give up arms with mediation by India and the international community. But it remains to be seen how far they are committed or willing to prove themselves. The irony was that the Maoist militants were escalating military activities at a time when Prachanda was talking about peace, thus taking advantage of low morale in the RNA.

It will benefit the Maoists if the king fails in his moral responsibility to honour the decision given by the Supreme Court about the RCCC. The problem is that a certain gang inside the palace is propagating the view that king was behind the SC's decision. This rumour has been spread to dishonour the independence of judiciary and the courage of the SC to stand up for justice

But for the parties, their suspicion about the rebels is still the same. Neither the rebels nor the king have recognised their existence. Although Prachanda in his interview admitted crimes committed by the Maoists that is really not enough. He has still failed to explain the mass killings in Madi, which he has interpreted as an internal matter by claiming that he has suspended the culprits from the party.

He has tried to keep mum about his row with Baburam Bhattarai by brushing the issue under the carpet. If he really believes that the Maoist party will be joining the mainstream politics, then he has to give the public reason to trust him.

Let's hope the Maoists will now be more open to criticism about their wrongdoings and policies. But the bottomline is that the Maoists will never be able to take political advantage if they do not proceed in a democratic manner.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)