Kathmandu takes the first steps
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Kathmandu takes the first steps

The 25-point code of conduct drawn up by negotiators of the Nepalese government and Maoist rebels is a welcome step.

india Updated: May 29, 2006 00:35 IST

The 25-point code of conduct drawn up by negotiators of the Nepalese government and Maoist rebels is a welcome step in restoring peace and stability in the country. The two sides have reportedly decided to involve ‘national and international teams’ in the monitoring of a cease-fire. This suggests that for the first time, outside powers other than India and China may be involved in what is still an internal problem.

For quite some time, the UN has been interested in getting involved and the agreement could open the doors for the world body. The agreement also lists a slew of measures to ensure that the current cease-fire holds, including ruling out general strikes and collecting ‘donations’ through coercion. The decision to make public the whereabouts of ‘disappeared people’ and detainees, and help displaced people return to their villages, will certainly be good news to a citizenry held to ransom by strife for far too long. More than 13,000 people were killed in the conflict since the anti-government insurgency began in February 1996, as Maoists fought for the abolition of the monarchy and the creation of a communist republic. But having said that, the political parties should take care not to let their internal contradictions hobble the initial success of restoring Parliament. Strains are already visible in the seven-party alliance headed by G.P. Koirala as the appointment of a regular speaker to the assembly showed. It took Mr Koirala unduly long to sort out differences between his Nepali Congress and the UML of Madhav Nepal before finally appointing the UML’s candidate.

It isn’t exactly a secret that the political parties had made a mockery of democracy by their greed, bad governance and internal rivalry for years before recent events brought them together again. If they fritter away these gains, it would play into the hands of the Maoists whose agenda of reaching the ‘sub stage of a democratic republic’ obviously remains unchanged. Going by the Maoists’ record, every time they have been in a win-win situation, they have successfully played one constitutional force against another. It should be different this time round.

First Published: May 29, 2006 00:35 IST