– India Today, March 16-31, 1979
Nepal’s feeble cry for democratization was virtually silenced recently in the wake of execution of two Nepali Congress activists, Captain Yagya Bahadur Thapa and Bhim Narain Shrestha. It is significant that the executions were carried out at a time when King Birendra was ostensibly moving towards a rapprochement with the ailing leader of the banned Nepali Congress party, B. P. Koiala. Equally significant was the fact that Thapa and shrestha had been sentenced to capital punishment four years ago, but were executed just when a clemency petition was pending in the courts.
The executions have added to the undercurrent of discontent that is spreading throughout Nepal. Incidents of violence have risen, specially in the rural areas; thousands of students and peasants are arrested every year-according to a recent estimate y amnesty International about 3,000 political activists are languishing in Nepali jails. The executions have proved to be a major setback to the process of “national reconciliation” which Koirala has been pursuing in the face of strong opposition from some of his own party members.
Koirala, 65, former Prime Minister of Nepal and a co-accused with Thapa was recently in Delhi on his way to Kathmandu from the US, where he had gone for medical treatment. In an exclusive interview with INDIA TODAY, he discussed the recent executions and its effects on his efforts to usher in democracy in Nepal.
Q: What effect will the execution of two of your party-men, Capt. Yagya Bahadur Thapa and Bheem Narain Shreshta, have on your efforts at ‘national reconciliation’?
BP: The executions came as a great surprise to me. They were more shocking because recently the atmosphere in the kingdom had started to ease and the general feeling was that the process of democratization would begin soon. The sudden executions have befouled the atmosphere for national reconciliation. They have created psychological difficulties for me because the killings would always be at the back of my mind when I talk to the King next. But I must say the reconciliation process will not be abandoned. (more…)