April 6 onwards, the Seven Party Alliance (SPA) has announced a four-day general strike and a ‘big’ rally. The government has vowed to foil the protest programs. What will happen?
The general expectations of mass are: the mobile services (or maybe telephone service) will be disrupted; the imposition of curfew and a few thousands people demonstrating with police using tear-gas, water cannons and latthis on them.
Minister of State for Information and Communication, Shrish Shumser Rana on March 31 said that the government could impose curfew and disconnect communication services if needed to foil the protest programs.
Home Minister Kamal Thapa has been aggressively spilling words against the SPA and the scheduled program expecting it to be violent because of involvement of Maoists. He has even warned of state of emergency in a television interview.
He claimed that the government has credible information of Maoist infiltration in the SPA-called general strikes in the capital and there was “high possibility of escalation of violence”. “If the situation goes out of control the government can declare a state of emergency in accordance with constitutional provisions,” he said.
Home Ministry has even asked the general people to avoid travelling to the capital as far as possible through an official notice.
The program has become an issue of pride for both the SPA and the government. If it is successful, the political parties trying to initiate a fight for democracy will win. If it is foiled, the government, especially ministers, would start announcing people are not supporting the SPA (and would claim they are for the King’s rule).
I can’t understand why political parties wanted to have a ‘big rally’ on the day of strike. How they expect their cadres and people to reach the rally. If they expect a large number of people would walk by a long way to join them, it seems unlikely. They could have first held a rally.
The government has previously imposed curfew to foil the protests so I see no reason why they wouldn’t see it ‘not needed’. To stop people from gathering, the only means the government seemed to have known is the communication so I am just waiting my mobile to stop working and my telephone line going dead for a few hours.