INTERVIEW WITH BABAN SINGH
INTERVIEW WITH BABAN SINGH
Baban Singh is the only independent lawmaker in the ConstituentAssembly. He created news by winning the historic polls while he was on the “most wanted” list of the police. This 31-year-old won filed his nomination and ultimately won from Rautahat Constituency 1, while remaining fully underground. It is said that he secretly enters the CA premises to attend the sessions, dodging the police even now, as he is yet to be officially removed from the wanted list for his alleged involvement in the infamous Gaur Massacre in Rautahat
district in which over two dozen Maoist cadres were killed, and the serial blasts in Kathmandu. Ashwini Koirala recently interviewed Singh. Excerpts:
Q: Why are you underground though you are an elected representative of the people?
Baban Singh: I am not underground. Don’t you see me walking openly? Not only the police, but also the leaders of the political parties see me.
Q: People say that you work underground.
Singh: The administration has made several allegations against me.Since I am a people’s representative, they also cannot arrest me. So may be charging that I am underground hides their drawback and does face saving.
Q: Can a person be granted amnesty for all his crimes just because he is a people’s representative?
Singh: That is what I am saying. Why are they making allegations only?They can arrest me if they are brave enough. They should prove all charges they have put on me. Although cases have been filed at the court, there is no basis to arrest me. For them, the matter ends by saying I am underground.
Q: Means you enter the Constituent Assembly openly?
Singh: Yes, of course. I go there showing my identity card to the security men. I enter inside by introducing myself as Baban Singh, representative of Rautahat-1.
Q. How many times have you attended the CA so far?
Singh: Say, every time. I go there as the people have sent me there.
Q. Lawmakers discuss many issues of the people they represent in the House. However, you were never seen speaking. What do you do there?
Singh: The parliament hardly discusses the people’s issues. Do they really care about the people? There occurs wrangling over power only. The main thing is that I am new, and it took time for me to learn what happens there. When I started understanding, I felt none is worried about the people there. None is in a hurry to draft a new constitution. All want to be close to the state power in one way or the other. Why speak in such a situation?
Q. You say that you could not walk around publicly because of some parties and leaders. Who are they?
Singh: The Maoists think that I was behind the Rautahat incident. So it is obvious that they’ll bother me. I won the polls from the stronghold of Madhav Kumar Nepal (former UML General Secretary), so his workers envy me. Another important thing is the Madheshi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF), which is doing dirty politics in the name of Madhesh, is after me as I objected to its activities. It is unfortunate that all three parties [the CPN-Maoist, the CPN-UML, and the MPRF] are in the government. So, the administration is against me in one way or another.
Q. Don’t you feel that this situation would not come if you weren’t involved in the Rautahat incident?
Singh: I was not involved. No one can prove that I was there. As I was not there, how could I be guilty? To protect their cadres, the MPRF laid the blame on me.
Q. How could so many Maoists be killed in your stronghold without your nod?
Singh: The Maoists had vexed the people. When the Maoists took up the policy of foiling the MPRF’s mass meeting, the locals and the MPRF cadres took the matter for their pride. So, the incident happened on its own. It was easier for them to be in safe side and curtail my popularity by pinning the blame on me. If proven guilty, I am ready to face action.
Q. You said that MPRF cadres were involved in the Rautahat incident. Weren’t you one of them?
Singh: I was active in the Madhesh movement. I became an MPRF member later as it was leading the movement. I left it when the MPRF leaders betrayed the Madhesi people. Though many Madheshi people sacrificed their lives, where is the voice for the Madheshi people now? Does the Madhes issue end after joining the government?
Singh: What enmity do I have with Kathmandu? Why would I do that?I am a local social worker. My grandfather was the unopposed Pradhan Pancha for 30 years in my village. Being the grandson of such a person, would I do that? Can you say such a thing without proof?
Q. Police have found a tape record in which a person named Baban Singh issues orders to a person who reached Kathmandu to carry out those blasts.
Singh: I am here. They can perform my voice test. If my voice matches with the one’s who gave the order then I am ready to be jailed. In my constituency alone at least I know three persons named Baban Singh. How can I be the same person? Why this false allegation?
Singh: Now I feel like laughing after so many accusations. I just say that I have relation with none. I am honest to the Nepali people.Welfare of people in my constituency and purging the politics are my objectives. I have studied law. I know well what to do and what not to.
Q. Then will you always do politics as an independent person?
Singh: No, I may join one of the parties. It is not a good thing to chase a single person obstinately.
Q. Will you enter the MPRF?
Singh: The MPRF and the Maoists are the biggest terrorist groups in the country. They are enjoying the state power by dividing the Madheshi and Pahadi people. Who will join such parties? I won’t.
Q. Which party will you join then?
Singh: Now the Terai Madhesh Democratic Party (TMDP) has come to the fore in favour of the Madheshi people. Being a Madheshi, I shall support those who work for the Madheshi issues. Another thing is that my grandfather was a Congress supporter. So, in some way, I am close to the Nepali Congress also. That is why I may join one of these parties.
Q. It has been heard that you are in love with a Pahadi woman. What’s the truth?
Singh: It’s not a love affair. It’s just a proposal to marry aPahadi Dalit woman.
Q. Will you be able to carry on with the Madhesh politics if you marry a Pahadi woman?
Singh: The bitterness that exists between the Pahadi and Madheshicommunities should be removed. Madheshis should marry Pahadi
girls and Pahadis should marry Madhesi girls; then
the bond between the two communities will strengthen.
Q. Most of your relatives are from India. If you marry a Pahadi woman, won’t they be unhappy?
Singh: Yes, they will be unhappy. They are forcing me to marry an Indian girl. However, time will tell where I will marry.
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