Impunity continues

Adhering to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) is of paramount importance if we are to see the peace process through to its logical conclusion. Any violation of the accord, as is taking place, could have serious ramifications putting the entire process at peril. This has been realized by all stakeholders but on Monday there was another case of breach when 20 armed Maoist combatants of Sainamaina and Jhyaltungdanda camps of Rupandehi and Nawalparasi districts were arrested outside their cantonments by the security personnel. Fortunately, nothing untoward happened, and the restraint shown while detaining the PLA fighters is a matter of credit to the security personnel. The PLA combatants were released in the presence of UNMIN officials. Under the CPA, the Maoist combatants are not permitted to lug weapons outside the cantonments for rallies or any other purposes. Doing so would be seen as a violation of the CPA and can under no circumstances be condoned. That the PLA fighters were nabbed outside their cantonments with weapons shows that there was laxity on the part of monitoring. For this, the UNMIN should shoulder the responsibility, and it should have not permitted this violation of the truce.

Although the official view of UNMIN is still awaited it has said that the incident violated commitments made in the Agreement on the Monitoring of the Management of Arms and Armies that was signed by the Government and Maoists in December 2006. The PLA fighters in this case have brazenly flouted the agreement, and it would be interesting to see what action would be taken against them. The Maoist higher echelons should have prevented this from happening and that some of their fighters violated the accords raises questions about why did they let this happen knowing the consequences very well. That UNMIN has taken this incident very seriously is appropriate for it is the body monitoring the agreement on the management of arms. Under the arrangement, the Maoist fighters are permitted to carry some arms for the security of some high level Maoist leaders. The PLA fighters were not supposed to take the weapons allocated for the security of the cantonments outside.

Since this violation of the CPA is of a serious nature, strong measures should be taken so that similar activities are not repeated. What the PLA fighters were doing by taking the arms outside could have invited serious repercussions. All the stakeholders should abide by their commitments to avoid confrontation in the future that could derail the peace process. The UNMIN should now take the necessary decision after holding talks with the concerned bodies on how to deal with this blatant violation of the agreement and what action it should take to avoid such violations in the future. The role that UNMIN is playing should be clearly defined for at present it appears to be ambiguous, as the recent violation by the PLA combatants has shown. There is no doubt that UNMIN has a mandate, a very important one on that, on which hinges much of the peace process. Failure to manage the arms could invite disaster, and the country has already seen enough of that during the conflict period.

A page from history

One may wonder if wishes could be horses,

the consumers would be basking in the

delights of reasonable prices to suit their eroded

purchasing power. Maybe, if the government commitment, assurance and promises are to be

believed Dashain and Tihar festivities may not be as heavy on the family budget as what is the real experience at the moment. Seasonal fluctuations can be predicted. And one will always expect the worst when the big festivals of the Nepali people arrives, and the indications have always lighted up the scene. As usual, the people are hell-bent on being cynics because they have never seen the government deliver as per their needs and aspirations.

The rising price scare has already sapped the energy of the people and soon a blank wall will face them in the quest of the balancing trick of the wallet in dealing with the items of basic needs. If the government is intent on getting the prices to drop for Dashain and Tihar festivals, the people will gladly respond. The how of price reduction has yet to seen in the coming days. The wait is on for the day the promise comes true. There is one thing the people know best and that is to hope.