Violence has no room in a democratic polity; all political forces can reach out to the people with their ideology in a peaceful mannerThe government is under pressure to make its stance clear on the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal (CPN) after the latter launched coordinated attacks on Ncell’s main gate at Nakhhu, Lalitpur and vandalised as many as 21 Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) across the country a week before, leaving one person dead and two others wounded. The Chand-led party, a breakaway faction of the then CPN-Maoist, has been launching violent activities even after the promulgation of the new constitution four years ago to, what it says, complete the “total revolution”. It also claims to run a parallel government. In a recent video message, Chand said his party was in the process of forming a strong “People’s Liberation Army”. Following the attacks on Ncell and its towers, the police have rounded up as many as 400 CPN cadres along with two US-made M-16 rifles, which were looted from the army during the insurgency and later kept in double-locked containers in the cantonments. The M-16 rifles are believed to have been stolen by some Maoist cadres from the containers. While addressing the National Assembly last week, Nepali Congress lawmaker Jitendra Narayan Dev sought the government and the ruling parties’ position on dealing with the CPN. He mainly asked two questions: Whether the Chand-led party is a political force or a terrorist group. In a recently held meeting with Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, security officials also posed similar questions, seeking the government’s stance on the outfit. Top guns of the ruling party are said to be in serious consultation among themselves about ways to deal with the party that has resorted to violence even after holding of the elections for the three tiers of government. It may be recalled that the government had also formed a talks team led by former minister Somprasad Pandey. However, the Chand-led party stayed away from the talks with the panel. The panel submitted its report to the government on December 28 last year, suggesting the government deal with it separately. After the promulgation of the new constitution, there is no need to raise arms or resort to violence against the State to get one’s political or social demands fulfilled as the constitution has guaranteed the rights of all communities. The republican set-up, federalism, inclusive democracy and secularism – the main agenda of the second Jan Andolan – have been enshrined in the constitution. Every political party can reach out to the people with their ideology through peaceful means. The Chand-led party can also go to the people with its ideology. If the CPN continues with violent activities and claims to run a parallel state, the government will have no option other than to use force to bring the violence under control, especially in view of the upcoming second Investment Summit scheduled for March 29 and 30. Before having any official position on the Chand-led CPN, the government and the ruling parties must also consult the main opposition to give a message that the nation stands united when it comes to dealing with violence, no matter who carries it out. Ultimately, it is the people who will have to bear the brunt of violence, which will only push the country towards a vicious cycle of political uncertainty.
Saving lives It may look like a small thing, but a doctor’s crusade to save lives at times of emergency by teaching the people some safety measures is laudable. Dr Laxmi Panthi, who works for the Tamakoshi Cooperative Hospital, has started a campaign in different parts of Ramechhap district in the eastern hills to teach basically low-cost preventive measures to help save patients before they can reach hospital. While immediate access to a modern treatment centre is desirable during an emergency, one knows only too well that this is not feasible in a geographically challenging country like ours. The nearest hospital could be miles away. So knowing what to do when someone loses consciousness, bleeds profusely, has a bone stuck in the throat or suffers from a heart attack could help prevent loss of life. The doctor has provided training to the heads of the government offices and security bodies. Training the Female Community Health Workers in such life saving skills would also go a long way in providing the much-needed emergency assistance to the people, especially women, of the area.