Thanks to Karin Eichelkraut for drawing parallels between her motherland and Nepal ('Colombia and Nepal', #184). It is becoming more and more clear with every passing day that Nepali society is becoming more and more militarised. The people, who were traumatised and disgusted with the politics of violence practiced by the Maoists are now falling victim to the atrocities of the security forces. Why the soldiers and policemen have to behave so recklessly when they know their action just breeds more terrorists is beyond comprehension. It must be clear to the senior army generals what is happening on the ground, but it is time to come clean with it and admit that crimes have been committed and publicly punish those culpable. Otherwise the army's reputation is in danger of being permanently tainted. The generals' argument that this would hurt the morale of the soldiers is facetious. Isn't letting abductions, torture and rape going unpunished going to be even worse for their morale if the people turn against them? The Royal Nepali Army must clean up its act, not because the donors are putting pressure on them or the human rights organisations are criticising them, but because if they don't the Nepali people will have lost trust in them. If not, then I'm afraid, we are headed in the same direction as Colombia and Karin Eichelkraut's descriptions will soon apply equally to Nepal as it does to her country.
Name withheld on request,
. Nepal has a long way to go before it becomes Colombia or Guatemala, but Karin Eichelkraut is right that if present trends continue we could be headed in that direction. The emergence of deathsquads and the growing numbers of disappearances shows a disturbing trend, which, unless curbed, will inevitably lead to a complete breakdown of law and order and a rise in petty crime. It is important to heed one particular warning from Colombia: most of the people who are being killed there today are victims of gangland crime and not conflict.