This is something rarely written for the Maoists; but their good-natured tactic of peaceful protest has earned at least a few good things for them. One of them is praise from people like me and one other is at least a little faith on ‘what they say’.
The Maoists top leaders said the protests would be peaceful. And, it went peaceful.
For normal citizens, there were of course troubles for they closed down the streets wherever they were protesting and also blocked all roads leading to the Kathmandu Valley for a day.
This meant that people suffered – but well less than what many suspected when the largest party with a violent past announced the stir.
On Thursday, they picketed Singha Durbar, the main administrative area of Nepal. The Maoists cadres poured into the valley from all around – in dozens of buses – as if there is going to be a war and that the side with greater number will win.
Singha Durbar had never been picketed; thus it was new and all around it are prohibited area [even journalists wanted to cross the line when they protested] but the Maoists did not tried to cross over.
Once on Thursday, there was a brief clash – police firing a few shells of tear-gas while Maoists tried to cross the line – but calmness returned soon.
And, most importantly for me, they did what they said! The leaders and cadres acted as a unit – not that leaders saying contradictory things and then cadres doing whatsoever they wanted. They looked like a party under leadership’s control.
A few stars for them also for turning the protest into ‘picnic’. They sang, danced and enjoyed on the streets – some of the film stars joining them.
One more praise for the Maoists for establishing a culture that strikes/protests might also be carried on without burning tyres or vandalizing public properties. And, that’s the best part and I hope all other parties would follow it when it comes their turn to protest.
But from Friday, their protest ended. What results would it produce? Looks like virtually nothing than a little amazement.
But seriously, I hope that the ruling coalition will take the protest to be flexible towards Maoists and that the Maoists will be flexible – enough from both sides to behave as an unit at least in constitution making and peace process.
Two rigid sides can not compromise; the compromise with one side rigid would not yield faith and long-term co-operation; thus I hope that both sides – ruling coalition and the Maoists should somehow agree on a few basic things including two hot issues – the constitution making and peace process and democratically solve issues arising during the deliberations on these issues.
Everyone knows: there is no alternative way! Everyone knows: they should someday unite! So sooner the better!