A Most Sinister Proposal Against Nepal

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Without doubt, one of the most objectionable aspects of the pact between the Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists of November 22 is the proposal that the weapons of the Maoist militia, as well as that possessed by the Royal Nepal Army, should be kept under the supervision of the UN or some such “international body” prior to elections for a constituent assembly.

EQUATION UNTENABLE

To focus here only on the arms supervision aspect of that dubious deal, executed away from the light of public transparency, what must be rejected outright is the attempt to equate Maoist rebels with State security forces.

Or, what must be denounced is the sinister move to place the legally constituted State on par with a ruthless, foreign-inspired insurgency that has launched a 10-year “people’s war” for the proclaimed purpose of its overthrow by force of arms.

Clearly, formal acceptance of such an egregious proposal would legitimise the blatant, widespread use of force and terror for ten long years not only against the State’s security apparatus. It would, besides, condone the mindless violence that the rebels have cynically perpetrated against innocent civilians in that time span.

Furthermore, it would overlook the cruel disruption to family life for hundreds of thousands through displacement, and the wanton destruction of precious public property, including developmental infrastructure.

The attempt to acquire through backdoor means what the Maoists have not been able to secure on the battlefield also flies in the face of both history and common sense.

That aside, acceptance of deals such as that cut and solemnised between the SPA and the Maoists would set a grave precedent for the future. It would, for example, encourage other groups of disgruntled people, or those ever eager to dance to the tune of extraneous forces, to take up arms for this or that cause.

When would such a never-ending viscous cycle of violence against the legally constituted State come to an end? Is Nepal’s future cursed to be a Sysyphean tale of unending civil strife and turmoil?

Moreover, how can anyone in one breath talk of democracy and human rights and, in another, consciously encourage a climate of lawlessness and violence or seek to reward violence and terror against a State based on the rule of law?

UNDERMINING SOVEREIGNTY

Coming, now, to the issue of placing the weapons in the possession of the Royal Nepal Army under the supervision of the UN or other such “international organisation”, that would be tantamount to undermining the sovereignty of the State.

Such a proposal is thus totally abhorrent to those who value Nepal’s independence and sovereignty. For a national Army that has had a glorious history, including in defence of the motherland and in the consolidation of Nepal as a nation-state, such a proposal is thus nothing short of a preposterous insult to Nepali nationhood itself.

Given the Indian context to the 12-point contract between the dissenting parties and the Maoists, I must ask: would a proposal to place the arms possessed by the Indian Army under UN supervision or that of an “international organisation”, along side that of the ULFA force or militants in Jammu and Kashmir that have been fighting for decades for their respective causes against the Indian State, be considered legitimate?

Finally, in the context of arms supervision mentioned above, I must admit to great unease to the reference to some other “international organisation.” Could it be that such a formulation is designed to pave the way for foreign forces of countries that have, in one way or another, sought to undermine this nation, including the Royal Nepal Army?

M. R. Josse is a writer on Nepal and the author of Nepal: Politics of Statemate, Confusion and Uncertainty and Nepali Politics 2002-03: Gotterdammerung, The Twilight of the Gods.