Living With Fear And Uncertainty

Prem Khatry


Nearly all the experienced and wise Nepali leaders keep saying that Nepal is going through the unending phase of ‘transition’ in the post-democracy period. But none specifies about its duration and plans to move forward. All of them have ready-made answers for the longevity of the vexing transition. The progress report of the governments in the recent past is far less than desired level of satisfaction. Since the people have been giving opportunities to one party or the other over the series of election, no major party can spare itself from the responsibility.

Crystal clear
This is more than crystal clear that democracy doesn’t mean the end of the rule of law and beginning of unending chaos in all spheres of life, rampant corruption and lack of transparency, closure of public schools one by one, an half empty parliament seats and all hues of syndicate with long political hands as saviors, longer than the laws of the nation. In this country, truckers can paralyse the transport system as a whole if the government asks them to ‘behave according to the existing law’. And, lo and behold, they ‘behaved’ rendering the law to the level of a qualified orphan!
The Nirmala Pant case, preceded by several others and followed by others, too, is a case in point. The case swept the whole country in a matter of days and created an unprecedented fear and apprehension. Rivers of tears, shock and months of uncertainty and several inquiry committees later, the case remains at square One. This is the first case where the PM had to grant an audience to the bereaved Pant parents who had driven all the way from Mahakali. Here though Bagmati took awful lot of time to be heard about the shocking loss of their beloved daughter.
A cursory or serious (depending on one’s interest) glance at the media on the nature of investigation at the early hours of the incident explains there have been faulty efforts – sincere or deliberate - to document the evidences from the beginning in Nirmala Pant case. Meanwhile, Nirmala’s class/school mates were reported too scared of walking the street, neighbours locked their doors and windows shunning even the flow of air and parents of school children kept guessing the motive of the culprit behind the heinous crime. Protecting the children has been their own and very own liability, the state had failed to do so. It doesn’t take time to think of the psychology of the family, friends and relatives of the short-lived youngster.
This is now time to reflect on what is happening to the girls and females countrywide. This is time for action from different perspective beyond the legal. Nepal police have one slogan that goes by unheeded regarding its deep meaning. It goes – When the police are civilian in uniform, the public is police without. The essence is: there has to be a pact, an understanding between the two in order to effectively manage the problems that emerge in the society and need a peaceful solution through the effort of the Pact. But this slogan comes up mostly during the appointment of the Chief or when an officer with integrity takes over the responsibility as the in charge of one bureau in a particular area. Then gradually, hot things begin to cool down.
There have been officers in Kathmandu whose courage has paid off at times. There are also officers who presided over the CIB and sailed successfully over the crime tide pinpointing the origin and evolution of famous cases. The public has shown high appreciation when such events surface up and courage and dedication meets them face to face. Often times it has been seen that political parties stand behind the criminal and give hard times to the government. In many cases, convicts go scot-free or stay for a very short span of time behind the bars.
One urgent need of the hour is to reinstate the slogan mentioned for the elimination of crimes – big or small – and give society a sense of relief. This is as urgent as our daily meal, morning exercises, daily rituals and now, our breath for life. If innocent kids are victimised by human monsters and we remain witness, society as a whole is doomed.
Few urgent actions can be listed for quick review here. First, schools – both private and public - should create and expedite the awareness campaigns universally. Police can play facilitator and provide few urgent tips for children. Special tips for growing girls should be designed right away. Second, legal experts can also be part of the package. In many cases, victims and their families do not report cases and crimes remain hidden. Third, people can create vigilant groups to monitor the behavior of some anti-social elements if there are in the locality. This could be communicated to the police on regular basis. Fourth, schools can organise security related seminars with parents, police and local activists.
Fifth, schools can also make a special register to monitor the behaviour of special students who can cross the track and cause problems. Finally, every tol or block in the ward of the VC or Metro vigilance is required. Residents now need to form special taskforce groups for the safety and other development issues. If VCs cannot afford, the Metros can appoint psychologists and psychoanalysts to engage them in special tasks related to youth temperament focusing on crime prone attitude. This generation is now living in a difficult situation. There is so much pressure from the western culture and way of life. Globalisation is at work not in education, technology, production and progress but in songs, dances, music, dress and consumerism.

Finally, people’s frustration can and should be contained in time. There has to be concerted, coordinated and focused action against all forms of crime on the ground and corruption on the top. Only then can we be sure of the beginning of the era of a clean and safe society against the one looking dirty and shameful at the same time. 

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