Ostrich look-alikes

The political parties with big names keep on squabbling while the due date for the new constitution to come into force draws nearer. Even a mere three months to have the statute readied and promulgated has not been able to wake up the political leaders who are supposed to come out of their playacting of a slumber. The integration/rehabilitation of the former Maoist combatants first, and the constitution next or vice versa have been the verbal exchanges between the parties. If the Prime Minister has a plan chalking out the completion of the integration aspect in two months time, the main opposition and supposedly the real stakeholder is not so keen on this aspect. It is true that the Maoists have their own game plan in deferring the integration of its own former combatants that has more to do with keeping their allegiance to the party intact and the hold over the weapons which is being looked after by UNMIN. But, the major ruling parties know the pitfalls that can be invited if the integration and rehabilitation task linger on, possibly leading to what the Maoists have dubbed as the next “people’s revolt”. While on this, the number of combatants to be taken into account of is creating another round of headache. It may be three thousand or so but how it will be done has yet to come to public notice. There are also claims that out of the around 19,000 ex-rebels confined in the cantonments, 35 per cent or so have left them without any notice. On this score, UNMIN has not been providing the facts that could be helpful.

Even Prime Minister Nepal can do very little unless the UCPN (M) extends its hand. The whole play has been to delay the part of the peace process that is so vital. It was easy to discharge the disqualified from the cantonments. But, this task is not as easy as the leaders, both from the ruling and opposition parties, make it out for public consumption. It may be worthwhile remembering that even the Maoist-led government had gone verbal on completing the said task within the first six months. Unfortunately, the nine-month Maoist tenure at the helm of power in the administration ended without any substantive work, and the present government too has got over the same period without real progress. Being at loggerheads with each other has been the hallmark of the three major parties, and the other parties make stray comments now and then. So, the idea got going with the High Level Political Mechanism which too has been bogged down in seemingly unfruitful ventures which the government is not paying any attention to. In all this, it is evident that the new constitution at this rate will probably fail to be all encompassing not to miss any provision that have the interest of every Nepali citizen. The big question making the rounds in political circles is what will happen if the constitution is not readied by May 28. The writings on the wall are not encouraging seeing the adamant behaviour of the party bosses. The Maoists come first in the line for bringing everything to a state of limbo by indulging in petty obstructive antics. An overview of the whole suggests that the trust that the people had reposed on the leaders and parties has all but been wasted.

Step back

There is still a disturbing trend about couples marrying inter-caste being discriminated against through no fault of theirs. Sometimes they are expelled from their homes and also face physical assaults. Many of them have to undergo enormous mental trauma simply for carrying out such marriages. Although this practice is a punishable

offense and the law has provisions for punishing those guilty of carrying out such attacks on

couples who have decided on inter-caste union, the couples often face many hurdles in society and often their families too are to be blamed. In order to stop such acts on the innocent couples there is need for creating awareness. The government sometime back announced stipends for couples who have inter-caste union. However, this provision drew flak from various quarters who insisted that this would be abused and was not proper.

It is essential for the society at large to realize that it is not right to behave in an inhumane manner with such couples. Furthermore, even the educated are found to be guilty of such abuses. Such state of mind reflects how we have not grown up despite all the lessons for respecting human rights as civil people.