Structuring the Negotiation
Process for Conflict Management
Organised by Centre
for Studies on Democracy and Good Governance (CSDG)
2 December 2003
Paper Presented in the Seminar
Breaking the barriers and building
a bridge: A road map for structuring negotiation and peace
process in Nepal by Bishnu Raj Upreti (Download
full text as Zipped word file - 43.0 kb)
A one day seminar on Structuring Negotiation
Process for Conflict Management was organized by Centre
for Studies on Democracy and Good Governance in cooperation
with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung of Germany in Kathmandu on 2 December,
2003. Participants who gathered to discuss negotiation processes
for conflict management included prominent personalities from
various sectors including politicians, retired administrators
and human rights workers in Nepal. There were three sessions
to discuss the working papers and an inaugural session which
was expected to set the tone for the day's proceedings.
Achyut Bahadur Rajbhandari, executive director
of CSDG, welcomed the participants and highlighted on the background
of the seminar. "This is the third seminar on conflict
management organized by CSDG," he said. "The main
problem of the nation, Maoist violence, has terrorized people
and the development processes have been stalled. It is therefore
necessary to find out the resolution to the problem.
"In a democracy, it is said that dialogue
is the process to find out resolution of all conflicts. But
the parties in the negotiation need to be honest and sincere.
The government has accepted dialogue as a resolution of the
problems, so have the Maoists. But what is it that is keeping
both sides away from the table?" he asked. "We thought
that the dialogue process needs to be studied so that the process
itself is not a hindrance in the resolution. There are three
papers that discuss the various dimensions of the process. I
hope the participants show keen interest in the discussions
on the topics," Rajbhandari said.
The welcome speech was followed by the inauguration
of the seminar by Chief Guest of the function Hon. Nayan Bahadur
Khatri, chief commissioner of National Human Right Commission.
He lit a traditional oil-fed lamp signaling the beginning of
the seminar and said, "We have had to adopt to the conflict
management dimension very quickly." He was referring to
the formation of the human rights commission in a context where
the Maoist movement was already under way.
He highlighted the role of confidence building
as an essential aspect of negotiation to resolve conflicts.
"The present government had made some preparations, more
than the previous ones," he said. "However there was
a great deal of mistrust between both the parties leading to
the breakdown of the talks," Khatri said and diagnosed
the reasons of the breakdown as-non-adherence to international
norms and the code of conduct the negotiating parties had agreed
to and also the posturing of the two parties rather than indulging
themselves in negotiations of give-and-take. The two sides did
not even accept a human rights accord that the NHRC had submitted
to them, he said. "Facilitators were treated as messengers
rather than as navigators of the process. This has made international
mediation necessary. They can offer fresh perspectives when
tunnel vision inflicts the parties.
"Protracted negotiations is a daunting
task. Once negotiation is accepted by both the parties as more
profitable than other alternatives, only then they sit down
for talks. It should be realized that there is no viable alternative
to peace talks. The parties need to analyze their past mistakes
and ready themselves for new negotiations," he opined.
"Human rights needs to be respected by both sides and peace
negotiations initiated," Commissioner Khatri concluded.
Communist Party of Nepal- UML leader Bhim
Rawal's address followed. He said: We have been chased by war,
but we want peace. People are dying in the rural areas while
we talk about managing conflicts here in urban centres. This
is a paradox we are having to live with. We have been unsuccessful
in the past because we could not understand what the Maoists
were up to and the direction they were taking. UML had been
talking about seeking a resolution to the problem back in 2052.
But instead we are in a situation where we have ended up creating
more conflicts-within constitutional forces, not just with extra-constitutional
Until the King and the parties come together,
it is going to be difficult to resolve the country's problems.
Without resolving the conflict among the constitutional forces,
it is difficult to imagine the resolution of the conflict with
the Maoists. The King and the political parties have agreed
to stay within the Constitution and they should not move away
from that commitment.
Chairman of the session Pashupati Shumsher
Rana made his remarks after UML's Rawal: The seminar is timely
as it reflects the aspiration for peace of the whole Nepali
people. This third seminar on conflict resolution by CSDG, is
expected to discuss the negotiation process.
I was impressed by Upreti's paper where he
has stressed on two things-formation of all party government
and removal of barriers to peace. This is indeed very essential
for us to resolve the problem. Otherwise the challenge facing
the nation cannot be fought. Those responsible should not be
indulging in self-centered activities during this crisis. This
would create a fearsome situation for the nation.
Rastriya Prajatantra Party had called for
a national consensus to resolve the crisis in its third party
convention, and there still is no other way out. The RPP has
risen above its party interest to bring about a national consensus
and has even called for the resignation of the prime minister
of its own party. This is our resolve towards mitigating the
crisis. Statesmanship has become essential at today's juncture.
If we are not ready to accept this fact then it may as well
be that we close the door to our future.
The Chairperson's remarks ended the inaugural.
The working sessions that followed had a coordinator each to
manage the proceedings, the presenters to present the paper,
and a designated commentator to provide a critique to the paper.
Then came the floor discussions which saw a lot of animated
debate. But the discussions were more focused on posturing by
participants rather than trying to hammer out a framework that
could be helpful for future negotiations. Some were trying to
diagnose the causes behind the rise of the Maoists or intra-party
conflicts while others were warning about the crisis going out
of hand if problems were not solved. Very little, by way of
suggestions to the papers, was provided by the floor to structure
future negotiations to make them more fruitful. Nonetheless,
the excerpts of the comments are provided below for each of
the working session.
WORKING SESSION I
Coordinator: Nilamber Acharya
Paper: Enabling Actions for Negotiation Success
Presenters: Achyut Bahadur Rajbhandari and Major Karna Bdr.
Commentator: Pancha Narayan Maharjan
Comment by Pancha Narayan Maharjan
I see the paper through four perspectives. The first explains
the ground reality prior to the conflict, secondly, foreign
examples of conflict management have been analyzed, third, the
roles of different parties during negotiations and lastly, the
procedure of negotiation.
I like the detailing by the paper on the pre-conflict
ground reality. The failure of political parties and government,
bad governance, have been cited as the reasons for the Maoist
insurgency. I feel that it is also our attitude of looking at
others that is equally to blame for the insurgency. Even before
1996, in fact in 1991, the Maoists had pledged to wage the People's
War time and again. They had wanted to use the multiparty system
only as a means, not an end in itself, to their cause. But political
parties ignored the warning thinking that small parties would
be able to achieve nothing.
The paper should have used foreign examples
in two ways. One set of examples should have shown failure in
conflict resolution and the other successful cases. The Sri
Lankan problem began as a linguistic movement, not ethnic, prior
to 1950. Only after 1950 the discrimination against Tamils began.
By the 70s the problem took the violent turn. The Maoist issue
has no similarity with the Tamil problem.
Ethnic problems do exist in Nepal where the
Bahuns and Chhetris who comprise only 29 per cent of the population
have not made policies to suit the other 71 per cent.
Kashmir problem is unrelated with Nepal's.
Examples should have been more relevant.
The paper says that political parties have
been changing their preferences regarding Maoists. I would rather
like to say that they have not been looking at the problem in
a more serious light. They have been trying to use the Maoists
all along for their own ends.
The paper also says that political parties
would prove to be effective partners in pressuring both the
negotiating parties as they know both the Maoist and the government
nuts and bolts, but it looks like parties do not know their
own organisations well enough for them to carry out that role.
The authors appear to be vouching for capacity building of negotiators
and isolating the Maoists at the same time. This will not solve
Talking about ballets is good, but the way
of using the ballets needs to be taken into account. It needs
to be a democratic process.
The government should be able to come out with an alternative
to the constituent assembly. If it can do so through an amendment,
it should be able to convince the people about the effectiveness
of such an amendment.
Nilamber Acharya: We have
talked about bad governance and the parties' irresponsibility,
but we have not talked about the international dimension of
the movement and the ideological dimension. The paradox is such
that multiparty democracy came in 1990 and communism went out
from the Soviet Union at the same time. Nepalese political parties
and communists may have thought that ultra-leftism had died
and that communists needed to moderate their stance. What I
am saying is that did the 1991 elections not come too quickly
after the fall of the Panchayat? Shouldn't parties have worked
together at least for some time?
Hari Bansh Jha: The theoretical dimension
of the paper is excellent, but the practical aspects appear
questionable. Neither is the paper clear on the preventive measures
of conflict management. The paper only talks of curative aspects.
I feel that preventive aspects need to be given their due attention.
There are issues like ethnic issues that could take a serious
turn later on if preventive measures are not taken. Similarly,
language and regional issues need to be taken up.
Damodar Gautam: Is the root of the
Maoist problem purely national? Maoists themselves have written
about their failure in Latin America and other places and that
Nepal was found to be a fertile land for international communism.
But, still, the issues they have raised even in the domestic
context are valid.
There are two papers that have come out with
regard to the Maoist conflict-- the government position paper
and the Maoist paper. If we are trying to understand the ground
reality, we should have tried to analyse the two papers and
discussed them here for a more fruitful input from our side.
The solution is this. First, form an all-party
government. The mandate of such a government at this moment
should be to create the environment for talks, restore peace
and hold elections.
Finally, I find relevance of seminars of this
type as it educates us.
Raman Raj Mishra: Nepalese opinion
is being divided into two. Victims of Maoists (or victims of
government atrocities) have one type of opinion and we who are
not affected have another type of opinion.
We have not had a democracy that is good for
the people, but something that has been imported.
Nepali Maoists want the constituent assembly.
Is it their genuine demand or is it just a tactical ploy for
dialogue of a movement of international dimensions? The Indian
Maoists don't demand the constituent assembly as they already
have a constitution drafted by such an assembly? Why are they
fighting in India, then?
There is also the geopolitical question. Even
the Nepali Congress had to come out with the Melmilap policy,
because of geopolitical considerations.
Within the parties themselves, there are varying
commitments to multiparty politics.
Lastly, is this actually the time for dialogue?
Every political force appears to think that this is the time
which is conducive for them to come to power.
Shastra Datta Pant: Democracy requires
a system that allows democratic behaviour. The economic, cultural
and political capacity of the people needs to be increased to
make the system truly democratic. Political parties have not
been able to concentrate on this.
We are looking at the Maoist issue only surfacially.
Going deeper shows that national policy was never formulated
and even less followed in the past multiparty years, only partisanism
was practised. This made development even more lopsided. This
was what led to the Maoist movement. But no political party
is prepared to accept this even now. The Maoists on their part
have been suppressing the very poor people they want to fight
Students, teachers, women and other organisations
have not been helpful in unifying national opinions. Even within
parties these organisations have been competing for power. They
think that throwing stones and holding strikes will give them
jobs, not adhering to professional ethics.
Dev Raj Dahal: We are trying to restructure
even the consensus that we agreed to in 1990 due to contesting
claims on various forms of legitimacy--traditional, electoral
and revolutionary and creating what donors call "democracy
vacuum" in the country. The "reform agendas"
put forward by five agitating parties combine, the government
and the CPN-Maoists try to see beyond the constitutional status
quo. A new consensus has to be built on the synthesis of these
agendas for the future. The mechanism for peace needs to be
democratized. The critical mass was state-centric yesterday
and even the opposition. But today a critical mass is being
produced outside the state system, espousing the multiple values
of society. Our state is becoming de-nationalised. Donor support
has become so necessary that elections will not help one to
stay in power if donor funding does not come in. Also there
should be integration of varying sub-groups of critical mass
into the state system. A new democratic socialization espousing
the value of democratic peace is necessary. Participation of
stakeholders is another aspect.
Madhusudan Gorkhali: Maoist problem
did not just come in one day. The Constitution does open up
the way for bringing about massive changes through new laws.
But apart from a few regulations to suit the needs of those
in power, new laws needed for democracy to function were not
People had lost the traditional moorings and
the new village institutions that came up were more of a place
for the fraudulent and deceitful to congregate rather than a
place that resolved the villager's problems.
People have stopped their demand for basic
needs. They just want peace today. We need to abandon our minor
selfish interests for their sake.
Bharat Pokharel: The paper was written
three months ago. It came on an individual's name earlier, but
today it has come out in an institutional name. It has not been
updated even on minor things like spelling mistakes.
There are two classifications in one paragraph.
Why? Remote and remotest areas have been identified in Nepal
by the paper. How did you classify that?
Kashmir conflict is not relevant to Nepal.
There are works that have mentioned Nepal and other situations
that are similar in relevance. They have not been mentioned.
The paper is dependent on imported ideas of the likes of Galbraith.
On page 11, you say there is no alternative
to ballets. But Maoists say, power comes from the barrel of
a gun. And, apart from time and space, there is an alternative
Bidur KC: The government must be legitimate
for a successful negotiation. The present government is not
even trusted by its own party. For legitimacy, elected governments
are necessary. But for elections to take place, an all-party
government is necessary.
Good governance is a must as all the problems
are the result of bad governance.
Shyam Prasad Adhikari: Maoist documents
and government papers should have been studied to come out with
a proper diagnosis for today's discussion. The paper does not
talk about diagnosis, only remedies. Such approaches are more
hindrance than help.
The paper talks about our inability to study
successful cases in other countries. That is true. But overall,
the paper appears to mislead more than lead. National debate
is needed before negotiations. Then restore peace and then work
hard to meet the commitments of the negotiations.
Shanker Pokhrel: The presentation and
discussions show that we are going out of track from the main
problem. Conflicts were there before also, but the problem today
is violence. Maoist doctrine is one which believes in violence.
Why could parties not change the Constitution
nor mobilize the army? Monarchy's role in escalating the conflict
has not been discussed. I agree that the parties too had their
weaknesses in not overcoming the problem.
Let us not discount the sincerity of Maoists
in negotiations. Why blame the Maoists only for taking up arms?
The monarchy had done it to unify the country, the Nepali Congress
or the UML were all responsible for taking up arms at one time
or other. Therefore, we should trust the Maoists when they say
that they will lay down their arms.
Social conflicts need to be resolved before
the violent conflict is resolved. We should not trust external
negotiators as they have their own agenda.
We have not brought the conflict victims forward
in conflict management.
The two ways to resolve the conflict-- political
forces within the Constitution and the King should come together.
If the King does not come, other forces should come together.
Otherwise, conflict cannot be resolved.
Anuj Mishra: Conflict is getting multipolar.
We need to make it bipolar. The Monarchy has not been addressed
here. Constitutional forces should come together. If political
parties can come together with the monarchy, why not with the
A government including the King, the parties
and the Maoists need to be formed to come out of the problem.
We cannot sidetrack democracy.
Ghananath Ojha: The Maoist 40-point
demand and other later documents and government responses should
have been put together and analysed and presented today for
discussions. These theoretical concepts provided in the paper
are available in books also. Similarly, the examples should
have been relevant.
If the Maoist problem is part of the international
movement, our perspective and remedies should be similar. National
issues can be tackled nationally.
Regarding Shanker Pokhrel's comment about
Maoists being transformable, we believe that negotiation can
transform the negotiating parties, if transformation was not
expected, there would be no negotiation.
Balram Kapad: The paper should be written
in the layman's language. It talks about failure of government.
Mahendra Lawoti has written about minorities being completely
excluded in the past 12 years. He also sees the Madhesis as
minorities. Madhesis have not been included in negotiations.
Negotiations should take place between those
with full powers, not with those with delegated powers.
The priority is to have a peaceful and sovereign
country. Other priorities can follow.
Shambhu Shumsher Rana: The present
status of Maoists and also the unified command concept followed
by the government should have also been included in the paper.
Various Indian books have come out regarding the Maoist conflict.
They should also have been included.
The road map or the action plan should have
been there for us to discuss.
Parashuram Ghimire: In 2007, the Ranas,
the Nepali Congress and the King came into agreement. India
was behind the agrement. In 2046, two parties were there to
negotiate. Even Indian involvement was seen through a blockade
they had imposed on Nepal. Today, monarchy, Maoists and parties
are tussling for power.
We are talking of preventing the external
hand, forgetting the history of its continuous presence. Therefore,
I call on the UN to help us in the negotiations.
Bishwamani Pokhrel: I want to know
who wrote the paper and in what context?
Reply by Rajbhandari
I will answer to the technicalities and then leave the rest
to Karna Thapa to answer. The paper was written three months
ago because the seminar was to have been organised then. Now
we do not have the author to reply to the queries regarding
that. We have mentioned the social problems and political problems
that have given rise to the Maoist violence. Still there is
room for dialogue if the constitutional forces are willing to
resolve the problems.
Reply by Karna Bahadur Thapa
Prem Singh Dhami, four days before he had died, had said that
the parties will never come together on the Maoist issue. They
will cry out only when their own workers are killed. And that
has proved to be prophetic.
There is no confusion in the Maoist vision,
only us on the state-side have. Regarding prevention to future
violence, socio-economic issues have been dubbed as minor by
Maoists in Hapure.
Foreign run media's role in playing against
the national interest has been continuous. They have come to
erode the nation-state. You need the media, but no one has the
right to work against the national interest.
The army will not go to kill their fellow
citizens when liars and deceivers want them to do it. For them
to be moved out of their barracks, the constitutional provisions
had to be activated and Article 118 was the only way to do so.
They were mobilized when 118 was activated.
Nilamber Acharya: The paradox is that
Nepal was to lead the international movement of the Maoists,
something more prosperous countries could not. The Maoist problem
can only be resolved with democracy. It is because of divided
democratic forces that non-democratic forces raised their head.
So democracy has not failed. Just because the Maoists have succeeded
a little should not mean that they are right. To understand
the Maoists one should look at how the Maoist workers are being
cultured and reared. Maoist state structure also needs to be
studied if the problem is to be resolved.
For a resolution, democratic forces should
unite and talk with the Maoists. The King had agreed to vest
sovereignty in the people but if the King breaks his word, how
long will the people remain committed to the constitutional
A peace mission compromising all the political
forces and organisations should be formed which can handle the
peace issues. A permanent secretariat will help in that direction.
Coordinator: Madhav Kumar Nepal
Paper: Identifying Alternative Negotiating Procedures
Presenter: Subodh Pyakurel
Commentator: Shivahari Dahal
Comment by Shivahari Dahal
The paper is more professional than academic. The paper praises
democracy that opens up many options for resolution during times
of conflict. It also says that certain democratic features such
as participation have not been practiced. The author also looks
at the sources of conflict and then says that negotiation helps
resolve conflict in a sound manner. He has also described the
elements of the state structure like, autonomy, decentralization
The paper would do better still, if the root
cause had been defined, not just the general causes. Until the
root cause is identified, resolution is not possible. Is it
the state structure or traditional institutions that have been
the root cause.
It has to be made clear that the reason political
parties took up arms in the past has not been resolved yet.
So the Maoists appear to be going after the same end by taking
The state structure needs to change after
the negotiations and that should be the agenda in the coming
talks. Ours is a state in the making, it is not yet a state.
The society is yet to democratize. And, parties are not the
only culprit in mismanaging everything.
The paper only looks at the Maoist conflict
but not the trilateral conflict among the parties, the Maoists
and the King.
Madhav Kumar Nepal: At the moment there
is no basis for the dialogue process to start. If the King moves
ahead in spite of that, it is not going to be good for the country.
An all-party government, however, is different. It will be a
legitimate government that can take the country towards a new
direction with restructuring.
Bharat Pokhrel: The paper needs corrections
on data e.g. literacy rate. If NC and UML are center-left, who
is in the centre? What about RPP and Sadhbhavana?
What does the author mean by 'ground zero'?
The paper also has inconsistencies in citation. Who do you include
in the 'untouchables' category? The bibliography should include
only the citated material and not more.
Shambhu Shamsher Rana: The South African
model for public-private partnership is relevant for us also.
While talking about the three parties to the conflict, you need
to include also other actors, like the donors. The state has
yet to fight the ideological battle with the Maoists. The Unified
Command concept is a Peruvian example.
Balram Kapad: The unification of Nepal
made Nepal a country, not a state as we could not include all
the ethnic groups. Secondly, seminar paper writers are only
urban dwellers and they talk about redistribution of land in
rural areas which is valued far less than urban property. And
they do not discuss urban property in their redistribution scheme.
Third, we have been talking about decentralization since 2018.
What is wrong with federalization? Why do we not discuss it?
Shanker Pokhrel: Democratization did
not take place the way it should after the 1991 constitution
was drafted. There was too much competition during the transition
phase. The Nepali Congress initiated Congressization.
Regarding the army, Nepali Congress never
wanted to make the army a part of the state. Nepali Congress
and UML had a rivalry in making appointments to the constitutional
bodies. This made the bodies partisan. The court's contradictory
decisions have also been one of the reasons of conflict. Therefore,
one of the alternatives should be to restructure the state.
Raghu Pant: It is not timely at the
moment to search for a negotiated settlement. This is a time
of war. When the two sides are fatigued, then dialogue would
make sense. The Maoists have been talking of a forward-looking
resolution while the King is trying to usurp power like in the
Panchayat days. He is seeking the support of the political parties
Until the Maoists realize that resolution
is possible through dialogue, there is no use in talking about
negotiation. Even in the best Indian state regarding land reform,
West Bengal, Naxalites still exist. They will have to forego
the belief that violence can achieve their ends.
Anuj Mishra: The paper is devoid of
the geo-political element and the monarchy. Mahakali treaty
had to be signed by a nationalist party. Similar is the case
with donor dependency. All this has to do with geopolitics.
Calling for the civil society's role in governance can also
mean donor-driven mentality.
I remember a concert by a rock band that represented
all the ethnic groups which had the stadium jam-packed, the
largest gathering of people in one spot after 1990. Non-territorial
federalism makes no sense.
Shyam Kumar: In a multiparty democracy,
it is the minority that rules the majority, not vice versa.
Conflict management is a management topic and politicians are
not good at managing things.
Bidur KC: Politicans need to learn
their lessons. Political inefficiency is one of the main causes
of the conflict. The parties need to come together.
Raman Raj Mishra: We need to think
of the new problems now as new ones have started coming up.
But we are still talking about old problems. How do we employ
those being employed by the conflict, after it is over? The
victims of violence and rehabilitation etc. should be discussed.
In the past, the sword resolved the conflicts
in the Rana days. After 2007, the Ranas gave up their powers.
King Birendra too gave up his absolute power. Why can't we do
the same with the Maoists? We could either suppress them or
let them go and do what they want with the state.
On the one hand, we criticise the politician,
while on the other, we continue taking them as our leaders.
This is not helpful.
If parties cannot manage intra-party conflict how can they unite
for the national cause?
Instead of looking at old issues about how
the Maoists came about, it is time we analyze the problems that
have come up in the past eight years.
Pancha Maharjan: Criticising the party
means that it is an opportunity to reform. It should not be
taken otherwise. You have cited 'failure of democracy' as the
reason for the power vacuum. It is our attitude that has failed,
not democracy. Elections are a corrupt process and need to be
taken care of through the Constitution. This should not be taken
as a criticism of the party. You say that complex administrative
processes leads to corruption. In fact, the complexity was manufactured
for corruption. I do see the feasibility of the Ethnic Assembly,
through proportional representation. Intellectuals have been
attacked for not going against the King. I have written against
the monarchy and Hachchetu has done it too. It is only the parties
that do not follow up. So stop attacking intellectuals.
Shastra Datta Pant: The seminar is
out of place as it was conceived during the ceasefire and should
be treated as such. Parties in developed countries have caught
up with popular aspiration in developed countries and they always
have their ear to the ground. But in Nepal, Nepali political
leaders think that they are the people themselves and not just
In Nepal, the Bihari practice of politicising
students and engaging them in destructive activities is rampant,
not in developed countries. Also people are continuously brought
out in the streets wrenching them away from their own work.
Politicians have been taking advice from foreign countries in
every party. Civil society organisations too have been taking
their cue from foreigners.
Shyam Prasad Adhikari: The Maoists,
the parties and the King appear the most prominent actors in
the conflict. The author has not been able to play the role
model in spite of his involvement in a human rights organisation.
Achyut Bahadur Rajbhandari: The more
alternatives you have, the wider the field of negotiations.
Pyakurel has listed some points, the Maoists have presented
their 40 points. One cannot discuss pointwise, so they need
to be grouped. The next step is to see what is necessary-legal
reform, policies or structural changes? If it is possible to
do something it is negotiable, if not, then it is not negotiable.
Pyakurel has tried to do his bit.
Shivahari Adhikari: Pyakurel has given
Reply by Subodh Pyakurel
- The paper is just an initiation of the
discussion, not a prescription. The paper only talks about
conflict transformation, not management.
- Parties are criticised as we expect some
- I identify one as left of centre when I
see someone talking of social welfare.
- I have used untouchability just the way
Bhattachan has used.
- The Parliament should be making the parameters
of proportional representation, not anyone else.
- I believe that we need to compete with
the Maoists in our social transformation agenda.
- No matter how much we criticise the King,
it is our own behaviour that has made the King what he is.
- Naxalites have not been active since land
reform was initiated in W. Bengal.
- I recommend non-territorial federalism
as territory comes with ethnic and other big issues that cannot
- Political parties could not go to the village
but the German envoy could.
Madhav Kumar Nepal: If we identify
four tendencies then it becomes easy to understand what needs
to be done-- fundamentalism, extreme-left, right of centre and
left of centre. Today, power is hung between extreme leftists
and extreme rightists. The prescription should have been left-of-centre
Maoists have taken up ethnic, regional, gender,
and other representational issues. What are the solutions? We
need to find them to come to a successful resolution. The main
root lies in poverty and discrimination. This is where the ultra-leftists
were able to advance as they capitalized on the foreign assistance
and domestic sympathy.
The paper blames the parties as the main culprit.
This is utterly untrue. It looks like the paper itself has been
influenced by NGOs. NGOs themselves are influenced by the foreign
aid they receive.
Coordinator: Ridayesh Tripathy
Paper: Framework for a Systematic negotiating procedure
Presenter: Bishnu Upreti
Commentator: Sushil Pyakurel
Ridayesh Tripathy: Conflicts were always
there. It is violence that has worried us today. Nepal's unification
was an attempt to impose a culture on others. The state is unitary
in nature. No Madhesis are employed by the army. We have multiparty
instead of non-party system, but the state is still unitary.
So the violence is timely as it will wake up people from their
We are against land reform because it did
not redistribute land to the landless. Landless were brought
from elsewhere and given land.
The Tharus used to run away when a policeman came, but today
Tharu women are very much part of the People's Militia.
The good news is that secessionist movements
have not taken place thus far. The centralized state needs to
federalize. Unless these causes of conflict are resolved, future
conflicts will always remain.
Violence may have been used to climb the rungs
of power by some. It will therefore be necessary for them to
climb down through the same route.
Comment by Sushil Pyakurel
The paper is an academic exercise. There is no dispute regarding
the principles, but when it comes to practice, we do not know
what to do. We see the King being taken as a power, but there
is no way of democratizing the monarchy. How do we constitutionalize
monarchy? The paper does not touch upon the issue.
The Maoists gave up many of their demands
and came down to just one- the constituent assembly. But the
King has not budged. He has only said that he will be a constitutional
I agree that there was no sincerity with regards
to the last peace talks from which both the parties backed out.
When the Maoists came for dialogue, everyone rushed to welcome
them. This is our weakness-- of going after those who are about
to reach the status of power. We tend to forget and forgive
their past mis-doings.
The government is saying that the dialogue
door is open and at the same time issuing the Interpol Red Corner
notice in their name. Does this all not show that we want to
continue civil war?
We need to strengthen rule of law. Prescriptions
should be practical. We need to make parties accountable, the
army accountable, but not marginalise them.
Bharat Pokhrel: The monarch's democratization
is not possible. There is fear in inviting external mediators
as they apply the formula of "steal it or I will call you
In Nepal, religious organizations are not
strong enough to exert pressure for peace negotiations.
Karna B Thapa: In a negotiation, qualified people are
involved, information is taken from think tanks and events are
well analyzed anticipating their consequences. We have neither
think tanks nor even a strategic studies center. This is the
reason we don't have security analysts.
The army is involved in conflict mitigation
because Maoists have used hard power against innocent people
and targeted development infrastructures.
External involvement erodes the national policy
space. Some foreigners are fearful of the success of the Unified
Command concept-the reason that inspired visits by Pashupati
Rana and Madhav Kumar Nepal to India.
We must, however, understand that retreat
of the state from society does not enhance the security of the
people. We need national consensus to transform the conflict
and a Peace Council to facilitate the process.
Anuj Mishra: We are looking for a sovereign space but
somebody is guiding our politics from behind the scenes. There
is an attitude of all the forces to look to the south. Without
allaying India's fears, can we go ahead with the peace process?
In every political change in Nepal, India is entangled. India
is also a fulcrum for the equation of our political forces.
They derive their legitimacy from India. This is the reason
political parties are not coming in one place. If this is the
case, we must expose the hidden agenda.
Shyam Kumar: We need parimary data for conflict analysis.
Why are the Maoists, instead of the Nepal Sadbhavana Party,
are expanding into the Tarai? What are the causative factors?
Raman Raj Mishra: When political parties themselves are
locked into conflict how can they forge consensus with others?
Reply by Bishnu Upreti
We must start from something rather than becoming pessimistic
about the national scenario. I have talked about conflict management
rather than security. India's intention is not good regarding
this. During crises in Nepal, India seeks concessions.
We should also see policy options during
conflict management. There should be systematic analysis of
the conflict in Nepal to seek its resolution. The conflict got
escalated in Nepal when political parties did not play a constructive
role following the declaration of the state of emergency. Now,
there is a new situation.