Maoists And Seven Party Agitation Increasing Poverty

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All political movements in Nepal target those who are the most vulnerable in the society. The philosophy behind this is ‘we will make the people suffer and as they become more and more helpless they will be forced to come to our side’. This is the philosophy of the Maoists and now it is of the seven political parties. It was also their policy when the parties were in power in the past. This attitude can be compared to those, who called themselves as Vultures during the massive earthquake in Central America in the early 70s. They looted, attacked and killed the victims of the earthquake. Their philosophy was ‘the strong are strong, so we will attack the poor because the poor cannot fend for themselves?

Political battles in Nepal are not fought across tables, in the discussion room and in the parliament. In the meetings and discussion rooms there must be logic, sanity and rationality. But the political parties prefer to come down to the streets with bandhs, closures and general strikes because these steps always lack logic and rationality – rather raw and brute force prevail.

Then the targets are the weakest in the society who can be easily intimidated – common and daily wagers, students, small farmers and those who have to earn a daily bread to survive. If they think that the poor have not suffered enough, then there is vandalism, damage and destruction of private and public property to instill fear and panic among the weak in the society. Any attempt to protect the poor and helpless is always decried with big words like democracy, freedom and rights. These words always draw the attention of those who are rich, strong and think themselves as all prevailing. The interest of the poor and the weak are always trampled upon.

If the damages, destructions and sufferings are taken into account in terms of physical, economical and psychological terms, it cannot be calculated in money. How does one calculate lost days in industries and factories, missed classes in schools and colleges, farmers forced to throw away their produce because they could not be taken to the market and moreover the poor forced to pay more for goods of daily needs?

Take for example, salt, the most common of all daily needs and probably the cheapest, has become several times more expensive because of the agitation of the seven political parties. Other goods, such as vegetables, rice and others have also become more expensive. When the political parties appeal to the people not to pay taxes and tariffs, ask foreign countries not to give aid to the government and Nepalese working abroad not to remit their income to Nepal, it is clear they are targeting the poor.

A few days ago, Nepali Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala in an interview said let the people suffer some more and then they might come to the agitation of the seven parties. It is clear that he takes a sadistic pleasure in the sufferings of the people.

He and others in the seven parties are frustrated to see people trying to eke out their living even in the difficult situation and they threaten vegetable farmers outside Kathmandu not to send vegetables to Kathmandu or call the transporters not to bring in food and fuel to Kathmandu. They want to starve the people of Kathmandu because barring a few, the people here have not supported the agitation of the seven parties.

These, mainly the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress (Democratic) are the same parties, which used to condemn the strikes and bandhs as detrimental and damaging to the economy and the general people when they were in power, but have resorted to the same tactic when they are out of it.

What is most worrisome is that even some professionals like doctors, lawyers and some civil servants and others think they are doing a great service to the society by crying for their version of democracy, but have failed to gauge how the poor have been suffering in the almost two weeks of agitation of the seven political parties. They do it because their children do not have to go bed hungry, their children do not miss classes in colleges and schools (because most of them have sent their children abroad for studies) and price rises do not hurt their pocket.

Talking about the leaders of the agitating political parties, they cry out when they are detained for a few hours, but have closed their eyes and ears at the plight of the poor who have suffered from hunger, disease and others in all these days. They have shut down their eyes to sunken eyes and shrunken stomach of those who have to go hungry if they do not earn everyday but think the daily dose of agitation will feed the daily wagers and their children. All those, who have been participating and supporting the agitation of the seven parties, which is of no relevant reason, are only hitting the poor the hardest.