Nepal Prime Minister's Address to the Nation, November 28,2001
In the aftermath of the wave of attacks carried out by Maoist insurgents accross Nepal on November 23, 2001, the government imposed a State of Emergency on November 26. Two days later, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Dueba addressed the nation outling the reasons for the imposition of emergency and the government's response to the Maoist attacks. The full text of the address is reproduced.
Today our country is passing through a difficult situation. Terrorists by the name of Maoists have terrorized Nepalese life through killings, violence and bloodshed. Despite this, we invited them to the negotiating table for a peaceful resolution to our differences and country’s problems so as to give an outlet to the problem. In fact the talks with the Maoists and the efforts for peaceful solution were not only the desire of the government but also of the entire nation.
However, the Maoist group has taken to the path of causing serious setbacks to the fabric of the national unity and security by means of violence, terrorism and killings. We showed utmost flexibility to bring the Maoist group that was expanding its activities through violence for the past six years into the mainstream of politics. But the Maoist terrorists totally ignored our honest efforts and people’s wishes. At a time when our view that counter-violence cannot be an answer to violence has suffered a setback, the government has arrived at a decision of mobilizing all its security agencies to control such activities.
We patiently discussed their demands and requests with a hope that we could bring them into the mainstream of Nepali politics and society through talks based on mutual trust. And we made efforts to give space to the possibilities of peace and building of a violence free civilized society. In course of facilitating and building a more congenial atmosphere for talks, we even fulfilled their many demands. Though they treated the Nepalese people and democracy as enemies, the government as a propagator of democratic culture did not behave with them as an enemy. Efforts were made to bring those who had lost their ways onto the right path.
Even after an understanding was reached to enter into talks by halting violence and murder and even after the talks got off the ground, the Maoists continued to engage in different criminal activities. They looted food grains from farmers and indulged in violence. They made assaults on religious ceremonies and faiths of people. They kept on attacking the institution of monarchy—the symbol of faith of Nepali people, the constitution, multi-party democracy and basic human rights. They made attempts to disturb social goodwill and weaken national unity and integrity.
We were optimistic of the possibility of hammering out a peaceful solution. But the group called the Maoists perpetrated violence and bloodbath unparallel in the history of peaceful Nepal. The country was optimistic of arriving at a certain conclusion through peace talks. Three rounds of talks were already held and we were in preparation for the fourth round of talks. But the Maoists unilaterally broke the dialogues and peace efforts all of a sudden. Consequently, the nation once again has bogged down in a vicious cycle of violence, killings and terrorism.
In an utter disregard to the government’s efforts and people’s goodwill, the Maoist terrorists carried out attacks on the innocent people, political party workers, civil servants etc. They even attempted to hurt the national integrity by assaulting the security personnel including police and army.
His Majesty’s Government has decided to declare a State of Emergency in the country to prevent the worse situation in the country from being further deteriorated. Maintenance of peace and order by mobilizing security agencies has become our foremost duty and necessity. Though the declaration will cause some discomfort to the people, the inconvenience caused by declaration is minimal as compared to the one caused by terrorism widespread in the nation.
I am fully convinced that all Nepali people, political parties and the civic society is aware of the fact that a government accountable to the people won’t take such a difficult decision if there was no unaffordable situation in the country.
I am also fully convinced that all political parties and every section of the civic society will extend their cooperation to the government in the present difficult situation. The government will be fully alert on civic liberty even if emergency has been declared. Necessary legal provisions will be made so that the civic society is least affected. But there may be still some inconvenience in during emergency. In the present situation, all Nepali people should be united for the sake of public interest, monarchy, the present constitution, multi-party democracy and the welfare of Nepal and remain committed to root out terrorism.
I am of the belief that attention of the nation and the people will be focused on peace and order rather than on discomfort, which is only for short time. At this time of great challenge, which the country is passing through, the government is with the people because it is not separate entity aloof from the people. It is the foremost duty of the government to provide security to the life and property of the people.
I make an earnest appeal to all Nepalese brothers and sisters to focus our power and attention against terrorism so that we can shoulder the serious responsibility successfully. Encouraging terrorism under any pretext will be considered as a serious crime against the country, people and democracy.
All the persons, groups and institutions within and outside the country aiding and abetting terrorism through a supply of arms, money and information have to be brought under the purview of law and punished accordingly. I expect cooperation and guidance from all political parties, entire mass media and civic society in this national campaign.
His Majesty’s Government will bring the terrorists before the people and to book. I want to assure the nation and the people that the security agencies of the government are capable of materializing the people’s desires and resolve of putting the violence and terror to an end for good.
The government will move ahead by reaching an understanding with all political parties for social and economic reforms and development and for consolidating security arrangements. The cooperation of the civic society and the political parties in this endeavor is most crucial. I want to state here that all friendly countries and institutions having goodwill towards Nepal democracy in the country are with the Nepalese people and His Majesty’s Government in combating terrorism.