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Maoist thuggery

Maoist thuggery

Author: Editorial
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: February 27, 2007

Koirala must stop land-grab

The news from Nepal continues to get worse with each passing day. Although the interim Government headed by Prime Minister G.P. Koirala now includes representatives of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and claims to be running the affairs of that country, in reality Prachanda's thugs were calling the shots. This is evident from the manner in which farmland belonging to the monarchy, which has been denuded of all authority and power, is being grabbed by Maoists for "redistribution among landless farmers". Had the Maoists's intention been honest and their motive altruist, this could have been described as a laudable initiative. But like all other claims of Prachanda and his red flag-waving brigands, this misdeed too is calculated to mislead the people: The land that is being grabbed will be distributed not among Nepal's impoverished peasants but the Maoists and their fellow-travellers. Maoist motives apart, the land-grab raises two other issues. First, under the "peace arrangement" between the Seven-Party Alliance and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Prachanda's army of killers, kidnappers and extortionists was to have been demobbed under UN supervision and sequestered in camps. Obviously, the Maoist brigands are still at large and continue with their strong-arm measures without any let or hindrance. Second, the Maoists were supposed to have surrendered their arms, also under UN supervision, to ensure they do not persist with their depredations. Had the Maoists been stripped of their arms and ammunition, then they could not have indulged in widespread land-grabbing. Both the points underscore the flawed handling of the Maoists's "surrender" and it would not be incorrect to suggest that the UN's supervision leaves much to be desired. Indeed, apprehensions that were expressed when the arrangement was worked out are coming true, which is only to be expected given the UN's terrible and tainted track record in such matters.

It is entirely the Nepal Government's prerogative to decide how best to deal with property owned by Narayanhity Palace, the King and other members of the royal family. Mr. Koirala has set up a committee to work out the modalities of taking charge of royal property and till such time they are worked out, any attempt to seize what belongs to the monarchy can only be described as illegal and illegitimate. The interim Government must step in to stop this vandalism immediately; if it fails to do so, the Maoists will move on to grabbing factories and hotels in the name of their blood-soaked revolution. By then it will be too late to restore either law or order and Nepal will descend into chaos. Having tasted blood, the Maoists will devour all and sundry while those who continue to labour under the belief that they can be 'mainstreamed' will watch indulgently. Surely Mr. Koirala does not desire such a denouement of Nepal's transition to new political order.

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