The news that weapons were being imported despite peace talks between the government and the Maoists being underway raised concerns throughout the nation on Wednesday. The Maoists were on high alert from Tuesday evening, claiming that the government was importing large quantities of weapons via the eastern border.
Over three dozen vehicles carrying tents, clothing, vehicle spare parts, and helicopters for the Nepal Army were brought to Gajuri, Dhading, on the way to Kathmandu, with strict orders to remove every obstacle along the Mugling-Naryanghat and Mugling-Thankot stretches. Neither the government nor the Nepal Army issued a statement before these supplies were moved, causing suspicion and mistrust amongst both the people and the Maoists. The Ceasefire Monitoring Committee has gone to Gajuri and said that the trucks did not contain any weapons, and the Indian Embassy in Kathmandu also claims the trucks were empty. Hopefully the confusion will clear up now.
If there was any need to import goods for the Nepal Army, the government should have discussed it with the ruling parties and the Maoists. However, no official of the government or Nepal Army thought that was necessary. Perhaps in the past there was no need to do so, but these are different times. At a time when the Maoists are preparing to enter mainstream politics and all the political parties and the people are focusing on a constituent assembly, any activity that might rouse suspicion is not acceptable.
It was the people of Kathmandu and its surrounding areas that had to bear the brunt of things when the Maoists suddenly declared a strike on Wednesday to protest the alleged import of weapons. Although the strike was cancelled later that day, it took time for things to settle down. The Maoists also need to think about the effect such decisions will have on the country and the people. Decisions made in haste may be regretted, or be detrimental to the party itself.