Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Dhungel Case Should Not Hurt Peace

The growing political harmony and understanding among the political parties have hit snags after the government took the decision to recommend to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav to grant amnesty to Constituent Assembly Member Bal Krishna Dhungel who has been convicted by the Supreme Court of perpetrating the murder of Ujjain Kumar Shrestha - NC party functionary from Okhaldhunga district - at the time of conflict. Major opposition parties, including the Nepali Congress and CPN (UML), and human rights organisations have opposed the move of the government and asked it to review and reconsider the decision.

But the government does not seem to be prepared to budge from its stance and stands by what it has already decided. Prime Minister Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda have indicated that the decision is in line with the letter and spirit of the peace accord and the interim constitution, and have termed the opposition outcry on the subject as irrelevant and immaterial. Prime Minister Dr. Bhattarai met with NC President Sushil Koirala and CPN (UML) leader Madhav Kumar Nepal and asked them not to escalate the issue as this will foul the improved political atmosphere in the country.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has passed an interim order not to execute the amnesty decision till early next month as the issue needs to be reviewed and interpreted through the legal and constitutional lens. The order of the court should help settle the dust storm kicked off by the government decision for some time to come as any matter sub judice in the court should not be controverted and raised in the public forum since it would place undue influence in the process of the court hearings. The decision of the court should be honoured and respected in upholding the rule of law and judicial independence - the key fundamentals of a democratic system.

It would be in order to mention that the government should not have taken the decision on such a disputable issue at a time when the political stakeholders had shunned their long standing differences for accomplishing the major tasks related to peace and the constitution. The signing of the seven-point deal by the political parties had set a new standard of understanding and relationship, which had also been hailed both within and outside the country. At this sensitive and important political juncture, no party concerned with the peace process should initiate any moves and counter moves to jeopardise the evolving positive environment in the country.


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