The 23 November attack on the army base in Dang should answer Binod Bhattarai's query in "$70,000,000" (#69) about why the army needs the new weapons. $70 million may seem like a lot but it is nothing to save the country and it is innocent people from the Maoists. Of course, the purchasing process has to be monitored to avoid any corruption.
How long is it going to take for the government to realise that the Maoists are not our enemy, poverty is. We might be able to fight the Maoists and defeat them, but this is not the victory we want. We want victory over neglect and poverty. It might take decades, but at least we have to start working for it. The army is not the strength of a nation, it does not ensure peace and security. If you ask me, you will win my heart and mind if you open a good hospital in my hometown Urlabari in Morang and appoint few more doctors in the district hospital in Biratnagar.
The government lost its opportunity to solve the Maoist problem through peaceful dialogue due to lack of negotiating skills and poor representation on both sides. The Maoists lost their opportunity to prove themselves a responsible committed party devoted to national development by just showing hastiness to attack the army in Dang. The peace talks failed, but the people's perception towards them was slowly changing in their favour. This is one of their bloodiest suicidal mistakes. It will be their ruin.
Rajeeb L Satyal
Re: Binod Bhattarai's "$70,000,000". The police was incapable of solving the Maoist crisis because they were never trained to fight a guerrilla war. The army's role is not only to protect the country from outside enemies, but also from the enemies within, who try to disrupt democracy. It is therefore high time to deploy the army to counter the insurgency, and bring back economic confidence so that investments can start again.
Loyola College, Madras
The latest escalation of Maoist violence can be attributed to the government's intrasigence during the recent rounds of dialogue. It failed to understand that negotiations involve give and take. For Maoists to drop their demands for a republic and the formation of an interim government was tantamount to shooting themselves in the foot. If our government was expecting the Maoists to surrender their arms without receiving even nominal concessions, then it is living in a fool's paradise and jeopardising our collective future.
PK Campus, Kathmandu