Monday, January 02, 2006

Calling off of ceasefire draws mixed reactions (nepalnews special)

By Pratibedan Baidya

The announcement of calling off of the unilateral ceasefire by the CPN (Maoist) on Monday has drawn mixed reactions.

Talking to Nepalnews, noted human rights activist, Subodh Raj Pyakurel, said, the “irresponsible behaviour” of the state was mainly responsible for the breaking off of ceasefire. “The Ministers and other people always stood against the peace process and compelled them (the Maoists) to return to war.”

Human rights violation as well as violence had decreased during the period of four-month-long ceasefire, said Pyakurel. Though we repeatedly urged the Maoists to extend the ceasefire through various for a, they did not comprehend it, he added.

Maoists should not have called off the ceasefire as they were earning positive response at the national as well as national as well as international level, said Pyakurel.

“We still urge Maoists not to adopt the path of violence and respect people’s human rights and right to live,” he added.

In his first reaction, Vice President of Nepal Bar Association, Sher Bahadur KC, said the breaking off of ceasefire had hindered the people’s aspiration for peace.

“We condemn the government’s passivity for not reciprocating the ceasefire,” said KC. “Nepal Bar will monitor the situation even after the termination of ceasefire,” he added. Chairman of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), Narendra Bajracharya, termed the latest development as “unfortunate” it will harm the tourism industry in the country.

“We were calling for the restoration of peace through dialogue and asking to both the sides to create a conducive environment for talks but the present situation has led the country towards violence,” he added.

The tourism industry-- that was facing sharp decline had witnessed some positive signs during the last four months--- is likely to see decline again if the war broke out in the country, said Bajracharya.

“We had urged the government to reciprocate the truce but it did not oblige, which is very unfortunate for the country,” he said. The executive committee of HAN is meeting on Wednesday to review the situation.

The government’s spokesperson, Minister of State for Information and Communications, Shrish Shumser Rana, could not be reached for comments despite several attempts. Officials at his office said the minister was holding meeting with vice chairman in the council of ministers, Dr. Tulsi Giri.

When contacted by Nepalnews, spokesperson at the Home Ministry, Gopendra Bahadur Pandey, said, “We haven’t yet seen the statement by the Maoists but we are providing adequate security and mobility of the security force is increasing.”

The government is making proper security arrangements regardless of breaking of ceasefire or not, he added.

Editor of Rajdhani daily, Kapil Kafle—who accompanied Their Majesties in their trip to Dhaka and Tunisia recently-- told Nepalnews that continuity of the ceasefire would have been in favour of all the Nepalis. Referring to Maoists’ statement which said the party made all probable efforts for the restoration of peace and continuity of ceasefire but was compelled to break it, Kafle said, “the latest Maoist decision has portrayed them as selfish as they did not care the greater interest of the people, which is not in their favour as well as they were getting popular support,” he added.

Regarding the government’s passivity to reciprocate the ceasefire, Kafle said, “The government should be positive to the Maoists’ call for peace and reciprocate it. The government should also be positive towards the 12-point understanding reached between the Maoists and the seven party opposition alliance for the interest of the common people but the government did not do so.”

“People will continue to suffer as both the sides-- the government and the Maoists-- did not care for the greater interest of the people,” he added. by Jan 02 06

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