By Ram Khatry I 17 February 2020 I A lawyer who represented Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Nepal’s embattled former speaker freed today by a Kathmandu court after months in jail over an attempt-to-rape charge, says there is no alternative for him other than to slowly make a comeback into politics.
Advocate Raman Kumar Shrestha reckons Communist Party of Nepal, the ruling party Mr Mahara is attached to, should facilitate his safe return to politics.
Asked if Mr Mahara would one day recover his battered reputation and make a comeback into Nepal’s national politics, Mr Shrestha responded by throwing back questions, “Where would someone who has only been doing but politics go then? Is there anywhere else to go?”
The 61-year-old former teacher was an underground Maoist leader during the armed rebellion from 1996 until 2006 and fought alongside Prachanda and Dr Baburam Bhattarai – both former prime ministers of the Himalayan nation.
Mr Shrestha indicated that both “party within party” and “international players” were responsible for the character assassination and political downfall of his VIP client.
In a telephone conversation with southasia.com.au, senior advocate Shrestha indicated that people within Mr Mahara’s own party as well as international players were responsible for framing the former speaker of the House of Representatives. He claimed that some international players were always involved in Nepal’s internal political affairs in order to create constant chaos within Kathmandu’s elite political circle. Although he refused to specify who he believed those “international players” were, Mr Shrestha explained that such international players have traditionally managed to keep one or the other top leaders embroiled in well-designed conspiracies, such as the rape allegations against Mr Mahara, he clarified.
He also claimed that ruthless character-assassination of political opponents has always been a weapon in Nepalese politics – right from the Rana regime through to monarchy to the present system.
“He will have to work hard. He will have to do some work to recover that damaged image,” Raman Shrestha warned, adding he will have to devise ways to manage the effects of a sea of negative social media posts and media reports.
Mr Mahara’s illustrious political career had come to an abrupt halt on October 4 last year when a female parliamentary staff member filed a First Information Report against the ex-Maoist accusing him of attempting to rape her on September 29. The Kathmandu District Court acquitted Mr Mahara of that charge on the ground of insufficient evidence.
In a typical Nepalese fashion, the acquitted rape-accused has already been garlanded by his supporters. `
However, unlike in the west, the former speaker cannot expect any financial compensation on the back of the court’s acquittal.
He stated that more than the financial compensation his client’s main challenge now was to regain his political legacy.
Mr Shrestha said that apart from Mr Mahara himself, his party also should think of ways to help him rebuild his political career and image.
“That chargesheet, things did not take place the way that chargesheet was produced. What has happened is that, little bit of politics got mixed up in the matter, actually not “little” but massive amount of politics got mixed up. And not merely the internal politics of Nepal, politics from outside the country also got involved. All that contributed to that kind of chargesheet,” Mr Shrestha told southasia.com.au over the telephone.