If we want to solve the Terai issue, we must first try the criminals- from Nepalgunj, Rhitik Roshan kanda, Iraq kanda till now. This is the first step to say ‘we are sorry’. This is the first step to restore social harmony.
By Ram Bahadur Chhetri [This is not a real name]
1. Rhitik Roshan Kanda happened almost inscrutably and very swift. A few kids in Narayanghat started a rumor that the Bollywood heartthrob said something against Nepal, and the ‘offended’ people, like sheep falling from precipice, were hysteric. In Kathmandu, the worst element of society raised their head, and started to beat anyone who looked like a Madhesi. I was a regular surfer at Sajha.com at the time, and to my joy, almost all the visitors condemned those vandals who were attacking other unarmed, and weak people under the false pretext.
2. One impunity gives rise to another. Government failed to gauge the extent of how much deeply society has started to drift away from each other. The government didn’t act like a government, there was no guilty pursued, no punishment meted out, there was crime, but not punishment. What kind of civilization could that be? What could the logical next step be in the evolution of that society?
3. In the aftermath of Iraq massacre of 12 people, a logical next step was in front of us. Like a tiger that has tasted human flesh already, the mob that had tasted the perverse joy of beating fellow human started to beat the Muslims, free press, and other entrepreneurs. The government promised stern action, but there were none. The government exists in Nepal only to extract resources from outside and pour it in Kathmandu.
4. Like a sequence of numbers converging to a point, the next element in our social chaos came sooner than the first two. We had Nepalgunj mobbing. We all saw the mockery of state. We all saw the crime. This time the video shows that the state actively abetted crime.
Where does it take us? Where will we go from here? There will not be peace, no social harmony if we leave these criminals walk free and the innocent sufferers cringe forever. There should be trial(s), there should be judgment, there should be lessons and there shouldn’t be any forgiveness because forgiveness is not justice.
Last summer, as I returned from the Maoist affected area and was walking in Kathmandu, I had this eerie, ghoulish feeling; I couldn’t help thinking that the policemen who reportedly raped mother and daughter together in one of the western districts were still free, and they could be walking next to me. The Maoists who slit the throat of a young man in Myagdi were free, and they too could be walking next to me. In deed, our jails are either empty or broken or have innocent newborns along with their guilty parents, while the roads are full of criminals. And once you commit a crime, your inhibition lessens. You feel more comfortable committing other crimes: of more serious nature or of similar nature.
“The intellectuals in Kathmandu are incestuous bunch”, commented a friend of mine this summer, “They hang out with the ministers, or other government officials. The most they can ask is resignation of a minister. They will never ask for a minister to be sent to jail.” In deed, a rich man never goes to jail in Nepal as one report in Himal Magazine said.
If we want to solve the Terai issue, we must first try the criminals- from Nepalgunj, Rhitik Roshan kanda, Iraq kanda till now. This is the first step to say ‘we are sorry’. This is the first step to restore social harmony. I don’t believe the social harmony can be established by giving more seats in parliament alone or by some other cosmetic measures. Separate states bla bla are also mainly for powerful ones. Let’s also pursue the justice. Let us make our country strong by making everybody feel empowered. Let’s push the government for a big public trial-something like Nuremberg, something like Eichmann trials, let’s expose the racists in the government. During Eichmann trial, I remember reading somewhere else that the trial was long, even though Eichmann’s guilt was never in doubt, they called hundreds of witnesses. Because they wanted a full story to emerge, give the victims a moment of catharsis.
A public trial of such a big scale, possibly televised, will give a strong message to the racist officers, and victims: that there is a government, there is the law, and that there are a whole lot of countrymen who support such measure.