After another ray

The passage of the budget for the fiscal year 2009/10 in the parliament is a sign that the

efforts of the ruling parties have yielded results in the form of the UCPN (M) relenting from their protests for three consecutive days. What may have transpired in making the Maoists allow the three-day reprieve for the Legislature Parliament to convene? In announcing this particular decision, the Maoists have also come up with their third phase of the protests. A closer look at the recent steps of the UCPN (M) seem to be somewhat tinged with shades of flexibility that they have been reiterating all throughout. But, there may be hidden agendas that needed this particular cover up. The direct reasons might be traced to the Maoist chief meeting NC president Girija Prasad Koirala in Singapore. Of course, it has been revealed that no secret deal was struck during that particular meeting. Yet, there are speculations of some agreement but that has been denied by both the leaders. But, one issue on which there is agreement is the formation of the high-level mechanism to oversee the resolution of the political stalemate. That Prachanda has been talking about it makes it credible in that the Maoists seem to be in favour of this particular mechanism. Besides, the “middle path” that has been touted to do much to resolve the issue of the presidential move is yet to come out in detail. It still remains to be seen as to what that particular path will be. Yet, the way Koirala has spoken firmly indicates his conviction of an outlet emerging at the earliest, and with it is the strong backing of the Maoist Chairman.

In fact, the high-level political mechanism had been agreed upon earlier, but no headway had been realised in its formation all because one or the other leader missed to schedule any meeting for the purpose. Now that a clear signal has emerged, no doubts probably remain that the said mechanism would consist of the top leaders of the parties. The mechanism, as detailed, will not work instead of the government but will provide the necessary backup, particularly to diffuse contentious issues. This means that the political issues can receive the due attention and be resolved with discussions by the high-level mechanism. However, this is easier said than done as even the meetings among the top leaders of the major parties have more often than not proved inconclusive. This suggests that despite the formation of the high-level political mechanism, the same lackluster performance may rule the roost that must not happen.

With the three-day stoppage of the Maoists’ obstruction of the House, the nod to 2009/10 fiscal budget relieves the government, the people in general and the Maoists too of the difficulties that would have arisen had the passage not materialized. Whatever the reasons for the Maoists becoming agreeable this time around, the ruling parties ought to rally with their full strength to amicably resolve the demands that have made the Maoists resort to obstruct the House proceedings for months on end, and their protests has spilled on to the streets creating untold hardships to the people. However, it is the Maoists who have to be more down-to-earth from the national interest point of view.

Crime at large

Although there are claims made by the authorities that there was an overall improvement in the law and order situation in the capital city, there are reports of a significant number of criminal cases. In the last week alone, metropolitan police ranges and circles in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur report that 71 such cases were recorded. These included crimes of a serious nature like murder, robbery and rape not to talk about cases of suicide, human trafficking and kidnapping. Thus, there is no reason to remain complacent about the state of security. What more, there are many criminal cases yet to be solved and the perpetrators of such misdeeds have managed to go scot-free in some cases due to impunity.

The Metropolitan Police Offices should be commended for the achievements they have made so far in bringing down crime, but they still have much to do in reducing their incidence. In the meantime, the public should work in concert with the law enforcement agencies in curbing and carrying out investigations on crimes. Again, the need to do away with the culture of impunity in these endeavors cannot be overemphasized.