My Country of despair
Its fifth day of the nationwide general strike called by the United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (UCPN-M), well sixth if the closure on the occasion of International Labor Day on May 1 is to be counted as well. The life of Nepalese have literally come to a standstill, the loss that the economy is suffering with each passing day is exorbitant. Even after 5 full days of the strike, we see no hope at the end of the tunnel. The Maoists are demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, and constitution drafting under their party leadership since they constitute the maximum number of members in the CA.
Nothing in my country seems to be going right. The present government of Madav Kumar Nepal is adamant, he does not plan to quit the seat, not at least for the Maoists, and the Maoists are not taking back the strike unless he does. Both of the sides are strong in their stance, and both are claiming to be doing the right thing for the Nepalese. The Maoists claim that they are fighting for the people’s supremacy, but I don’t understand which people they are talking about. The same people are suffering to no end because of this strike. A boy from Bardiya died yesterday after he was bitten by a snake. The family could not take him to the hospital since vehicles are not allowed during the strike. Families of thousands of wage earners are sleeping empty stomach because they have not been able to work for the last 6 days. The factories are shut. The shops are closed. Educational institutions, hotels, hospitals, etc have become staying ground for the Maoists, who have entered Kathmandu from all corners of the country to show their power. Amidst the chaos, I cannot fathom who is benefitting out of it.
The Maoists had assured that the revolution will be peaceful, and they will resort to violence only if the army uses force. The first 3 days of the strike were largely peaceful. Thousands of Maoists cadres and supporters were seen on the road singing and dancing on Nepali folk music and revolutionary songs that they composed. It was a rare sight since every time this party called for a strike, it constituted violence, beatings, vandalism, and killings. People were speculating the same this time, but they proved everybody wrong, at least during the initial days. They had probably thought that they could win the battle easily, but like I said, the government is not ready to buzz an inch, despite all the talks. However, nothing has been accomplished so far, and this is largely frustrating for the party, and now, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, aka Prachanda, has openly accepted that their patience is running out, and that they will strengthen their protests. They are true to their words. The cadres have started vandalizing offices, and are attacking everybody who is trying to defy their orders. Just today, they beat two shopkeepers in Birgunj to death after they opened their shops in the morning. The anti-maoists came together and vandalized the guest houses they have been staying at, burnt their tents to ashes, and took away the supplies. The confrontation of the two groups resulted in a curfew in Birgunj, which was later taken back later.
If Maoists are losing their patience, so is the public. There is an air of frustration and hopelessness everywhere. The countrymen are questioning everything. Two years back, the Constituent Assembly elections had given people the hope for a better future of the country. The entire hoopla took place to draft the constitution, the deadline of which is May 28, 2010. 601 CA members were to write the future of the country, and they failed each of us, and at this critical juncture when May 28 is fast approaching, the Maoists’ timing is just perfect. This is not the time to get entangled in party politics in the name of people’s supremacy. Madhav Kumar Nepal’s resignation is not the priority issue at this time. All the energies and all the efforts should have been devoted towards meeting the deadline, but of course, they don’t care, all they care about is themselves, and their demands.
With no hopes, I still hope that they soon realize where they are taking their country towards, and reach a consensus soon, because this is not good for anybody, neither for the PM, the countrymen or the Maoists.