Netra Bikram Chand’s party is a raging fire which, if left uncontrolled, can burn everything to ashesThe people are still haunted by the trauma of the civil war, and the only option forward is dialogue.
The occurrence of regular blasts in and around Kathmandu contradicts the claim that Nepal has entered an era of peace and stability following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord in 2006. These gestures of dissatisfaction from a small section of the then Maoist rebels raises the question of whether the country has been freed from violence. Handling the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal requires dialogue. In the initial days after its inception, Chand’s politics didn’t seem to be as radical as it is these days. At a time when a majority of the people still question the need for his radical politics even after the nation has a new republican constitution to regulate it, Chand’s leadership feels the necessity to alter the mainstream political system and its actors.
With its agenda unclear, his so-called revolution stands in opposition to what the Nepali people sacrificed to gain a post-Maoist peaceful society. Now, peace is being threatened time and again due to a series of bombings and blasts. They have fuelled a sense of terror and horror among the public. The recent blasts—with four lives lost in the heart of Kathmandu—further reflect the peak of its aggressiveness.
Keeping in mind the security threats from the Chand-led rebel group, the government outlawed it as a rebel gang. Citing the reason that the Chand side rejected frequent proposals for talks for a peaceful settlement of the issue, the government took the giant step of disqualifying it as a party and labelling it as a criminal gang. Pursuant to the decision to outlaw the outfit, the government started capturing Chand's cadres across the country. This turned out to be a provocative element to incite Chand, who is also known as Biplab, leading to a series of blasts in the city.
The Nepali Congress, as a witness to the rebellious nature of the Maoist party since the beginning, opposed the move by the government. It pointed to a potential civil war as the move could anger the group, which is known to be equipped with arms. To a large extent, the Nepali Congress is right about its prediction. The government’s tug of war with Biplab will only be settled through dialogue or the readiness for a bloody war.
Baburam Bhattarai and Mohan Baidhya are two leaders closest in line with Biplab. It’s strange for Nepali citizens to see factions within the party that fought the war under the same language of ‘change’. Bhattarai experimented with his political ideology with the formation of the Naya Shakti Party and now his party has merged with Upendra Yadav’s Sanghiya Samajbadi Party-Nepal to seek a compatible political theory that fits both their ideas about an alternative discourse.
On the other hand, Baidhya seems rigid in his ideology of the Cultural Revolution. Yet, both factions preach peaceful and non-violent resistance against what they call the 'corrupt' and 'fascist' communist-led current government. Oftentimes, they are found suggesting to Chand to forsake the radical path for it is not as relevant currently in Nepali politics as it was during the war.
The bloody war cost many innocent lives. It remained a traumatic memory for all Nepalis. Any movement that resorts to the same grotesque form of war is unacceptable. Promises of peace and stability were made at the end of the war and after the sacrifice of over 17,000 lives. Sadly, these promises seem distant, following repetitive strikes, terrifying blasts and the daily fear for life that people live through. The tug of war between Biplab and the Nepal Communist Party-led government has threatened the people’s peace of mind and the state’s stability. The verdict of the common people demands an end to the perpetual wrestling between the two. It also necessitates the start of a dialogue, regardless of its immediate challenges, because the Nepali people have already sensed that Chand's party is a raging fire that, if not controlled in time, can burn everything to ashes by taking the path of civil war.
Thapa is pursuing a Master’s degree in English Literature from Tribhuvan University.