Monday, February 15, 2010

Stop speculating

The murder of media entrepreneur Jamim Shah in the heart of the capital has exposed the ineptitude of the country’s internal security apparatus and degenerating security situation in the country. Was the murder, which the media is already calling a contract killing, connected to his allegiance with infamous underworld fugitive Dawood Ibrahim and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Agency (ISI), or is it a calculated ploy meant to send chills in the spines of those that dare to work for the forces that are odds with the Indian establishment? Is it a mere coincidence that Shah has been murdered at a time when the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), the largest party in Nepal, is in a jingoistic mode, or happened, now, just because it is more convenient to execute the plan, as the internal security is in shambles? We may never have the answers to these questions but they are worth pondering upon.

As one who happens to know about Shah based on stories carried out by various newspapers and magazines, to me he comes across as a cosmopolitan man of diverse experience. Born in a Newari neighborhood and married to a Hindu girl, his life story exemplifies both the possibility of coexistence and breaking of the religious shackles, which in a traditional society like ours is not an easy thing. For a Muslim man to marry a Hindu girl, that too, a quarter of a century ago, in a Hindu kingdom, needed a bit of courage without doubt. It shows that his sense of progression definitely stretched beyond the rhetoric unlike of our present day politicians.

Shah did not buy his way into the Constituent Assembly (CA) in order to become a part of the history of building a “New Nepal” like many businessmen in Nepal. In a nation, where the difference between politicians and businessmen is getting increasingly blurred and where crime and corruption is edging out politics, we all stand benefited from Shah’s detrainment. But these aspects never got reported. For Shah, the media trials never ended. Even though he was never convicted in a court of law for his associations and criminal activities that might have resulted from it, trials by media severely damaged Shah’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt regardless of any verdict.

The ghastly murder of Shah has basically shown two things. First, Nepali media pretty easily gets sucked into the propaganda fed by unseen forces and foreign media. Second, Nepali politicians have learned nothing from past blows in our gut. This is not the first time that a Nepali citizen implicated as working for Dawood Ibrahim and ISI has been murdered in a broad daylight. Remember Mirza Dil Sad Beg’s murder couple of years ago? He too was implicated as one of Dawood’s men in Nepal. Both of these men had one thing in common- unproven allegiance to Dawood Ibrahim and the ISI.

What about the Nepali citizens who have allegiance with Chhota Rajan, the break away Hindu faction of Dawood’s gang or the Research and Analysis Wing [RAW], an Indian Intelligence Agency? Despite the fact that Nepali politicians visit New Delhi more than regional politicians from within India itself and a media house reportedly being run on Indian benevolence, we never hear any negativity surrounding the relationships. None in particular has been implicated like Shah had been for his or her association with the RAW or the Chhota Rajan’s gang. Indian media is silent about it and so is the Nepali media. This raises an interesting question. Is Indian media selectively feeding its Nepali counterpart on the links that Nepali citizens have with the Dawood Ibrahim gang and the ISI or the relationship of Nepali citizens with the India’s RAW and Rajan’s gang is legal and transparent and that it does not require any mention in the media?

Nepali citizens are being repeatedly butchered for their unproven allegiance to the underworld fugitive and foreign intelligence agency but all our government does is set up inquiry commissions, whose findings are at best inconclusive, and end up collecting dusts. If you think rationally, it is not even worth setting a commission, anymore. Instead of the media subtly hinting that Shah deserved his fate, it should be pointing finger at the government, which is so incompetent that the security apparatus under its watch failed to apprehend criminals that murdered a prominent citizen in the heart of the city.

Appending the killers of Shah is important because it will once and for all expose the forces that murder Nepali citizens in their own land for alien motives. As a nation, we deserve the right to know, why Nepali citizens are maligned and murdered over and over again, don’t we? Nobody expects the current government to get to the bottom and find out if Shah was really working for Dawood, or for that matter, ISI, but it can do the minimum—provide some solace to his grieving wife, son, and father, who are paying the price of living in a lawless land, by at least finding out if the killers were really from the Chhota Rajan Gang or someone else was involved in the foul play.

The Nepali media should once and for all stop this game of subtly hinting “Who is working for whom?” and force the government to pursue on hard evidence so that culprits get punished for their unlawful allegiance and innocent citizens are not dragged into the neighboring countries’ perennial animosity. If we really get into this game of speculating “who is working for whom?”, we may soon reach a point whereby we realize that there are none at the highest level of the government and the opposition party that put nation’s interest before his or her own interest. If anything, such deduction would inflict more pain. Why pursue that path?


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