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The dwindling peace process of Nepal

New Delhi, Sat, 03 Nov 2007 Sanjay Bansal

Newstrack India

Nov 03: The dwindling peace process in Nepal has created a glitch despite the involvement of UN and other international communities. It is said that the Maoists and the political parties both are responsible for this deadlock and delicate political equation of the country.

The UN has been a major player in Nepal’s ongoing peace process, currently managing the arms and armies of both the government and the Maoists.

UN is the main catalyst in bringing dozens of those small rebel groups into the fold of the peace process. These rebel groups including ‘Madheshis’ of Tarai region are saying that they have been excluded from the mainstream development and politics since hundreds of years.

The principal objective of Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the efforts of the UN and other international communities were to establish sustainable peace and to bring the Maoists into political mainstream. This was to be achieved through the election of a constitution assembly (CA). However, some unfortunate episodes occurred since the beginning of the September 2007.

According to the terms the Maoists joined the interim parliament and also interim government on 1st April 2007. They grabbed their quota in almost all states machineries, including embassies, secretaries, corporate leadership etc.

In close to the face the CA election, they started bargaining by extending various unexpected demands in the last hour. Such demands included declaring Nepal a republic before the CA election and the adoption of a fully proportional electoral system for a CA election.

The PM Girija Prasad Koirala termed the demands unrealistic. He said the demands can neither be fulfilled before the CA election nor it is possible by time factor. Despite the huge efforts at dialogue by the seven party alliance and international communities, the Maoists didn’t budge and ultimately resigned on 18 September 2007. The Maoists termed their resignation “a response of non-starter to reach an adjustment on the 22 point demands”.

As Maoists indicated, they would take direct action to obstruct the elections if their demands were not met. Therefore, it is perceived that Maoists are still playing war tactics and have not embraced the democratic political process.

As a result of the dispute among the Maoists and other party allies, the government was forced to suspend the scheduled CA elections slated for 22 November 2007. The CA elections, considered the backbone of peace agreement, are in doubt.

This inability of the interim government to hold elections in time is creating nothing else but a political vacuum at all governance levels increasing the difficulties of the citizens.

The question is why do the Maoists violate the terms of the peace agreement as well as the election bills and regulations they helped to formulise and where is the commitment to democracy, the new trend of an ex-Hindu state. Maoists’ insurgency has been a major threat to the security and law and order of the country and it goes on in another form now.

While joining the interim government Maoists also expressed full commitment to democratic ideals and norms by signing the interim constitution including competitive multi-party democracy, civil liberties, fundamental human rights adult enfranchisement, periodic elections and above of all the ‘rule of law’. Those commitments are still missing somewhere.

They are taking their feet back from the main agenda of the seven party alliances, which they signed at the time of joining the interim government, of conducting constituent assembly elections. They should also stay away from their earlier tactics (extortion, abduction and intimidation) which go on even after the agreement.

“Writer is an executive media manager, CNN IBN”

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