EDITORIAL: Live and let live

The need of the hour is that all parties gear their efforts towards making the announced local level polls a success

The violence and deaths that happened on Monday (March 6) in Rajbiraraj of Saptari are incidents of grave concern as these harm social harmony and the culture of political tolerance that is a vital part of democracy.

It is very hard to look sympathetically upon the violence and vandalism, including reports of planting of a bomb and throwing of a petrol bomb, apart from, among other things, stone-throwing, in the process of disturbing the mass meeting held by the main opposition CPN-UML.

The killings of three Madhesi Morcha protesters and the injuries to several people in the police firing are tragic incidents. Conflicting versions of the incidents have been received, including as regards the shootings, and blame game has started.

The CDO and the SSP of the district have been recalled to the capital. The tragedy resulted from the practice of the politics of prohibition and failure to abide by the principle of live and let live.

The CPN-UML started its long-planned Mechi-Mahakali National Campaign from Jhapa on March 4 and entered Rajbiraj on March 6 to hold its public meeting to tell the people what it stands for, in view of the upcoming local level elections slated for May 14.

The Constitution guarantees political parties, organizations and groups their right to express their political views peacefully. Madhesi Morcha should have refrained from obstructing or trying to disrupt the UML rally in Rajbiraj.

To repeat, every political party, group or every citizen, have the right to organize a mass meeting peacefully in any place of the country. There is no place for violence in a democracy. Any attempt by anybody to violate this democratic and constitutional right cannot be defended. Madhesi Morcha has said the Police resorted to use of excess force.

This should be properly investigated to avoid any untoward incident that could happen in the future. Political parties across the board must realise that confrontation, or violence of any kind, does not lead the country anywhere, nor will any side benefit in the long run.

Instead, confrontation undermines democracy, could potentially promote communal discords, ultimately setting up the country in the vicious cycle of underdevelopment as has been the case over the past decades. It just doesn’t serve anybody’s purpose.

The parties concerned should therefore try and sit together to settle their differences through conciliation, and regarding those points on which they fail to agree, they should leave these to be sorted out through a democratic process in which the majority should be respected.

Otherwise, the democracy we have would be rendered irrelevant. As the result of the Saptari incidents, the Madhesi Morcha has announced protest programmes, and the two-day Tarai bandh they have been enforcing since yesterday has affected normal daily life there.

The UML’s three-day postponement of its Mechi-Mahakali campaign can be considered a step in not making the situation worse.

The need of the hour is that all parties gear their efforts towards making the announced local level polls a success, and the government and all political actors should help create an enabling environment for fair, peaceful and credible local elections on the stipulated date.

All stakeholders should take a step back and re-engage in dialogue and negotiations with all the more urgency to restore calm and normalcy in Saptari, and take the right steps to end the painful transition.

Welcome comeback

Over the years the population of white-rumped vultures has been dwindling at an alarming level. If this species of vulture is not protected then it is feared that they would become extinct, which would be very unfortunate.

However, the news report about the hatching of nine  white-rumped vulture nestlings should be taken up with enthusiasm. The breeding centre at the Kalsara based Chitwan National Park has been collecting nestlings from across the country.

These vultures are being threatened by the effects of climate change, the destruction of their habitat and also the use of drugs for cultivation and the food scarcity faced by them.

The breeding centre is home to 25 male and 31 female vultures. The female vultures had laid 15 eggs of which nine of them hatched. The breeding centre should receive the due attention it deserves.

Presently, one vet and three caregivers are looking after these endangered species.

Adequate measures should, therefore, be taken to preserve the habitat of these vultures and farmers should refrain from using certain pesticides that results in the death of many of the vultures.