Coalition partners ask Deuba to release report on Dhami disappearance casePrime Minister Deuba seems to be trying to dismiss the incident in order not to offend India, analysts say.
Leaders of the ruling coalition on Monday expressed dissatisfaction at the government delay in releasing the investigation report on the disappearance of Jaya Singh Dhami in the Mahakali river last month.
The leaders, at a meeting called by Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba at Baluwatar to discuss Cabinet expansion and government plan to replace the past government’s budget ordinance, urged the government to release the report at the earliest.
Dhami, a youth from Darchula, went missing in the Mahakali river on July 30 after the Indian border security personnel allegedly dismantled an improvised cable crossing across the river when he was attempting to cross the river.
“At the meeting I told the prime minister to make public the investigation report on Dhami’s disappearance and resolve the issue through talks with the Indian side,” said Janata Samajbadi Party leader and former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai.
Besides Bhattarai, the party’s chairman Upendra Yadav was also present at the meeting.
Leaders of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist Centre) Narayan Kaji Shrestha and Dev Prasad Gurung, and leader of the newly-registered CPN (Unified Socialist) Beduram Bhusal had also questioned the prime minister about the government’s delay in releasing the probe report and resolving the issue, which they said is linked to Nepal's national interests.
One of the leaders, who demanded that the government release the report without delay, told the Post that the government is not taking the issue seriously. “The setting up of the probe panel itself seems to be a perfunctory act of the government,” the leader told the Post. “It seems that Deuba is trying to dismiss the incident. If that is the case, it won’t be acceptable.”
Although the prime minister told the meeting that the report would be released soon, an official at the Home Ministry said the report should be released on Tuesday but no preparations have been made yet.
“I don’t think the report will be out tomorrow,” said the official, asking not to be named.
Joint secretary at the Home Ministry Janardan Gautam, who leads the probe panel, could not be reached for a comment.
Instead of releasing the report, the Deuba government had announced a Rs1 million compensation for Dhami’s family.
Meanwhile, some political analysts and observers say dissatisfaction is brewing among the coalition partners over the performance of the Deuba government and they are using the Dhami disappearance issue to put pressure on the prime minister.
“It seems that Deuba doesn’t want to offend India by remaining silent about the Dhami case,” said Jhalak Subedi, a political analyst. “But the left parties in the coalition will find such a stance untenable amid growing public criticism of the government inaction.”
Others, however, say the issues raised by the coalition partners are genuine and the government’s poor handling of such a sensitive issue would adversely affect the image of the coalition.
“Actually, they wanted to show that coalition partners were sensitive about the disappearance,” said Krishna Pokharel, a professor of political science at Tribhuvan University. “But nothing is going to happen unless India cooperates in the investigation.”
Another political analyst Puranjan Acharya also said the coalition leaders were fed up with the lacklustre performance of the new government.
“The people are anxious over the government's inaction and sluggish nature and so are the coalition partners,” said Acharya. “It’s a common move on the part of the coalition leaders to create pressure on their government because it is a very sensitive issue.”