New bar

As agreed at an all-party meeting Tuesday attended by political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly (CA), except for the Unified CPN-Maoist and MJF and two other smaller fringe parties, it is essential for the Maoists to participate in the drafting of the constitution. So far, the Maoists have not been cooperating in this regard and have by their action shown their unwillingness to take part in this exercise despite the fact remaining that a mere 71 days remain for the promulgation of the constitution. The Maoists have been coming up adamantly with one unreasonable demand after another, thereby, leading many to believe that the peace process would be derailed, as without the Maoists it would not be possible to draft the constitution on time. The Maoists have still to live up to their commitment to help in the rehabilitation of their combatants and to eschew violence and return the seized properties. Now, another hurdle has been created which is providing the salary to the Maoist combatants cantoned in the various cantonments. It is widely believed that many of these former combatants have already left the cantonments. Therefore, providing the salaries to the combatants who have left would be grave misuse of funds. In order that this does not happen, it is necessary to have the actual number of the Maoist combatants in the cantonments.

However, the Maoists have raised much hue and cry over this, and they want the government to provide the salaries in total, including to those who might have left. If this happens then the funds would possibly be embezzled by the Maoist party leaders, which is a matter of genuine concern. Furthermore, the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) has also been playing a controversial role by refusing to divulge the number of the former Maoist combatants in the cantonments. How is it possible to pay the salaries to those who do not have authentic identity cards? UNMIN also took part in the verification of the Maoist combatants and as such they are duty bound to provide the figures of the actual number of combatants in the cantonments. By refusing to do so, UNMIN has been drawing flak from the political parties, other than the Maoist party, as it is unreasonable to provide perks to the combatants who are outside the cantonments.

After the refusal by UNMIN to provide this information, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal communicated with UNMIN requesting it to provide these figures. UNMIN is not required to provide any confidential information. The request has been made to UNMIN to provide merely the figures to prevent any misappropriation of funds that would otherwise occur should the whole amount as earlier is provided. Meanwhile, there is a general agreement that the Maoist combatants should be rehabilitated prior to the promulgation of the constitution. The manner in which these combatants will be rehabilitated and reintegrated has yet to be agreed upon and should figure prominently in all negotiations particularly between the largest party, the UCPN (M), and other major parties, the Nepali Congress and UML, as they all have agreed to strive to reach a consensus.

Brutish display

It comes as a hard blow that a lady police personnel was physically assaulted by a microbus assistant for asking him to move the said vehicle to another place in a bid to clear the road. However, this is not the first instance of the kind. And, a mention must be made of the praise that the female traffic police officers have received in carrying out their designated tasks sincerely. What irks the senses is that the pas-sers by become mere spectators and do nothing, possibly because the drivers and helpers of other such vehicles may gather to make the scene more gruesome. More than anything else, the way the public vehicles tend to violate traffic rules is quite alarming.

The public vehicles are notorious for stopping and parking at will. This they take as their right. If the traffic police try to enforce the rules, they gather to block the road, thereby, creating a jam which becomes a tough nut to crack. This could also be a reason why the traffic police ignore traffic rule violations to a certain extent, which, however, should not be the case. The public vehicles must learn to respect the traffic rules and contribute in maintaining discipline on the roads. One just hopes they will learn.