As the country goes for yet another three-day holiday for Tihar, there are many issues making the rounds in the media. For one, the most gruesome case of genocide that occurred in 2008 is not moving toward resolution. The main suspect, Mohammad Aftab Alam, has been denying the allegation that he masterminded that criminal act. He is even claiming that the bomb explosion that killed people on the eve of first Constituent Assembly elections in April, 2008 did not occur at all. District court has remanded him in custody for one more week and there are genuine fears that the victims and eyewitnesses of the murders might be influenced by the culprits and their relatives. The case of rape attempt against former Speaker of House of Representatives Krishna Bahadur Mahara is not making any headway. Meanwhile, the government has arrested a rapper on charge of spreading offensive message through his songs. People are divided in favor of and against the police action. While a group of people has been arguing that government is trying to divert the public attention from the pressing issues by arresting the singer, others have stood in favor of the police action. Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has left for the Republic of Azerbaijan, leading the Nepali delegation to the 18th Summit of heads of state and government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
Amid these issues, the government’s focus has not been centered on where it should be directed the most. During the festivals, Nepal’s market remains largely unregulated, adding the burden to the middle and low-income people of having to pay exorbitantly high price for essential goods. The government should have mobilized its machineries to regulate the market and ensure that the common people are not cheated. Besides, a number of people leave the Valley to celebrate the festival but our bus services, in most of the places, are hardly well-managed and functioning. We wonder why the government did not care about these seemingly small but very important issues for the general public. Compared to the past, the government has upped the ante in restricting import and sale of fire crackers, which is good. In the three-day holiday, efforts should be made on facilitating mobility of people and ensuring that they are not cheated by the market.
Very little happens during the festival break in Nepal. And one great boon of these festivals has been that it unites people and gives the message of solidarity. Almost all parts of the country get illuminated—thanks to the end of load-shedding—during this festival of light. People revel in festivity, prayers and deusi bhailo, the main attraction of this festival. But when the festivals end, the general people will have to return to the same routine work. Festival breaks provide a time for the political leaders to look back into their actions and plan for ensuring better governance. When the festivals end, the government agencies must redirect their attention to working to fulfill aspirations of common people. Let there be light amid the darkness resulted by lack of public accountability of leaders. There has been a lot of despair in recent times. Let there be the ray of hope that government’s delivery will improve. On that optimistic note, we wish happy Deepawali and Tihar to everyone.