Baluwatar area, the official residence of Prime Minister of Nepal, was virtually captured by Maoists. In the bizarre twists of events, it seems that Maoists not the SPA is in the helm of Kathmandu.
By Deepak Adhikari
Talks can’t break! No Monarchy! reads the placard on the girl’s chest.
Seeing is believing, they say. This turned out to be reminder for me when I visited the crowded summit talk venue of Baluwatar. As photojournalist Shailendra and I drove towards PM residence, an aggressive Maoist cadre blocked our way. We told him that we were journalists. Another one came and said that journalists should understand that the milieu is crowded and should not venture past. We nevertheless moved ahead.
Milling and cooing through the hordes of people in October afternoon, the hoarse sounds of sloganeering that demanded republic Nepal, declaration of date for constituent assembly election etc pierced through my ears. I was amazed at this unsolicited pressure coming from Maoists themselves, the party involved in dialogue to reach a peaceful resolution.
Maoist cadres make a human chain for the security of the talk venue.
It was as clear as mid day’s sun that most of the people gathered there were the comrades themselves, albeit in the guise of different organizations. That the whole nation is keenly awaiting an agreement to hold the election of CA is crystal clear. But, the comrades are hell bent on taking laws in their hands, directing people while the state’s security mechanism was just a reluctant observer–why do you bother when someone else does your job?
Not only women in unprecedented numbers, but also the school children were there to warn readers. They even didn’t know why they were there. So, Maoists are adept at using the innocents, be it in war or in compaign like this. Few militia-looking girls were reading slogans from pamphlets. Similarly, Rastriya Madhesi Mukti Morcha was there with the chirpy slogans of inclusiveness and equal rights.
Bishnu Giri shouts for help outside the talk venue after he was denied an entry.
But, the poignant part was the Maoists’ victims. They staged protests just outside the gate of PM residence. A wheelchair bound man who claimed that he was injured in a foreign country was also there to claim his share of cake. From this event, it is clerar that all and sundry were there.
At around, 3:30 pm, the Maoist coterie comprising the talk team and the chairman Prachanda made it to the venue. Like earlier, journalists were not permitted inside; they were seen hovering outside the talk venue. Now this is height of lack of transparency at a time when we talk of loktantra, civil rights and guarantee of press freedom.
Civilians pass through the talk venue after Moist cadres make a human chain for the security of the talk venue.
Nepal’s politics is very unpredictable. It’s hard to speculate on the outcomes of today’s talk. Going by the things, it is unlikely that the long awaited breakthrough will ring true.
All Photo by Sailendra Kharel. Visit his blog at pjsailendra.da.ru