Innocent Nepalis in the rural areas of the country do not want to become victims again-killed by either "revolutionary" Maoist or "reactionary" state bullets. Once they are dead, the rebels will call them informers and the army, terrorists. However you look at it, those caught in the crossfire will be judged guilty without proof. Their deaths will be justified. The Maoists have made a big mistake by returning to war. They may have their reasons: the state turned down their demand for a democratic and simple constituent assembly, 19 of their cadres were killed on the same day the last round of peace talks were held and the political parties did not take them seriously and so on.
But none of this is reason enough to spurn peace. They should have asked for the people's support and discussed matters with the agitating political parties who are revolting against regression. We could have all participated in a nationwide peaceful movement that would underline our sincerity towards democracy and peace.
But like always, the Maoists just made it easier for the state to take up arms when they forsook the path of public participation and true people's power. The war has begun, opening the path even for urban warfare. With the help of international military aid, the Royal Nepali Army is much stronger and its size has doubled. Evidently, this new war will take things to extremes. The results are unimaginable. Fear is causing many to leave their homes. In a country where army officers get assassinated in broad daylight, how can ordinary citizens expect to feel safe?
Both the state and the Maoists should realise that armed violence will not make any revolution successful, nor will it protect democracy. A Peruvian report on the Shining Path movement that took 70,000 lives, said that it failed to restore people's power. It also said that despite Fujimiro's Army and US support, the rebels were not controlled. Maybe now the two people behind Peru's atrocities, Alberto Fujimori (now in self imposed exile in Japan) and Dr Abimael Guzm?n (leader of the People's War in Peru who is in prison) realise their mistakes. When will Nepal's Fujimoris and Doctors learn from history?
History has also placed the political parties of Nepal in a difficult position. They struggled for over half a century to restore democracy and their leaders are dedicated helmsmen. The king's ambitions lie fallow: he has been unsuccessful in using the peace talks as guise to overturn democracy. Now he faces two realities-abandon 'constructive kingship' and rectify his mistakes by listening to the parties, or invite his own destruction by following 'Mahendra Path'. Right now we wonder what is he thinking of next in London.