• Thursday 22nd August 2019

National Security: What Interest?

  • Published on: May 29, 2019

  • We cannot but go back to 1990. A movement for the restoration of multi-party democracy was launched in the country when the regime was deadlocked in talks with neighboring India which had imposed a unilateral blockade in the country. The success of the multi-party movement was simultaneous with the capitulation of the Nepali standpoint and the new regime charged with the drafting of a multi-party constitution and elections was soon to face an unprecedented movement in Kathmandu that targeted the police several of whom were publicly assaulted, tortured, killed and paraded on the streets on a pushcart. Reliable sources are on record stating that an exasperated Prime Minister K.P. Bhattarai who had rushed to the palace to tender his resignation had had to be calmed by the late king Birendra to take such incidents as part of governance and encouraged to cope. It wasn’t much later that a sitting Congress minister, Ram Chandra Paudel, lamented publicly that an intelligence machinery that kept the state up-to-date on the goings on at the B.P. Koirala residence in panchayat days had turned so inept as to turn government blind regarding major goings on within the country. The fact of the matter was that the security and intelligence machinery of state had been virtually compromised by political and partisan interests. This was to the extent that a constitutional monarch, merely a couple or so years later, who called attention of parliament with a question asking whether the Maoist movement was political, social or economic, was roundly rebuffed by parliament as monarchical intervention. The question, of course, remains unanswered as yet when the Biplav Maobadis spearhead a so-called Maoist movement 2.
    At time of the Maoist ‘people’s’ movement 1, The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML were firmly entrenched in government and the ‘people’s war’ caught the monarchy smack in between. The conclusion of that ‘war’ effectively sees the monarchy removed and the process of dismantling the state furthered in a ‘New Nepal’ that is now republican, secular and federated. Most importantly perhaps, the ‘Biplav Maoists’ face not only the Congress, which is now in the opposition but the CPN in government not only led by the former UML but also co-chaired by the Maoists who led the ‘people’s movement 1’. The Nepali Congress, the CPN-UML and what was deemed as the ‘fringe Left’ partnered the movement for the restoration of the multi-party system in Nepal which, in the name of democracy began the process of dismantling the state and compromising vital national institutions. It is by now generally conceded that the process was begun since then to dilute perceptions of national interests which the security agencies of a country are designed to protect. The success of the ‘people’s movement’ of 2006 has been at the cost of national institutions and interests that have virtually compromised our security institutions to the point that they have not been replaced functionally by the party machinery. The level of public awareness heightened against a non-functioning and institutionally handicapped ‘New Nepal’ fosters a public search for options which the remnants of the previous movement seek to fill with similar ideological compulsions. The exposure of their previous leaders as mere pawns of non-national handlers and their success in achieving government through the use of terror tempts similar strategies on part of the new revolutionaries. It is this awareness that prompt current government incumbents to use the state security machinery. In an environment where our rulers have diluted national interest as if that is their purpose in government, demanding professionalism from our security machinery which has been the target also of the dismantling process would seem verily unrealistic.


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