THE reason behind the Monday blast at Ramananda chowk in Janakpur is yet to be ascertained. But the powerful explosion that morning which claimed four lives while injuring 31 others is unlikely to achieve any political objective (if there is one). The Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (Rajan group), which has claimed responsibility for the morning blast, is an underground outfit that has been advocating ´liberation´ of Tarai-Madhesh from "colonialism". It is hard to see how these kind of blasts that harm the lives of common Madhesis \ can serve that or any of their other political goals. After 10 years of a bloody conflict, Nepalis have little appetite for violence. Most of the people from Madhesi communities also want settlement of contentious issues through dialogue; since the Madhesi leaders are actively involved in the current constitution-making process, there is every reason to hope that the genuine grievances of the Madhesi community will be addressed by the new constitution.
If the goal was to destabilize the ongoing constitution making process by instigating differences among major negotiators, it was an ill-calculated move. All mainstream Madhes-based parties, civil society leaders and other political actors have been one in condemning the barbaric attack. So long as sense prevails among negotiators, it is unlikely for few wanton acts of violence to have any significant impact on the constitutional process. But Monday´s blast might yet be an indication that some radical fringe groups in Madhes are increasingly restive and might look to make their presence felt in the national polity, with violence if need be, in the lead up to May 27. Thus, if anything, it should prompt all key negotiators to expedite the constitution making process and waste no time in hammering out agreements that address genuine grievance of all marginalized and oppressed groups. On the other hand, their failure to do so will further embolden these fringe outfits.
Security has been considerably tightened in Janakpur and the country´s capital following the blast. The government is understandably jittery that the gains of the constitution process so far might be undermined if it fails to impose its writ in the country. Thus, security agencies have drafted a number of security operations around the May 27 CA deadline. Monday´s blast suggests that they have their task cut out. In order to send a strong message to similar armed outfits, which hope to instill panic during the protracted transition, it is important that the real brains behind the blast be apprehended at the earliest and a message is sent out loud and clear, most importantly from mainstream Madhes-based parties, that wanton acts of violence targeting civilians cannot be a way to the political negotiating table.