March 18, 2019 02:00 AM NPT
People may not be satisfied with the way the government is working. Yes, it has not been able to address aspirations of people. A considerable number of people feel no change in their lifestyles. They are still leaving the country to seek gainful employment. With daily news of corruption, irregularities and the government becoming indifferent to real needs of people, there is frustration with the new system which had raised a lot of hopes and promises. But despite all the sufferings and hardships they experience on a daily basis, they do not want another conflict in the country. They want peace and prosperity, nothing less. Talk to people from remote district of Rolpa, who were among the most affected by decade-long violent conflict, and it becomes clear how they hate violence and conflict.
People of Rolpa have been really worried about the recent activities of the ‘communist’ outfit led by Netra Bikram Chand. They are worried also because they still remember the harrowing times of Maoist insurgency. “Another war can never be our choice. We have not yet left the old wounds behind,” warns Raj Bahadur Budha, who was fifth division commander of Maoist rebels during the war. “No one wants war again, war is never a solution. Rolpa just wants peace and prosperity. War is now a big No for Rolpalis,” he declared. Another former Maoist rebel, Surendra Thapa Gharti seconds Budha. “We already have a new constitution and the country has gone federal, so there is no need of war again,” he argues. Khem Prasad Budha Magar, who spent a decade of his life as a Maoist cadre, sends another warning. “Nothing good comes of war. It only makes fools of the poor. No one should be fooled again,” he warns. Kshitiz Magar, who served as assistant commander at a cantonment and who is now a contractor in construction field argues that further conflict is meaningless as the agenda of the Maoist insurgency has already been institutionalized. “Anyone still harping on the need for war could have no good intentions,” he says without mincing words.
These people Republica talked to represent views of Nepalis across the nation. Both Chand—who looks bent on wrecking violence—and the government which, at times, appears to have closed the door of talks with Chand need to take these views seriously. Chand and his cadres should understand that people have become sick of war and they do not want to see it—even hear about it—again. As things stand, many of the agendas Maoists raised in the past have already been addressed by the constitution. Chand has the option of pressuring the government to get their legitimate concerns (if any) addressed through the constitutional means. What people of Rolpa shared with Republica speaks of fear and uncertainty brought about by reckless violence Chand’s outfit is unleashing. While Chand’s faction must immediately renounce violent activities, the government should also keep trying to mainstream it through dialogues. The memories of decade-long insurgency—which killed around 17,000 people and displaced several thousands—still bring back horrors of those times. Conflict and violence serves none. Those who abet it can never be working for the people.