Tuesday, January 03, 2006
NEPAL: THE PARTY IS OVER (IT)
Leaders of major political parties, human rights activists and even business leaders in Nepal have accused the government of deliberately forcing the Maoist rebels to return to war, urging the rebels, at the same time, to shun violence against civilians.
Standing Committee member of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist), Jhalanath Khanal, said the government’s irresponsible behavior had pushed the country back to violence. “We don’t support violence, but the State would be responsible for whatever may happen now,” he added.
Former government official Surya Bahadur Sen Oli agreed and held Nepal’s autocratic King responsible for the Maoists breaking truce.
A Nepali Congress (NC) spokesman Krishna Prasad Sitaula said in Kathmandu on Tuesday “We can’t support violence," adding, "We urge the Maoists to stick to the 12-point understanding and to ensure that no citizen suffers on account of them,” said NC.
He, however, said that the Maoist decision against further prolonging the one-way truce would not affect the implementation of the 12-point understanding with the political parties. “Their struggle is against the State, so innocent people should not suffer on account of them.”
He said the seven parties would continue their efforts towards peace, although the State did not show any concern during those four months of their one-way ceasefire.
Noted human rights activist, Subodh Raj Pyakurel, said, the “irresponsible behavior” of the state was mainly responsible for the breaking off of ceasefire. “The Ministers and other people always stood against the peace process and compelled them (the Maoists) to return to war.”
“We still urge Maoists not to adopt the path of violence and respect people’s human rights and right to live,” he added.
In his first reaction, Vice President of Nepal Bar Association, Sher Bahadur KC, “We condemn the government’s passivity for not reciprocating the ceasefire.”
Chairman of the Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), Narendra Bajracharya, termed the latest development as “unfortunate” it will harm the tourism industry in the country.
“We had urged the government to reciprocate the truce but it did not oblige, which is very unfortunate for the country,” he said. The executive committee of HAN is meeting on Wednesday to review the situation.
In a press statement announcing the end of the four month unilateral ceasefire observed by the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Party leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal (also known as Prachanda) on Monday said the Party was compelled to call off the ceasefire "as the government continued its military operation even during the period of unilateral ceasefire." Pranchanda did, however, express his commitment to assist the ongoing movement of seven opposition alliance as per the 12-point agreement between his party and the seven political parties.
The statement further said that though national and international communities took the unilateral ceasefire positively, the government continued its blatant action against the party.
The statement said that the government killed many Party members during the three month long unilateral ceasefire continuing such acts during the extension of the cease fire and that the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) continued land and aerial attacks during the ceasefire.
In fact, the government failed to reciprocate the ceasefire despite repeated appeals from various national and international bodies including the UN and the European Union.
Pranchanda said the rebels would resume hostilities against government forces but would not target civilians, a move welcomed by a leading human rights organization.
"We hope that the Maoists will act without harming civilians while waging war against the state," said Kundan Aryal, general secretary of the Informal Sector Service Centre, one of the leading human rights organizations.
On Tuesday evening a bomb exploded near a local government office in the western tourist town of Pokhara, the fourth explosion since the end of the ceasefire. Police said there were no injuries and minimal damage.
There were similar minor explosions Monday evening in Pokhara and in Butwal and Bhairahawa, two small towns southwest of the capital, but no reports of damage or injuries.
The king has announced a "road map to democracy" under which municipal elections next month will be followed by national elections sometime before April 2007.
Opposition politicians have branded the road map a whitewash. They and the Maoists have said they will boycott the polls on February 8.
The rebels and the opposition parties want to hold constituent assembly elections that would frame a new constitution and define the future role of the monarchy.
CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal said the political parties are all set for a "final fight" to establish republican democracy, adding, there is no other alternative.
"The King has invited this situation. He has done so by blurring the line between democracy and autocracy," UML Nepal said at the party office. "All the affection for the palace is now gone as it has snatched away people's rights," he added.
Nepal came down heavily on the ruling establishment for trying to lengthen its tenure by purporting to fight against terrorism. "They (the ruling establishment) want violence to continue so that they can import arms and ammunition in the name of terrorism," he said. Sources: NewsLineNepal, AFP, Himalayan Times, KOL (Nepal), Nepal News, Nepal Travel Advisory Blog