Maoists Attack Nepal, SPA and International Community Deafeningly Silent

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As many had anticipated, the Maoists, clearly invigorated by their four-month period of rest, recovery, recruitment and recuperation that ended 2 January, unleashed fierce attacks on police personnel calculated to spread terror and disrupt the 7 Feb municipal polls. The upcoming democratic exercise has clearly upset their political/strategic apple card, as it has, indeed, that of the SPA “democrats.”

The armed onslaughts by the Maoist guerrillas referred to targeted two police posts in the Kathmandu Valley, the main assault being directed on one in Thankot that serves as the main vehicular artery into and out of the Valley. There it claimed 10 lives of our custodians of law and order.

Mum’s The Word

A number of features of the said cold-blooded assault are noteworthy, including that it targeted unarmed policemen belonging to the Traffic Department and that, too, while they were preparing for their evening meal. It was timed, cynically enough, just when darkness was beginning to envelop the outpost, even as a designated “load-shedding” period for the area in question came into effect.

Equally significant – and distasteful – has been the craven attitude of the Great Leaders of the SPA who, clearly, considering discretion to be the better part of valour, have decided not to upset their Maoist allies by making any critical comments about their dastardly deed.

If any further “proof” were needed of where they stand today, these self-claimed “representatives of the people”, it is to be had in that supine demonstration of political cowardice. That is an attitude that the Maoists will surely have taken note of – for the future when the time comes for them to deal with these “democrats” collectively or one by one, as dictated by their tactics or calculations then.

Naturally, it has also been noted by the ordinary folk, the overwhelming majority of the silent majority in whose names they have ruled the roost for 12 years from 1990 to 2002, empowering and enriching themselves in the process, and none else.

No less repugnant are individuals who voice the opinions of the SPA while donning non-political garb making noises from some dark corners. They argue absurdly that it is the government that is responsible for the bloody slaughter of the brave lads in blue who were so mercilessly gunned down by the newfound partners and allies of the SPA.

If they take their reasoning to the logical end, one should now expect them to proclaim from the rooftops that it was the government, and not the Maoists, who unleashed the Jana Yudda ten years ago that has claimed nearly 13,000 precious human lives!

Peace: First Priority

Likewise, after turning truth on its head, and deliberately confusing cause with effect, these political agitators are now threatening to defy the sensible ban on demonstrations within the environs of the Ring Road for Kathmnadu, and a late-night/early morning curfew in major cities that will affect no one adversely but mischief mongers and terrorists.

After months of bragging about a “show of strength” on 20 January and after declaring in high decibel tones that they will sweep away “autocracy” (read: the King) thereafter, they now attempt to show their surprise that the government will not permit any brazen activity that is calculated to disrupt the polls, as they have repeatedly promised to do.

Given their new-links with the Maoists; their proclaimed intention to “actively boycott” the polls, the ultimate in political terrorism; their much advertised “show of strength” on 20 January when “hundreds of thousands” would have reportedly descended upon Kathmandu for their ultimate push; and, not forgetting that they have not condemned the most recent example of brutal mass murder by their Maoist comrades, it would have been the height of foolishness and dereliction of duty if the government had stood idly by allowing the merchants of death, doom and destruction to seize political power from a legitimate, constitutional authority.

Clearly, peace must prevail. People must be safe. And, in such an environment the elections for the upcoming municipal polls must be allowed to go ahead without disruption. While it is the SPA’s prerogative whether they wish to participate or not, no one – repeat but no one – has the right to disrupt millions of Nepalese citizens in their right to vote, to choose their own representatives in local government bodies, and, thereafter, to proceed further down that road to elect a new parliament.

Such a new law-writing authority is the appropriate body for discussing national problems and coming up with solutions that have a fresh mandate of the people. The authority will take into account the events of the past ten years and more and promises that had solemnly been made to the sovereign people, only to be brusquely brushed off.

International Community

No less eloquent has been the silence of the much-vaunted ‘international community’ which some would have us believe include exclusively India, the US and the UK.

Not a squeak has also been heard from their plenipotentiaries, though, to be fair, the US on 3 January made a pretty strong condemnation of Maoist violence for whatever cause.

Is such a pregnant silence meant to be endorsement of the policies of the Maoists now joined, like Siamese twins, to the SPA? If so, let them come out and say so forthrightly, not sulk and double-deal and double-talk until they are blue in the face.

The sovereign people of Nepal have every right to know who stands exactly where. As they also do to separate propaganda chaff from reality wheat. The people of Nepal may, by and large, be simple. They, however, are nobody’s fools: they certainly have the inherent God-given ability to tell what is right and what is wrong, who Nepal’s true friends are and who are not, despite whatever masks they may wear.

Let us also be clear that there are many friendly states, including most in the region in Nepal’s immediate vicinity, that are able to distinguish between stated vanilla objectives and dirty unstated goals behind their so-called concern for “democracy.”

The ordinary masses, too, are concerned with the health of democracy in our land. That is why the King is adhering to his promise of bringing democracy back on track, beginning with municipal polls, now less than three weeks away.

Polls will be held. The people will speak – whether the “international community” likes it or not. In the meantime, perhaps the “democrats” within the “international community” will mull over the supreme irony of mindlessly supporting the SPA, now infamously joined together with the Maoists who have been declared as terrorists by both India and the US.

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.