After exhausting themselves, their nation, and all other possibilities, Nepal’s murderous Maoists and monarchists have finally pledged to give peace and democracy a chance, reports Christian Science Monitor correspondent Bikash Sangraula:
The two sides have also agreed to sign a comprehensive peace accord by Nov. 16, which will include provisions to compensate the families of those killed or maimed during the conflict, rehabilitate displaced civilians, and form a Truth and Reconciliation Commission to deal with cases of serious human rights violations.
Ordinary Nepalese appeared upbeat on Wednesday morning as news of the agreement screamed from the front pages of Nepal’s daily newspapers. “Congratulations to all for the success of peace talks,” wrote Raju Chhettri, general manager of Kawasaki motorcycle outlet in Kathmandu, in a text message forwarded to friends….
“The agreements have cleared all obstacles till constituent-assembly elections,” he says, referring to the body that will write Nepal’s new constitution. “After the elections are held, the rest of the steps for peace will be taken automatically.”
In fact, the violent insurgency first changed course in November 2005, when rebel leaders admitted, after nearly a decade of fighting state forces, that they could not secure political legitimacy through violence alone. The Maoists entered into a loose alliance with seven political parties to end the king’s rule. It was only after this alliance that the popular perception of Nepal’s Maoists shifted from a rebel group with a single-minded focus on violent revolution to a serious democratic political party.
Despite the long-overdue success, Nepal’s civil society leaders remained skeptical of Wednesday’s agreement. While acknowledging that the accord is likely to steer the country toward peace, human rights officials and observers were disappointed at the lack of specific legal protections for ordinary Nepalese.