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Nepal: Dahal and the Peace Process:

Paper No. 6500                Dated 30-Sep-2019

By Dr. S. Chandrasekharan

On 26th September, in an usual note of contrition in a programme organized by the Human Rights Commission P.K. Dahal Co-Chairman of the Ruling Neal Communist Party declared to the people that he “takes responsibility for all the positive and negative implications of the insurgency.”  Will that mean that he takes full responsibility for the inordinate delay in the transitional justice also?

Just a few days earlier – on 15th September to be precise, Dahal declared to the Press that “some domestic and international forces were attempting to derail the peace process and use the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a tool to achieve that goal.  As is common with the politicians when they are in difficulties or trapped  they try to blame domestic and international conspiracies in order to extricate themselves from such embarrassing situation! The truth of the matter is that it is only Dahal and his cohorts who have been persistently and deliberately using delaying tactics to prolong the mechanisms that were put in place for transitional justice long ago as part of the peace process.

A decade long civil war that caused by one estimate over 17,000 deaths, was not a little due to Dahal and his comrades in the Maoist Communist Party.  Therefore the blame for whatever that had happened should be rightly taken by Dahal as the Chairman of the party who sponsored the insurgency.

It was in 2006 that a comprehensive peace agreement was signed and yet no tangible progress has been made on one important aspect and central to the peace process- that  was justice to the victims of the conflict.  As one of the victims who suffered severe torture and interrogation said – “We are not asking for any Government Job or money- We only demand justice for the suffering we faced”.

It took nine years for the Government to put in place mechanisms for transitional justice which was just not a component of the peace process but one “central” to the whole process.  The two commissions that were formed in 2015- the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Commission for investigation Enforced Disappeared persons did little so far except to collect the complaints. 

The two Commissions have been in limbo since April without any chairman or members in position and the Government is still dilly dallying with selections and the excuse given is that they have not been able to get suitable persons so far! The problem is that even the selection has been politicised.

It is now claimed by Dahal that his party- the ruling party and the Nepali Congress are on the same “page” and have a common voice for an early conclusion of the peace process.

The opposition Nepali Congress is equally to be blamed for not taking up the issue vigorously so far and now we are told by the Ruling Party that the opposition is also one with them to conclude the peace process as if the Nepali Congress was opposed to it!

The media attributes the delay to the lack of pollical commitment among leaders, but to me it looks that the process is being delayed deliberately by all the political leaders!

Surprising that there has not been sufficient international pressure to bring justice to the victims of the conflict and one can sense a feeling of great disillusionment among the victims whose numbers are also fast dwindling!

 

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