Small wonder

Over a year has gone by since the successful conclusion of the 2007 April Revolution, but the frequency of disruptive protest programmes like bandhs and chakkajams being organised inside Kathmandu Valley, instead of declining, has seen a slight increase. In the period of mid-June to mid-July alone, three bandhs and nine chakkajams were organised in the Valley. The fact that protests post-Jana Andolan II tend to be comparatively more peaceful to the ones organised before the period is no reason to rejoice. The period leading up to the 19-day Andolan was unprecedented in the country’s history, with the united front of democratic forces pitched against an autocratic regime.

Now, even though a democratic government is in place, many protest programmes are being organised by groups affiliated to the constituent parties of the democratic alliance itself. Moreover, the very people whose interests the government was supposed to protect — the Madhesis, dalits and janajatis — are resorting to violent and undemocratic means to have their voices heard. The police complain that these protest programmes divert the scant resources at their disposal away from crime prevention and control (small wonder the crime rate in the capital has galloped in recent times). In this mess, the biggest victims are Kathmandu residents and the police that get a bad name for not being able to cut down on the crime rate. Unless the political parties learn self-discipline and adhere to proper democratic norms at all times as a matter of rule, it is sheer injustice to lay all the blames on the Nepal Police alone.