Nepali Times

I am surprised that ICJ Secretary General Nicholas Howen told Samaya weekly ('Mission statement', #244) 'If the Maoists don't cooperate, it will cast doubt on their credibility.' This statement only means that the Maoists have 'credibility' of a sort which needs to be protected. So far, I thought Maoists were cold-blooded first degree criminals who need to be brought to justice. Howen should not hesitate to explain what credibility he has seen in the Maoists. Why are political authorities in this country ignoring such remarks from foreign governments and organisations? They cannot and should not act on behalf of the people of Nepal.

Salini Johnson,

. It is heartening to see the role of the RNA soldier finally being put in the proper perspective ('Amrit Medhasi', #244). The public's lack of understanding and support to the state forces in this war so far is pitiable and the media has a huge role to play in disabusing notions that the RNA and the Maoists are equal abusers of human rights in our country. It needs to be emphasised for example that, like Amrit Medhasi, all the soldiers of the RNA have joined it of their own free will. The RNA does not abduct, brainwash and coerce anyone to join its ranks like the Maoists do. Other countries have resorted to drafting soldiers in case of emergency but despite being severely undermanned, the RNA has not resorted to such measures. The soldiers of the RNA are men and women who consciously decided to sign up for their jobs. Another issue that the human rights groups and the media don't talk much about is the rate of improvement of the two forces in complying with universal human rights standards. If such a comparative study is done, is there any doubt who the black sheep would be? Since 2001, the RNA has expended resources in training its soldiers on human rights matters and punished wrongdoers. Have the Maoists done the same? Why don't we hear these stories? Though human rights organisations and the media have to be thanked for their work so far, simply pointing out the atrocities committed by the two sides is only half-the-picture, a half-truth. The whole truth is that the state forces and the Maoists are not equal perpetrators of the climate of fear and terror in our country. Such distinctions have to be made and made publicly.

Abhishek Basnyat,
via email

. Does the American administration know that Egypt has been under a state of emergency for the last 20 years? The Indians know very well how democratic Bhutanis are but that didn't stop the Indian prime minister from making King Jigme the chief guest at the Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi this year. It didn't matter to the Indians that one million Bhutani refugees have been languishing in camps in eastern Nepal for the past 13 years. And India's love for democracy didn't stop it from tangoing with the general to its west either. Those in power, it seems, can get away with hypocrisy and double standards. That is why I couldn't agree more with Bihari Krishna Shrestha's Guest Column, 'Charting our own path' (#245).

Hemant Arjyal,

. No sooner had the emergency been lifted, the seven student unions affiliated to political parties were first off the mark to compete with the Maoists to wreak anarchy on the country's education system. If this is what their political bosses in the erstwile parliamentary parties have in mind as a way out of the present crisis, then I for one would rather have the emergency continue and make the party leadership sit in the cooler for some more time. This is not just an elite view, most Nepali people feel the same way. Let's not mix up democracy with demagoguery.

Gyan Subba,

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)