Letter to the editor from Abhaya Shrestha, Anamnagar
The news item titled "Forced bandhs and strikes bad for the Maoists", published in the Nepal Samacharpatra of last Monday [11 March] used the words "Maoists call for bandh from 2-6 April". Wasn't this more of an advertisement for the bandh? When even those of us who live in the capital were not aware that a five-day bandh had been called by the Maoists, how would people living in other areas know about it? Yet, because of this article, everyone will know about it a month in advance. This will create panic among the people even before the fact, will it not?
Sure, we would have found out about this sooner or later, but what I am trying to say is that this article served more as an advertisement calling for the bandh. Placing a bomb in a garbage container in Mitrapark, Chabahil, targeting civilians and torching a bus carrying commoners at 4AM on the first day of the nationwide bandh on 21-22 February have all only shown that the Maoists are nothing more than terrorists. Dr Baburam Bhattarai said they had made a mistake, asked for forgiveness and said that such acts would not happen again. But on 3 March, a day before they again called for a closure of educational establishments across the country on 4-5 March, another bomb went off in a remote village school in Sankhuwasabha district and killed a student. Is Dr Baburam again going to ask for forgiveness? Have people's lives become so cheap that the Maoists can just kill anyone and ask for forgiveness?
Legal action might still be taken when a stray dog dies but human lives have become very cheap. If the Maoists who commit these crimes are punished by the Maoists themselves, then perhaps the people will be a little happier. Have they been able to take action against corrupt leaders or corrupt government officials in the districts? Which ideology of Mao are they trying to implement by hurting innocent people? What are they trying to do by shaming the Nepali army? Isn't this more like teasing a hungry tiger? Let there be no more bandhs. If it is absolutely necessary to have them, then why not restrict their duration? This might be beneficial to both the Maoists and the people.