The poor law and order situation in the country is quite disconcerting to an average citizen. The sense of insecurity has been heightened with the anti-social elements backed by their patronising political leaders becoming more than wayward, inflicting mental and physical woes on the innocent people at large. Despite the lip service provided by both the government and the police department of beefing up security, the serious lapses are evident as seen by the daring attack on the Supreme Court (SC) Justice Rana Bahadur Bam on May 31 in Lalitpur. The daylight killing of a high profile SC judge by the attackers has made a telling mockery of the law and order situation in the only metropolitan city in the country. And, despite the fact that many days have elapsed since the murder, the Nepal Police is still clueless as to the perpetrators. With no hint being provided to the progress made in the investigation—probably as a measure of confidentiality—the public are in the blind. What it points to is the conspiracy theory as the police are seemingly on a blind chase that is not going to yield results in unravelling the mystery surrounding the reason why the judge was targetted. Of course, such incidents have not been rare in the Nepalese context when possibly political patronage is at the roots of prevailing impunity.
The Bhattarai-led government has been quite generous enough to withdraw cases of murderers and goons, and the society is bound to be infested by them to disturb the fabric of sanity while law and order enforcement agencies becomes mute observers. In many cases in the past, the government had formed judicial commissions to probe the killings like that of media baron Jamim Shah in 2010, and Nepali Congress activist Shiva Paudel in 2011, but Bam’s murder has not elicited such a response from the government, which itself is rudderless and hanging on. In fact, seeing the high profile nature of the case, a high level panel ought to probe the incident to be able to identify the murderers to be booked and receive punishment as per the law of the land. This is necessary because the attack on a sitting SC judge can be viewed as one against the judiciary. There may be disgruntlement against the courts but that cannot be the reason for murder. This calls for a fair and unhindered probe into the murder of Bam in a public place.
The suggestion is that if the police department on its own is unable to solve the mystery or fails to make any progress in the case, the formation of an unbiased probe panel is of urgent necessity. The government may be opting for inaction for which there must be reasons which have to revealed best by a probe panel. No incident of homicide must be left unsolved, because it will reflect the inefficiency of the law enforcement agencies, besides the indifference of the government for whatever reason it may be. Here, the government has neglected its obligation to help in bringing the murderers of the incident to face charges, but it is playing a different tune and proving elusive. This shows the real face of the government which does not seem to be interested in weeding out crimes from the society.
A curse now
Appointing the Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) through open competition has turned out to be a farce. In the past eight months, NEA has had three acting chiefs. Politics is being blamed for this in the selection process. Because of this, NEA has a difficult time getting the right and deserving candidate appointed. With frequent change of heads, the NEA is not able to function as it is supposed to—a testimony to which is the protracted periods of power outages with no one taking responsibility for it. Actually, it is not a bad idea to have the Managing Director of the NEA appointed from free competition, but, as has been found, it is difficult to do so for there is always political interference.
As a result, the appointments are made improperly. Even if the selection has been as per the qualification and competence, the acting chiefs are unable to implement their vision because they do not have the time to do so in the short period that they have been allocated. Meanwhile, even a capable Managing Director cannot work as desired without the cooperation of the staff, so they too have to provide such to the acting chiefs.