The ongoing police probe into the Bhutanese refugee scam has given the people a glimmer of hope. Fed up with chronic corruption, misrule and instability over the decades, people want a free, fair and transparent investigation into this scandal that has netted a few powerful figures.
But some of the recent developments are making the conscious citizenry wonder if efforts are underway to influence the probe.
Ever since the arrests started in connection with this scam, top leaders of major political parties have huddled together more than once. It is natural for the birds of a feather to flock together, but these birds are quite different from each other, right?
There was a time when these figures would never get tired of hauling each other over the coals and presenting themselves as holier than thou. At a crucial juncture of the probe, what has made them go for marathon parleys? Some kind of national emergency that the fourth estate is unaware of?
Anyway, the conduct of top leaders of major political parties is giving ground for suspicion based on which fertile minds are busy developing their own conspiracy theories.
In the wake of these hush-hush talks, people have started suspecting that the top brass may be trying to shield themselves as well as their kith and kin.
To retain public faith in the investigation and lessen the damage to Nepal’s image in international fora, the government should publicize the findings of the probe on a regular basis by engaging the media—both national and international.
How about conducting a regular press briefing to deal with rumors surrounding the scam and bring the facts to the fore? This can help retain public faith in the investigation and discourage conspiracy theorists.
It can also be an effective way to engage the international community, which is also a stakeholder in this case as it has given shelter to more than one lakh Bhutanese citizens of Nepali origins, driven away from their motherland by a dictatorial regime.
While carrying on with this probe, the plight of these people should not be forgotten nor the state of affairs in Nepal that is literally forcing the people to ‘flee’ by paying human traffickers.
The silver lining in this dark cloud is that the scam has given the government a golden opportunity to cleanse the governance system and restore public faith in it. If conducted properly, this probe will mark the start of a mega-probe into a series of cases of corruption, including policy corruption, that have rendered the country gravely ill.
The government should not squander this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. As for the people, they should stay ever vigilant to ensure that the government stays the course. After all, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.