Nepal Today

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Ruling parties review Birgunj blast

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 31 Jan: Ruling seven parties Thursday morning began a review of the Birgunj blasts the previous day that injured nearly six dozen participants at a joint rally of the rulers to canvass support for a republic in the 10 April controversial constituent assembly that looks increasingly uncertain.
Chairman Prachanda is chairing the meeting.
More than 30 suspects have been arrested for questioning.
The seven rallies of the SPA began with blasts in the capital and ended dramatically with explosions in Birgunj.
The explosions came one day after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala desperately assured he would meet any terai demand if groups only agreed to participate in elections.
Koirala also swore by God to conduct elections.
Koirala said he would meet any demand even as a party team led by trusted aide Dr Ram Baran Yadav rejected demands like self-determination cannot be accepted.
Koirala addressed people in Madesh is lowly language calling them ‘timi’ instead of ‘tapai’.
“This is only a typical example of his feudal Brahmin approach and how he has been treating people in the terai where he has been living for so many years,” a politician who preferred anonymity said. ‘Even Ranas didn’t behave in that fashion.”
Its is too early to assess the impact of the blasts; but it will be difficult for the government to conduct elections despite the bravado of home minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula who said the vote will be held and blamed ‘rajabadis’.
This is not the first time he has made such an allegation.
The blasts went off although the meeting was held behind a security cordon provided by 3,000 policemen; Shitula has cleared to provide security with the such heavy deployment of police.
A delegation of India’s Congress (I) is visiting Nepal from 12 to 14 February to assist the embattled Koirala government; the high-powered delegation is to be led by Digvijaya Singh, the secretary general of Sonia Gandhi’s party and former Madhya Pradesh chief minister.
The delegation is coming at Koirala’s invitation.
The visit is timed with opposition BJP’s scathing criticism of Indian government’s policy accusing New Delhi government of surrendering national interests to the communists who dominate the coalition government.
BJP, waiting to form a government in New Delhi, has supported monarchy and has come out against a republic openly supported by Sonia Gandhi’s party.
US Ambassador to Nepal Nancy J Powell was in New Delhi discussing coordination of US India Nepal police when the blasts went off in Birgunj.
Powell reportedly said in New Delhi US wanted that the Maoists did not dominate Nepal politics, The Himalayan Times reported.
Did New Delhi agree?
India pushed Maoists into mainstream politics but it is reportedly concerned now.
Maoists now consider India and USA as their top enemies.

Govt. renews and extends deployment of police

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 31 Jan: Government has decided enforce special police security in the additional districts of Khotang, Sanhkhuwasabha, Udappur and Bhojpur in the eastern hills.
Supporters of the Khumbuwan Mukti Morcha, also calling for autonomy, attacked three police outposts and decamped with arms, ammunition and police uniforms this month.
The government also decided to extend the two-month special police deployment in three districts of the Valley and eight terai districts in central and east terai that ended Monday.
Special police security deployment now covers 15 of the country’s 75 districts.
Madesh groups have opposed the police deployment.
The extension and renewal indicate the security situation has deteriorated in the last two months.

King calls for reinforcement relationship between democracy and monarchy

By Bhola B Rana.

Kathmandu, 31 Jan: Even as the monarchy is being put to a vote in the 10 April controversial and unlikely 10 April constituent assembly election, King Gyanendra has called for the reinforcement of relationship between monarchy and democracy which is presently weakened.
“Democracy has been weakened; that’s why the relationship between monarchy and democracy should be reinforced and pushed,” he told Hari Lamsal, editor of Rashtra-vani Wednesday, in a 90-minute interview.
The interview was the first after the regime collapse in April 2006.
The King admitted his direct rule introduced 1 February 2005 failed.
“The people and nation are suffering its failure now,” he said.
“We weren’t happy with Maoist methods; that’s why we went for a peace process according to the demands of the people,”
Translation of the interview printed in the weekly newspaper:
“We have remained quiet to make the peace process a success after the peace agreement. The Nepalese people have to speak and say what the country is confronting and the conditions it is being dragged into and why the pandemonium.
“Monarchy has encountered man such moments in history; they have come and gone. Nepali monarchy runs on the desire of the Nepali people and is heading towards that direction,” the King told Lamsal.
“I’ve listened and it’s not that I’m not unaware. People also aren’t in a position to speak for various reasons. In the name of democratic practices, I fell it’s not proper and democratic to smash he country’s physical structures. Nobody at any time should take people for granted,” the King said in reply to a question why he was silent for nearly one year.
“Let peace and democracy prevail; patriotism should gain roots; the political system should be the choice of the Nepali people.” he said.” It should be suited to the Nepali soil. Let a system prevail where Nepalis can be proud. Tackle instability democratically,” the King said.
“Silence is also action. We’ve not only remained silent; those who understand; they have understood; some, I believe, are trying to give an impression they aren’t aware,” the King said explaining his silence.
“Nepali people have their own uniqueness. Monarchy has faith, Can’t only talk of cities; people struggling on the hilltops are equally important,” the King added.
‘Monarchy was there before Nepal’s unification; it’s an older institution. To vilify the builder of the nation is, I feel, an insult to yourself and the nation,” the King said about Prithivi Narayan Shah and monarchy and effort to forget and re-write history. “Instead of blaming others, shouldn’t an effort be made at personal improvement?”
The King added: The Nepali people have to be in the vanguard on how to push monarchy. Nepali heart and mind are deep and broad; they can encompass everybody.
The King talked of the royal takeover and admitted it failed.
‘Monarchy shouldn’t be involved in politics and it’s not interested either,” the King told Lamsal. “Monarchy should mould itself to the wishes of the Nepali people and move forward accordingly.”

I’ll not go into exile: King

Kathmandu, 31 Jan: Editor Hari Lamsal told the King he was democratic to which the King replied,” People have to speak about me. Nepali people cannot speak right now,” Parsuram Kafle of Naya Patrika reported the King as saying, according quoted Lamsal.
Why asked Lamsal to which the King reportedly said,” I don’t want to go into specifics. But the king is never of usurping power. Let’s not go into details.”
The King was asked on mention of a pubic in the constitution to which he said,” Oh. It’s been written in the constitution. I haven’t even attempted to understand it.”
Lamsal asked the king details of an agreement between the king and parties that culminated in the April regime change.
‘Let us not go into details now. Political parties also know this; I k now it. I’ll speak if developments are not according to that roadmap,” Lamsal quoted the king as saying.
At the end of the interview the king said,” I’ll not go into exile. I’ll stay in this country.”

Israel ready to hire Nepalis again

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: Nepal may send jobseekers to Israel without involving manpower gents in order to make the recruitment process easier, said Labor Minister Ramesh Lekhak, according to The Kathmandu Post.
“We are ready to accept two options—sending the workers without involving manpower agents or having the agents monitored by the International Organization of Migration (IOM) as Israel has sought its participation in the recruitment process,” he said.
Lekhak added that the government was ready to eliminate the role of manpower agents in selecting job aspirants if Israel reopens the door to Nepali workers.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

At least 60 injured in Birgunj bomb blasts (BREAKING NEWS)

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: At last 60 persons were injured Wednesday afternoon at a rally of seven ruling parties in Birgunj.
The bombs exploded when Formula Mansoor of Nepali Congress was speaking.
Parsa CDO Bhola Prasad Shibakoti was injured.
Unconfirmed reports said three persons died.
The blast came 24 hours after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said he will conduct elections and asked rebel groups to sit down for talks.
He addressed the people in demeaning word ‘timi haru;’ instead of ‘tapai’.
The blasts went off despite the deployment of 3,000 policemen for the rally held under a security cordon.

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Rally of seven parties takes off

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: Seven ruling parties, including Maoists, defied nearly one dozen bomb explosions in and around Birgunj Wednesday and began their seventh and last joint public rally for a republic in the 10 April constituent assembly.
They began their meeting behind a security cordon of 3,000 policemen who escorted people to the rally from neighbouring villages and towns, reporters reported from the rally site at Narayani stadium.
Two persons, including a child, were injured in the bombings.
Six rebel groups forced the closure of schools, transport, business and industries in Bara, Parsa and Rautahat.
The heavy deployment of police is an indication government will conduct the now controversial election with force; rebel groups are determined to foil the vote as well rejecting fresh government invitation for talks to discuss th terai.
Terai leaders said talks are only a diversionary government move and demanded 11 demands must be met before talks.
Prime Minister swore by God Tuesday and promised elections.
He appeared in the public against doctors’ advice on a cold wintry day and said he will hold election at any cost.
‘If I remain healthy, I will conduct elections. The press gave me a lot of trouble. Everyone has seen me? Am I alright?” he asked reporters at a public function Tuesday.
He asked rebel groups in the terai and elsewhere only to participate in a vote and he will meet all demands.
Koirala said this even as his top aide Dr Ram Baran Yadav, also from the terai, the movement in was a virtual movement for independence.
Rejecting a call for one Madesh, one province following a tour of the region, Yadav said,” The so-called slogan is design of some intellectuals. This has created a confusion in the terai.”
He rejected calls for self-determination as well.

China invites Maoist rebel

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: China has invited
Maoist rebel Rabindra Shrestha, who is currently in China, Ghatana ra Bichar reports.
He left for China Friday at the invitation of the international department of the Communist Party of China.
The invite has shaken Maoist circles.
China has contacts with Nepal’s Maoists but without official relationship.
US and Chinese approach to Maoists match here.
But EU has direct official contacts with Maoists; Scandinavian countries have even closer contacts.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

India seeks army deployment at Sundarijal

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: More details have come to light of what India wants to do during the transition in Nepal, Janaastha reports.
During a meeting of joint secretaries in New Delhi last week, India proposed and demanded the stationing an Indian military unit at Sundariijal where the Nepal Army has an arsenal to manufacture 7.62 caliber bullets.
India alleged Pakistan’s ISI had penetrated the facility.
Germany helped Nepal develop the military facility.
The Indian demand indicates the extent of Indian seriousness at Nepal’s limited facility even to manufacture bullets.

Deuba asked PM Koirala how elections can be conducted

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: Sher Bahadur Deuba reported to prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala Monday on his just concluded visits of Dang, Salyan, Jajarkot, Rukum and other districts of the mid and far-West where Maoists hooted him and showed black flags, Ghatana ra Bishar reports.
Maoists were selectively protesting Deuba as public meetings where members of
political parties weren’t disturbed.
“If leaders like us are treated in this fashion, how will Maoists treat others?” Deuba asked Koirala.
Deuba said if such activities continue, Congress candidates cannot go to the people.
Koirala replied he will assess Maoist behaviour at joint meetings in the east and decide thereafter.

Norwegian prime minister visiting

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: The Norwegian prime minister is also visiting Nepal for two days beginning 7 February for the first time during his India visit, Nepal Samacharpatra reports.
He is coming to inquire about the peace process and discuss other issues, the newspaper reported.

[Note: The small but oil-rich Scandinavian state has invested heavily in Nepal for its size attempting to play influential role that is not commensurate with its size. It is also a far-away country. Norwegians are financing the communist movement and Christians in the predominantly Hindu state. Its ambassador recently threatened to cut off assistance if assembly election’s held.]

Australia accepts Maoist nominee as Nepal’s ambassador

Kathmandu, 30 Jan: Australia has finally accepted a Maoist nominee as Nepal’s ambassador to Australia.
The foreign ministry received the agre’ment of Yogendra Dhakal from Australia Tuesday after a four-month delay, a foreign ministry said.
Dhakal stayed illegally in the United States.
France rejected the appointment of Pampha Bhusal who was then appointed minister in the government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Denmark and Malaysia have also accepted Maoist nominees as Nepal’s ambassadors.

Nepal walks out of a security meeting with India

Kathmandu, 29 Jan: An Indo-Nepal joint official meeting held in New Delhi last week ended inconclusively after the Nepali side declined to endorse the Indian view that the bilateral border principle was violated by the Nepali side, newsfront reports.
“…India noted with concern the ‘incursion’ of the Indian side by YCL-affiliated with CPN (Maoist), which is now a major constituent of the government.
“Cleverly enough, the Indian side had chosen not to put on record the march by some political activists from India crossing over to the Nepali side and hoisting Indian flag a few days after the YCL tried to march to the other side.
“Nepali side sought India’s cooperation in curbing activities of certain ‘armed groups’ based in India which were creating trouble in Nepal,” the weekly newspaper reported in its Monday editions.
India failed in a renewed attempt to open more pension camps for ex-Gurkhas in Nepal and grab Susta at a security meeting in New Delhi last week, Dhristi reports.
Nepal was saved from a dangerous Indian design.
New Delhi presented for signing in a minute of the meeting Indian sovereignty had been threatened by YCL demonstrations in Susta.
India again tried and failed to restrict Nepal’s purchases of arms and ammunition from third countries at a three-day security meeting in New Delhi that began 21 January, Jandesh earlier reported.
A high-powered bilateral security committee inactive during the royal regime was reactivated for the first time after the April 2006 movement for not only a regime but a system change .
The 21-member high-powered committee comprised top civilian, army and police officials and was led by a joint secretary of the foreign ministry.
To recall, Rajib Gandhi slapped a 17-month embargo on Nepal in 1989 opposing arms purchases from China.
Gandhi brought down the partyless panchayat government and restored banned parties.

Sick PM ventures out of official residence

Kathmandu, 29 Jan: Ailing Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, 84, braved the cold and ventured out of his official residence Tuesday.
The once chain-smoking government chief and officiating head of state developed serious lung infection accompanied by breathing problems earlier this month.
To scotch rumours he died, Koirala appeared before television reporters and only uttered a couple of sentences.
The appearance only confirmed Koirala was sick as government and rebels in the south move on a collision course; government is determined to hold the 10 April assembly vote and terai groups are equally determined to obstruct it.
More than 43 persons have been killed in the run-up to the election.
Seven ruling parties are holding their seventh and last joint rally in Birgunj Wednesday to jointly push a republic in the vote.Government isgovej forcingwas con asked groups in the terai and other groups to take part in CA elections.
"This election is very important. I ask friends in Madesh and others to take part in elections. I will meet all your demands. But they have to say with one voice say you will take part in elections.
The ailing prime minister ventured for the first time outside his official residence to inaugurate a health facility in the city.
CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal revealed government is forming a talks committee to push a dialogue with rebel groups in the terai and added an appeal is being issued.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Banks record good profit

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Three leading banks record good profit

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 28 Jan: Nepal’s three leading commercial banks recorded good profits in Q2 of the fiscal year 2007/08.
Standard Chartered Nepal Ltd recorded a net profit of Rs 394.8 million in the quarter ending 14 January 2008.
Nabil Bank recorded a net profit of Rs 345.2 million in the same period.
Nepal SBI Bank Ltd recorded a Rs 147.3 million net profit as well.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Prachanda says CIA preparing assassination plot

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 27 Jan: Maoist Chairman Prachanda Monday accused CIA for plotting to assassinate him.
He speculated other leaders could also be killed.
“Some international power centers who don’t want the predomination of the left forces desire this,” he said in response to a question of Nepal newsmagazine reporters Sudhir Sharma and Bhojraj Bhat.
They asked: From whom is there a danger [to kill]?
“CIA is infamous for political assassinations. Can’t say they won’t play this game because the rise of leftists in this country through elections will not only impact South Asia; it will have a worldwide impact,” Prachanda added.
“International power center means not only USA but also India,” he said in reply to a follow-up question: But you accused only the palace and USA.
Prachanda said he doesn’t feel insecure because he gets security from the party and now by the government as well.
“I don’t feel insecure because I am within the security ring of the PLA. The state recently assigned a police unit.”
Prachanda last year claimed palace planned to target kill US diplomats assigned in Nepal.
Maoist chief couldn’t furnish proof demanded by then US Ambassador US James F. Moriarty.
Prachanda said he ‘couldn’t say relations with USA have improved’ which still puts Nepal’s Maoists on the terrorist list, but ‘right now things are moving towards improvement’.
In reply to a question,’ Then you sill see a threat from CIA?”, Prachanda shook his head and said,” Yes. That’s there.”
Prachanda also said there could be a ‘democratic coup like in Bangladesh’.
He elaborated: Yes. The army could ‘back’ some persons with a democratic image and run the government. The army won’t come directly in front like Pervej Musharraf did in Pakistan but there would be a coup by pushing civilians.

Election special; diary of the day

Top Maoist leaders to contest elections

Kathmandu, 27 Jan: Top Maoist leaders Sunday decided to field candidates in the 10 April constituent assembly elections.
Chairman Prachanda will
contest from the capital and Rolpa, the remote hill district in the mid-West from where the CPN (Maoist) launched their people’s war nearly 12 years ago.
Dr Baburam Bhattarai will contest from his district and top military leader Raam Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’ from Chitwan.
In the first list, party headquarters decided to field 11 top central leaders.
The party decided to contest all seats up for grabs. Altogether 601 candidates are being in direct and indirect elections.
The party asked district units to suggest names of possible candidates.
CPN (Maoist) is the first party to field candidates for Nepal’s first assembly elections.
Prachanda and other top leaders prepared national leaders though political indoctrination which Maoists call '‘training sessions'’ to send them on a three-month campaign.
The party decision to mobilize 150,000 YCL activists, mostly former combatants for the election campaign will raise eyebrows; they could be used storm-troopers to capture election booths.
The Party said 200 YCL activists will be deployed in each booth.
Ruling parties have decided to deploy 2,500 police personnel for their sixth joint rally in Nepalgunj Monday to canvass support for a republic in assembly elections.
Rebel terai groups in the mid-west have called a strike in Banke and Bardia to foil the public meeting.
Nearly ive dozen demonstrator and police were injured in Saturday’s similar mass meeting in Janakpur.
Government and groups in the terai are moving on collision course; indication are the government will ramrod elections even as terai groups said it shouldn’t be held without meeting southern regional demands.
Congress of prime minister is divided as it goes to the polls.
Rebels Sunday again demanded in the party’s ties developed and nurtured by the prime minister with Maoists should be snapped to save the party and country.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

India again tries

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

India again tries, fails to restrict Nepal’s arms purchases from third countries

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 26 Jan: India again tried and failed to restrict Nepal’s purchases of arms and ammunition from third countries at a security meeting in New Delhi.
India presented Nepal with a and Nepal walked out of the meeting without signing its minutes.
This is not the first time India has made such an attempt.
India proposed at the meeting Nepal should purchase arms and ammunition only from India; purchases from other countries should be executed only with Indian approval, Jandesh reported in its Saturday editions quoting an unidentified member of the Nepali team to the talks.
A inconclusive three-day bilateral security meet began 21 January.
“India presented an interventionist proposal that would directly affect the country’s pride and sovereignty. Later, there was no agreement,” a delegation member who preferred anonymity said.
The team consisted of army, police and civilian officials.
The 12-member Nepali delegation was led by joint secretary in the foreign ministry Suresh Pradhan.
India’s Rajib Gandhi government slapped a 17-month trade embargo 1989 after Nepal purchased arms and ammunition, including anti-aircraft guns from China.
USA, during the first tenure of President George W Bush, trained a special forces unit and sold M-16 rifles to replace obsolete Indian SLRs during the Maoist insurgency; India wasn’t happy with US sales and Nepalese purchases.
Military assistance was stopped after the king slapped direct rule on 1 February 2005.
During the royal regime, Washington lobbied with India and UK to stifle the Royal Nepalese Army by urging countries like Russia, Pakistan and China not to sell weapons to Nepal even as it was fighting a Maoist insurgency.
USA worked to deny arms to a country it supplied arms to fight the communist rebellion.

Nepal sells dollars to India for purchases

Kathmandu, 26 Jan: Nepal sold India $ 550 million equivalent to Rs 35.08 billion to finance imports from the southern neighbour in the first five month of 2007, Nepal Rashtra Bank said
Nepal is increasing its sale of the greenback to import purchases mainly financed though Indian rupee payment.
In the same period the previous year, Nepal sold India $320 million equivalent to Rs 23.39 billion to finance Indian imports.
Imports from India are increasing every year while exports are dwindling.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Nepal minister refuses to attend state funeral of Hillary

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 25 Jan: Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan told Tourism Minister Prithvi Subba Gurung to represent Nepal at the state funeral of Sir Edmund Hillary, Nepalparta reports.
But Minister Subba didn’t obey her [both ministers represent CPN-UML in government. Pradhan is also leader of the party team in government. ], the weekly newspaper said .
He has finalized plans to fly to Malaysia.
When there was opposition to the disrespect shown to Sir Edmund, he cancelled plans to go to Malaysia.
Hillary had shown his love for Nepal with the construction of hospitals and numerous schools in the Khumbu region.
Foreign Secretary Gyan Chandra Acharya finally represented Nepal at the state funeral.
There was nobody to firmly order the minister to go after a seriously sick Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala was confined to bed.

Nepal Daily Diary

An Election Special

Govt., India and Maoists prepare for a vote

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 25 Jan: Government, India and Nepal’s Maoists are determined the 10 April constituent assembly should be held whatever the cost, even without an environment for it.
Government of India Friday gave 1,200 motor vehicles and 14,000 communications sets to Nepal to felicitate the Election Commission to hold the 10 April election that has been postponed twice.
Government and foreign countries, especially India, Great Britain and USA, are the keenest the vote should be held; they lent support to the present rulers, including Maoists, to topple the royal rule and replace it in aapril 2006 with an unelected government by reviving a dead parliament that had completed its five-year tenure.
The unelected dismantled established institutions like a bull in a china shop; it even killed the 16-year constitutional and democratic rule of law with arbitrary and unaccountable rule.
“There is a rule of man without the rule of law,” former chairman of the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) and one of the framers of the present interim constitution said.
The government propelled to power through street protests and foreign backing threw the 1990 constitution into the dustbin and made Girija Prasad Koirala the virtual president and prime minister—a head of state and head of government.
The constitutional, worse than a military coup, was loudly greeted by world the three main foreign players as China watched silently.
There’s chaos in the country with many doubting if a once proud country that was never colonized will survive the foreign onslaught with the help of quislings.
Constitutional rule lasted 16 years, partyless panchayat rule 25 years; what rule Nepal have 22 months after April coup, surprisingly with the King Gyanendra’s nod is still uncertain.
Maoist rule? May be. Not an impossibility.
Any government and system won’t last long any way. 25 years; 16 years; the present government is completing two years.
Nepalis have experienced one experience for certain; never did they encounter such levels of foreign interference and intervention.
Government Friday deployed more than 3,000 policemen in the holy city of Janakpur to hold a rally of seven ruling parties Saturday in the biggest show of force against the rebels in the terai.
The rebels are determined to foil the meet as well with calls of a strike in the region bordering India.
A massive confrontation is likely to break out Saturday in Janakpur—an indication government is determined to hold elections even with maximum force by deploying state troops.
Minister Ram Chandra Paudel has hinted the vote may not take place; his acing party president Sushil Koirala concurred.
More than 40 persons have been killed in almost daily violence after election was announced in December; nine persons were killed and 25 others were severely burnt when rebels torched a bus in Bara this month in the worst violence ahead of a vote.
The security council meanwhile, extended the mandate of the UNMIN 23 January for another six months to oversee
The management of Maoist fighters and elections.
Maoists, this time around, are determined, they say, to hold a vote and capture 40 percent vote to make Chairman Prachanda the country’s first president by toppling the 238-year-old monarchy.
Prachanda said Friday 40 percent of the CPN (Maoist) candidates will be women; the party is giving top leaders political indoctrination or training to go to the people in a three-month campaign..

Thursday, January 24, 2008

PM being flown to New Delhi

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

PM being flown to New Delhi for medical treatment; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 24 Jan: Ailing octogenarian Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is being flown to New Delhi for urgent medical treatment, Indian media reports said.
An Indian doctor from the prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences flew in to the capital Wednesday to examine the prime minister.
Koirala has been confined to bed for more than 10 days amid rumours Tuesday he died.
Koirala, on oxygen, appeared briefly before a select group of visual media Wednesday to scotch the rumours; journalists reported the premier’s face was puffed up.
Koirala, one a heavy smoker, suffers an irreparable lung ailment and has breathing difficulty.
A sick Koirala most operates out of his official residence called “Baluwatar’ after he was again catapulted to power in April 2006; he has rarely gone to Singha Durbar to attend office.
Before his latest sickness, Koirala appointed daughter, Sujata, virtual prime minister, by making h er minister without portfolio but in-charge of the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.
As a result, she has access to all government files and official briefings.
Maoist minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara said important government decisions are pending without a meeting of council of ministers and the scheduled 10 April assembly elections could be affected for the third time.
With the deteriorating law and order situation, election is unlikely although President George said it should be held on schedule.
US is pushing an Iraq-style election in Nepal amid internal conflict; an election at this stage will only complicate an already complex and volatile situation.
“The United States encourages the government and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) to work together to ensure that polls are held by mid-April,” Bush told ambassador Dr Suresh Raj Chalise while accepting his letters of credence.
Wrongly indicating and suggesting democracy didn’t exist before 1 February 2005 when King Gyanendra imposed an aborted three-year direct rule, Bush reportedly said: Nepal has undergone profound changes, moving from a monarchy to an emerging democracy with an emerging economy.”
Washington along with London and New Delhi, the main player, toppled the royal rule in April 2006 with Maoist help.
But USA still continues to put Maoists on its terrorist list, unlike Great Britain and India.
China does not have what it calls ‘official’ relationship with Maoists although they socialize.
Koirala family has been dogged by illness and death in recent weeks.
An elder sister, in her 90’s died and niece Shailja Achayra has also been hospitalized and is on a ventilator at the TU teaching Hospital.
Acharya’s condition is also serious.
Acharya worked closely whit her maternal uncle fighting for the restoration of banned parties from exile in India; ban on parties was restored in 1990 through a popular movement.

Kathmandu Diary

Kathmandu, 24 Jan: A determined government determined Nepal’s first constituent polls 10 April will launch a three-phase special plan from Tuesday until victory rallies after the vote.
Home Minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula announced the plan Thursday even as the security situation deteriorates every day.
Violence limited to the south has now spread to the hills in the north.
The day was uneventful Thursday after three-day student protests by government supporters forced a rollback on hiked prices of POL products.
“The protest this time was far different from the April 2006 demonstrations that brought down the king’s government. Protestors this time didn’t even let bicycles ply the roads during the protests,” a driver said.
While on the subject of elections, Acting Congress president was greeted with protests in the south and predicted a vote won’t be held if violence, killings and abductions continue.
Shitaula, who is deploying police, comes from the Congress.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Prachanda first republic of Nepal

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 23 Jan: CPN (Maoist) have decided to go to the people presenting Chairman Prachanda as Nepal’s first republic in the 10 April constituent assembly election.
The election, increasingly unlikely with daily deteriorating law and order situation, is only a vote to elect 601 member to an assembly which will draft and suggest a structure of a state after seven ruling parties smashed existing institutions through fiat and parliamentary legislation.
The parliament was restored by King Gyanendra following the three-week April 2006 revolt.
Maoists and Prachanda are clearly in a hurry.
This is reflected in a decision to project Prachanda as president of a communist Nepal even without legislative elections which an assembly election isn’t.
Another parliamentary vote has to be conducted to elect real legitimate rulers.
Maoists have decided to go to the people with eight slogans including ‘sweeping changes’ in the country.
Maoists have said the election will only formalize the demise of monarchy after seven ruling parties decided to adopt a republican agenda for the election.
Conservative parties charged a republic is being imposed on the people by the seven parties.

UNMIN’s failed mission

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 23 Jan: The one-year mandate of UNMIN ended Tuesday and the security council was decided to extend its mandate for another six months after Nepal government agreement which has already been conveyed to UN headquarters in New York.
Armed Maoists and other groups move around freely in even in towns including the capital and the countryside even as the UNMIN has verified the Maoist army and their weapons.
The purpose was to hold elections with disarmed Maoists.
Maoists haven’t surrendered all their arms and the former rebels continue to hold and hide them; they can be brought out at a moment’s notice.
Maoists, soon after the verification was completed by UNMIN, threatened to grab the weapons stored at 27 cantonments and satellite camps and fight and overrun the country.
Government and UNMIN remained silent; Maoists are in a position to carry out their threat because hired Indian Gurkha soldiers have been sent back home after the verification was completed.
The skeleton UN staff at the camps will be just a silent spectator if Maoists carry out their threat.
UNMIN took on the enormous responsibility to disarm Maoists and oversee assembly elections on the mistaken hope and belief that disarmed Maoists would ensure free and fair elections without the threat of weapons looming large.
UN didn’t calculate Nepal has a porous and open 1,700 km border with India and seized or surrendered weapons could be replaced with new acquisitions from across the border with the connivance of friendly and corrupt Indian federal and state government officials.
This is what is happening and UN is hardly in position to stop the aberration. So why did it take on the responsibility in the first place?
Officially, UN has completed its first mission to disarm Maoists; but righting rages in the country on the brink of an internal war and disintegration.
A hill group—former Maoists- looted weapons from the police this week in a new development. Rebellion, it was presumed was limited only to areas bordering India in the south.
Probably, the UN won’t need to worry of conducting its second mission to oversee elections because signs are it won’t be held for the third time despite hopes of Washington, its allies on Nepal and even the UN.
Probably, its only success in Nepal was to collect people with experience in other battle zones and ‘educate’ Nepal and Nepalis on how to achieve peace or even to spread textbook propaganda over some friendly radio networks at huge cost on how avoid identify and avoid abandoned landmines.

Kathmandu Diary

Kathmandu, 23 Jan: There were two major happenings Wednesday.
Students affiliated with seven ruling parties forced government to rescind a decision within days to restore prices of POL products hiked this week for the third time in three months.
Maoists ministers publicly protested the hike- enjoying and exercising simultaneously government and opposition politics.
To kill Tuesday’s rumours prime minister died, Girija Prasad Koirala was shown with an oxygen mask briefly in front of journalists on television networks briefly Wednesday .
Th entire exercise was counterproductive.
It only proved rumours the government was gravely sick as election approaches.
Maoist Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara even said election may not be lheld because of Koirala’s illness.
Mahara revealed, in the absence of the prime minister, the cabinet’ hasn’t taken important decisions to enable elections.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

No elections

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Nepal Election Special

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Jan: Carter Center has been permitted by
the Election Commission to monitor the improbable 10 April assembly elections as an observer.
The last popular election was held 1999.
The Center is one of three foreign institutions permitted to oversee the country’s first assembly elections.
Former US president Jimmy Carter visited Nepal two times in 2007 to observe preparations of the vote; European nations are funding the Center which has already started preliminary work..
Asian Network for Free Elections based in Thailand and Asia Forum (Thailand) have also been invited as observers.
Analysts said the vote is unlikely without an environment and with spiraling violence.
The violence which was previously limited to the terai has now spread to the hill regions in the north. Supporters of Khumbuwan, also demanding regional autonomy, Tuesday morning overran two police outposts and captured arms, ammunition and police uniforms in the eastern districts of Khotang and Okhaldunga.
Minister of state for home Ram Kumar Chaudhary escaped unhurt when a public meeting he was to address in Rajbiraj was attacked Monday; Chaudhary hails from the terai.
A government bank was shot dead in the town Tuesday.
A cash-strapped government is pushing elections asking for a three billion rupee dole from the international community.
Sushil Koirala, acting President of Nepali Congress of Prime Minister Girija
Prasad Koirala, said Monday the country will be engulfed in civil without elections.
But such a situation has already exists with a separatist movement gaining momentum in the south bordering India.
The movement started with the rise to power of seven parties supported by India, UK and USA; the initial movement for a movement has gone out of hand and swelled into a separatist movement.
Girija is unable to do anything as he lies on his deathbed; for the first time an official medical statement is being issued after hiding his illness.
Once a chain-smoker, Koirala has an irreparable lung condition accompanied by breathing problems.
Meanwhile, Chairman Prachanda clamed CPN (Maoist) will emerge as a strong political force after the April election.
Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel has warned continuing strikes and protests will make the vote impossible for the third time.
Yet ruling party students brought life to a halt nation-wide Tuesday protesting a midnight hike in prices of POL prices for the third time in thre months.
Protestors, including Maoists, boiled water in kettles on public streets in a symbolic protest against hike in the prices.

Import of chicken banned from India

Kathmandu, 22 Jan: Nepal has banned the import of chicken and related products to stop the spread of bird flu into the kingdom after detention in the neighbouring Indian district of West Bengal.
Bangladesh, which also borders West Bengal, has already banned the import of Indian chicken and chicken products.
Nepal has banned imports into the districts of Ilam, Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari, 250 km southeast of the Nepalese capital.

Nepal’s another air link with the Gulf

Kathmandu, 22 Jan: Yeti Airlines International, a joint venture between Air Arabia and Yeti Airlines, began thrice-weekly direct flights Tuesday linking the Nepalese capital with Kuala Lumpur and Sharjha.
Air Arabia, a UAE-based low-cost carrier has a 21 percent stake in the $50 million company.
Flights are Yeti Airlines’ first flights outside the kingdom.
While, Nepal was linked with the Gulf by air, a 125 km Rs 250 million optical fiber link was laid linking the town of Dhilikhel with the Friendship Bridge on the Nepal-Tibet border Tuesday.
The Chinese-aided project will be completed in five months.
Nepal and Tibet are linked by road through the Friendship Bridge and another road link is being developed through Rasuwa in the central hill region.

Monday, January 21, 2008


Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Rebel group responds to govt. invite

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Jan: A rebel group has responded to a government invitation to resolve separatist demands in the south bordering India through talks.
Government and the Terai Madesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP) are holding talks Friday; the venue hasn’t been announced.
TMLP picked up offer for talks even as it said a 10 April Assembly election to decide the future of the 238-year-old can’t be held without meeting 11 demands.
More radical groups threatened to disrupt the polls violently.
Eight persons were killed and 26 other passengers were injured when a bus was bombed during the weekend; a minister of state for home escaped unhurt when a public meeting he was scheduled address in central Nepal was bombed.
USA is insisting on a Iraq-style election and has suspended aid to cash-strapped Nepal without a vote.
Nepal does not have the finances let alone an environment for a vote; the Himalayan kingdom has asked for three billion rupees in international assistance just to conduct the polls.

Low-level Nepal representation at Hillary state funeral

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Jan: Nepal has sent a low-level delegation to represent the country at the state funeral of Sir Edmund Hillary in Auckland 22 January.
The country, the home of Mount Everest climbed on 29 May 1953, by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, will be represented by Foreign secretary Gyan Chand Acharya, the country’s top diplomat.
Nepal didn’t even send a ministerial delegation to the funeral.
Hillary willed his countrymen should continue to generously help in Nepal’s development and the Sherpa community in particular through the Himalayan Trust, he founded, even after his death.
Hillary’s untiring efforts lifted up the economy and the people of the Khumbu region at the foot of Mount Everest.


Minister of state escapes unhurt

Himalayan Daily Ramblings

Minister of state escapes unhurt

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Jan: Minister of state for home Ram Kumar Chaudhary escaped unhurt Monday when Madesh Tigers set off a bomb at a site of a public meeting he was scheduled to address in his hometown Rajbiraj.
Chaudhary was whisked away from the meeting site after the explosion.
The rebel group set off three other serial blasts in the town after the first blast; there were no casualties.
The terai is burning with a secessionist movement and violence has spiraled after government announced the country’s first assembly elections 10 April to decide the fate of the 238-year-old monarchy.
Elections, postponed twice, are unlikely.
A third joint public meeting of ruling seven political parties in neighbouring town of Bhairahawa went off without any untoward incident Monday.
Two previous meetings in the capital and Biratnagar were bombed.