Nepal Today

Friday, February 29, 2008

Nepal will turn into a Yugoslavia, Sikkim: Narayan Man

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 29 Feb: Small communist constituents in ruling seven-party alliance have expressed differences over the Thursday agreement between the government and the Maesh front, Naya Patrika reports.
They have concluded the agreement will give incentive incentives to elements working for the disintegration of the state.
Janamorcha, Nepal Majdoor Kishan Party (NMKP) and United Left Front (ILF) have expressed differences.
ULF Chairman C P Mainali said,” This is not an institutional decision of the seven parties. The decision has hijacked the rights of the people.”
He said the agreement could start a new conflict and called for correction.
“The agreement has raised the question of national sovereignty,” Amik Serchan of Janamorcha said.
NMKP Chairman Narayanman Bijukakchaya said the agreement was controversial and said,” The independence of the election commission has been been challenged with the issuance of an ordinance by the governemnt after election dates were announced.”
Government issued an ordinance Thursday relaxing a provision in an electoral to allow parties that poll less than 30 percent vote in direct elections to field candidates outside marginalised groups.
‘The agreement is a surrender to foreigners.”
He said opening for groups in the Nepal Army (NA)will give opportunity for India-trained people to penetrate NA.
“Nepal will turn into a Yugoslavia or Sikkim,” he said.
Narayan Kazi Shrestha, general secretary of Unity Centyer, said Congress, CPN-UML and Maoists took the decision unilaterally.
“The decision without the meeting of seven parties is unconstitutional.
“Congress is seeking some form of monarchy even though the prime minister has told parliament the country has already adopted a republic.
Even a minister very close to the prime minister is advocating monarchy.”
Dhungana said seven parties don’t represent public opinion.
“Seven parties and government have taken arbitrary decisions without serious consideration.
Decisions before this have no meaning. Only the sovereign people should decide issues that should be taken up by the constituent assembly or the needs of the nation.
‘A constitution should be promulgated that’s acceptable to all. It will assume a permanent status after going to the constituent assembly.”

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Govt., terai parties agree to hold elections

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 28 Feb: Under intense pressure from the Indian government, government and a three-party terai front agreed to hold the twice postponed constituent assembly elections as announced on 10 April against heavy odds.
Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh sent a special emissary former Madhya Pradesh chief minister Digbijaya Singh to push elections.
After Singh returned home Friday following intense pressure on the two sides, New Delhi former ambassador to Nepal KV Rajan and a retired professor at Jawarlal Nehru University and a front for the government of India SD Muni to continue the relentless pressure which finally paid.
The front, on the 16th day of a crippling strike and an undeclared Indian blockade by India on land-locked Nepal, the Nepalese government and a three-party terai front signed an eight-point agreement ending the strike pushing self-determination one Madesh, one pradesh.
The front immediately have up a demand for self-determination in the terai adjoining India; New Delhi has opposed such a demand in majority-dominated Jammu and Kashmir which will secede from India is such a vote is ever held.
Before and within hours, India and USA welcome the breakthrough that a desperate Koirala was hop in for to save his reputation after two failures to keep a promise.
But Koirala paid a price by giving in to the first pressures for self-determination.
How long can Koirala stop the demand?
Prime Minister Koirala and front leaders Mahanta Thakur, Rajendra Mohoto and Upendra Yadav signed the eight-point agreement.
Government as agreed to go for a republic, federal .provincial structure to be determined by CA.
The republic is being put to a vote to be decided by the people; government has already decided for them making elections a farce.
On another key demand for immediate group recruitment
Of people from the terai in Nepal Army, the agreement stipulates government will prioritize the recruitment of Madeshis, Dalits and indigenous people in the state army.
The cabinet Thursday decided in an emergency meeting to ask the Election Commission to open for two days nominations for candidates to contest the 110 April elections even after nominations were closed.
The Commission Thursday filed the final list of candidates who had filed nominations for 240 seats in direct elections for the assembly.

U.S. Welcomes Agreement between UDMF and GON
Full text of the US embassy statement:
The United States Embassy welcomes the decision by the three United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) parties to sign a political agreement today with the Government of Nepal. We expect this agreement will lead the UDMF parties to end their Terai bandh (general strike) with immediate effect and will pave the way for the three parties to participate fully in the upcoming Constituent Assembly election on April 10. We expect further that both sides will fulfill the terms of the agreement. A free and fair election is the desire, we believe, of all Nepalis – in the mountains, the hills and the plains – and the United States is committed to doing its part to assist the people of Nepal in making this historic opportunity a reality.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Govt. tries to convince opposition to participate in elections

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 26 Feb: Government held inconclusive discussions Tuesday with leaders of three terai parties to convince them to participate in the 10 April constituent assembly elections.
Discussions were held on six demands; new demands, including rescheduling of elections, were also discussed, party sources said.
Government said it will hold the vote despite the boycott of the front demanding the right to self-determination and provincial rule.
Police Tuesday shot dead one person in Parasi where demonstrators attacked the home of a former minister on the 14th day on an indefinite strike by the front pushing its demands.
As clashes continued local administration slapped curfews in Sunsari, Siraha Bazzar Nepalgunj, Birgunj and several other towns.
Election Commission Tuesday published names of 2191 candidates who filed nominations Monday for elections, 33 political parties are participating in elections, the Commission said.
To ease the supply of essential goods during the strike, government Monday enforced the essential services act..
The act empowers the state to intervene in private sector undertakings in order to ensure smooth and regular flow of essential services in the country.

Nepal, China meet 3 March

Kathmandu, 26 Feb: Nepal, China are holding a consultative meeting in the Nepalese capital 3 March.
A nine-member delegation led by Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs arrives 2 March to attend the regular annual meeting.

Election Commission to cancel elections

Kathmandu, 26 Feb: It’s learnt Election Commission is preparing to announce the cancellation of constituent assembly in the absence of peace and security with the agreement of political parties, Punarjagaran reports.
An announcement is being made because election cannot be held on the scheduled date because of protests in the terai and hill regions of Limbuwan and Khumbuwan.
Sources said commissioners will accept moral responsibility for failure to hold elections and resign.

Naked Indian intervention; agreement to postpone elections

By Dipak Pandey in Dhristi

Kathmandu, 26 Feb: A secret agreement has been reached between Nepali Congress and agitating terai parties to reschedule the 10 April constituent assembly election on Baishak 28 [around 11 May].
Sources told Dhristi Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koiorala and leaders of Madesh Loktantrik Morcha reached the agreement to reschedule elections midnight Sunday at the prime minister’s official residence in Baluwatar.
The prime minister has given assurance he will convince leaders of the seven parties at their meeting where he will present the proposal.
Front proposed rescheduling by one month saying they aren’t against elections but an environment has to be created for it.
Sarbindra Nath Dukla told Dhristi discussions were held to hold elections on 28 Baishak.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Vote will be held killings apart

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 25 Feb: Home Minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula said Monday the controversial 10 April constituent assembly election will be held as scheduled even as he was receiving first reports from districts of widespread violence during filing for nominations.
At least three persons were killed and 200 others others were injured in police firings when activists loyal to a three-party terai front prevented candidates from filing their nominations at district headquarters in the midst of an indefinite anti-election strike that entered its 13th day Wednesday.
The front is demanding right to self-determination and provincial rule for the terai —a virtual declaration of independence from the kingdom founded by Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great 238 years ago by uniting principalities as a time when British imperialism was on a expanding in South Asia.
Altogether 2128 candidates filed nominations in 74 districts, except Mohottari, and 121 candidates filed nominations for 10 seats in Kathmandu from 10 in the morning to five in the afternoon, the Election Commission.
Direct elections are being held for 240 seats for the constituent assembly.
Nominations were filed amid shootings, bombings, sit-ins and curfew on the 13th day an indefinite protest by a three-party terai front demanding self-determination and provincial rule.
The demands have been rejected by the government of seven parties, including Maoists.
Candidates flew by helicopter to register their nominations as others filed nominations through fax messages to avoid obstructions.
Madhav Kumar Nepal, Prachanda and Prakash Man Singh filed nominations from Kathmandu. Conservative RPP also filed nominations from all 10 constituencies in the capital although the party lent support to the Madesh movement.
Prachanda said after filing his nomination,” People’s victory journey has started from a new height. Nobody can stop this. There’s no problem of Madesh people. Even now door is open for talks. They Nepal Army should be deployed along with the PLA with understanding should it be required for election."
But he emphasized its not necessary now.
This is not the first time Prachanda has called for the deployment of the PLA, or a military wing of a ruling party, with the Army for state security duty—unheard of anywhere in the world.
Home minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula said talks failed with the front because the alliance wanted the poll rescheduled.
"Government was very flexible. We are committed to hold elections on 10 April." Shitaula told reporters.
‘They suddenly came up with a new demand. They demanded an amendment in the constitution with the convening of parliament. This was a new demand,” he revealed.
Curfews have been slapped in towns where police resorted to firing, including Rajbiraj and Inaruwa.
Two persons were also injure din firings in Nawalparasi after demonstrators breaking prohibitory orders clashed with clash police.
Curfew was slapped on Jaleshwor, Mohottari where 10 persons were injured in firings and clashes; the house of a district court judge, an election presiding officer, was torched and vehicle damaged.
Two persons were injured in attacks by supporters on Limbuwan region in east Nepal as well.
RPP-Nepal has also boycotted elections along with supporters of monarchy in Nepali Congress taking the party that has just united in 2007 again towards another split.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Political parties finalizing list of candidates for direct elections

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 24 Feb: Major parties Sunday were holding last minute and frantic meetings to finalize list of candidates for direct elections for the 10 April uncertain and unlikely constituent assembly elections.
Until Saturday, Nepali Congress finalized a list of 203 candidates from 68 of 75 districts as the parliamentary committee continued meeting Sunday to finalize the list which has to be submitted to the Election Commission by a deadline Monday.
The party has already submitted a list of 335 candidates for a closed lust for indirect elections; ailing Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is contesting indirect elections.
Daughter Sujata has been allotted a ticket from his traditional constituency to ensure her election. Koirala brought her directly into government last year by appointing her minister without portfolio and admitted he made a mistake by not giving her a ticker in the last election in 1999.
CPN-UML standing committee Saturday prepared a list of 601 candidates for direct and indirect elections—240 will contest direct and 335 indirect elections.
Madhav Kumar Nepal is contesting from the capital and a traditional constituency in Rautahat.
A final selection will be made Sunday.
Differences have surfaced in both the major parties over the distribution of tickets.
Youth have protested in Nepali Congress.
Sher Bahadur Deuba is contesting from two constituencies in Daldeldhura and Kanchanpur.
Charka Prasad Bastola has received a ticket from Jhapa despite saying he won’t contest.
Arjun Narsingh KC first received a ticket to fight Prachanda from constituency 6 in the capital but the ticket was suddenly withdrawn; a disgruntled KC threatened he may not contest after all.
Sushil Koirala is fighting from Banke No 2 and Ram Chandra Paudel from Tanahu 1 and Gobinda Raj Joshi from his traditional constituency in Tanahu..
Prakash Man Singh is standing up form Kathmandu 1 and Home Minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula from Jhapa 3.
An influential group consisting of former home minister Gobinda Raj Joshi charged the trio of Deuba, Paudel and Sushil Koirala for arbitrarily distributing tickets without the knowledge of the prime minister.
“Even incumbent lawmakers from terai where a movement is ongoing haven’t been given tickets,” Joshi said at an assembly of dissidents at his residence Saturday.
Koirala and Deuba factions in the party are competing for seats amid charges the party hasn’t united psychologically even after unification.
Dr Minendra Rijal, close to Deuba, hasn’t received a ticker from Morang from where Mahesh Acharya has secured a berth.
CPN (Maoist) headquarter is also finalizing its list of candidates 36 hours before its presentation.
Prachanda is contesting from a Kathmandu constituency and Rolpa while Baburam Bhattarai is standing up form his home district Gorkha.
From the CPN-UML JhalanathKhanal is contesting from Ilam 1, KP Sharma Oli from Jhana 7, Bamdeb Gautam from Bardia 1, Bharat Mohan Aadhikri from Morang 2; Ishwar Pokhrel is contesting from Kathmandu 5.

Details of fresh Indian involvement

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 24 Feb: India’s direct involvement in the Madesh issue has started, Tilak Pathak, Jitendta Khadka report in Nepal.
Indian ambassador Shib Shankar Mukherjee started direct talks with Madesh leaders immediately after his tenure was extended three months.
Indian Ambassador Shib Shabkar Muhkherjee has presented this roadmap to Madesh leaders.
1. Withdraw agitation.
2. Leave demand for One Madesh, one pradesh to be decided by constituent assembly.
3. Leave demand for self-determination and go for ‘content’.
4. ‘Consider’ election process; don’t go for amendment in interim constitution.
5. Participate in elections accepting prime minister’s assurances.
6. Go for adjustment with Congress in election.
Sources said Congress leaders asked Indian embassy to create an environment when talks reached a failing point after which Congress and Madesh leaders were summoned to the embassy 20 February.
Jayaprakash Gupta claims they were called to the Indian embassy by the Indian ambassador in the prime minister’s request.
India wants to convey the message it wants and is for constituent assembly election. Secondly, The purpose of the 12-point agreement in New Delhi brokered by India is also assembly election for which the tenure of Mukherjee has been extended by another three months.
If election isn’t held, Indian role will be reduced with the rise of US influence. India doesn’t want this.
India wants election on schedule to prepare for the withdrawal of UNMIN from Nepal.

23,000 Bhutanese refugees seek resettlement in USA

Kathmandu, 24 Feb: Country representative of UNHCR in Nepal Daisy Dell said on Saturday that over 23,000 Bhutanese refugees have applied for third country resettlement till now, The Kathmandu Post reports.
According to her, UNHCR has forwarded a name list of about 10,000 refugees for third country settlement, she also informed that the Home Ministry last week started issuing travel documents to refugees opting for resettlement.


Ruling parties back firm stand against Madesh demands; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 23 Feb: Seven ruling parties Saturday backed a government dialogue team decision to reject a demand for one Madesh, one province creating a crisis for the government of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala whose dream to hold a 10 April constituent assembly election will be shattered.
Seven parties rejected the demands for self-determination as well of Madesh and other groups.
“Government can’t meet the demands,” the parties said.
Government said it was ready to meet demands for federalism, declaration of people killed in the terai as martyrs saying it will be ‘flexible’ to other demands.
A statement issued after the seven-party meet again issued an invitation to groups for talks.
The credibility of Koirala and his government will be questioned after failure to conduct the vote.
A two-day donor meeting that concluded Friday linked assistance to the election.
A crippling and bloody strike pushed by a three-party terai front demanding self-determination and provincial autonomy enters its 11th day Saturday with a Madesh leader ruling out a negotiated agreement settlement with government for a 10 April assembly election.
“The situation in the country has reached a serious turn,” a meeting of CPN (Maoist) concluded Saturday.
Curfew in some terai towns, including Nepalgunj completed one week Saturday; it continued in Biratnagar, the hometown of prime Girija Prasad Koirala.
Talks first brokered by India at the Indian embassy to the protest of Maoists who first negotiated a 12-point agreement with seven parliamentary parties in New Delhi in before April 2006 for a regime change.
Protests from other quarters have also been criticized.
“The government couldn’t under stand our feelings,” Madesh Janatantrik Forum chairman Upendra Yadav said.
Yadav rejected participation in the 10 April elections and said the three parties will not submit a closed a list candidates under indirect election for proportional representation system Sunday.
“We won’t participate in election,” Yadav said. the only alternative if for the government to hold elections with the deployment of army.
Protests and violence continued in the terai Saturday and amid shortage so fuel, government started the movement of tanker convoys under armed security escort.
Desperate people facing fuel shortages have started hi-jacking oil tankers as supplies run out.
Seven ruling parties are meeting Saturday to discuss a government crisis and a common approach.
Meanwhile, Tharu Welfare Council, have opposed a one Madesh, one province and resumed aa strike mainly in the mid-west region; Tharus have rejected provincial demands although they live in the south mainly in five districts in the mid and far-West.
Even with the setback to government ruling parties continue to give final touches to a list of candidates that has to be submitted by Monday for election under first-past-the-post system.
Youth in the Nepali Congress have protested their denial of tickets for the election; dissatisfaction in the distribution of tickets have surfaced in other parties as well.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Janasakti Party of Surya Bahadur Thapa clarified it hasn’t boycotted elections.
“We will be the first to participate in elections provided an atmosphere is created for the vote. The election can’t be held with held of people not participating,” party vice-chairman Dr Prakash Chandra Lohini said.
Mediation by Indians within the Indian embassy has come under stong criticism.
‘How appropriate is it to discuss issues of national importance inside an embassy?” asked Rajecsh Acharya of the Nepali Congress and former ambassador to China; he is brother of Mahesh Acharya, who was one of the Nepali negotiators of behalf of premier Koirala.
“What sent these people to the embassy?” asked left intellectual Gobinda Bhatta.
‘This is a naked demonstration of force,” civil society leader Dr Debendra Raj Pandey said on Indian mediation efforts.


Maoist, Marxist merge

Kathmandu, 23 Feb: CPN (Marxist) merged with CPN (Maoist) Friday for revolutionary unity.
Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ and general secretary of Marxist Tika Hamal signed a merger document.

Chakra Bastola not contesting election

Kathmandu, 23 Feb: A dissatisfied former foreign minister and top Congress leader Chakra Bastola isn’t fighting constituent assembly elections.
Bastola is a nephew of prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala towhom the decision has been conveyed.
“I stand by my decision although the prime minister told me to change by decision,” Bastola said.
Bastola has been contesting elections from Jhapa from 1990.
There are reports Bastola may quit the party as well.
He is dissatisfied with the conduct of Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and other top party leaders.

Rs 500 levy for every worker

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: The government has started levying Rs 500 for each migrant worker as a contribution to the Foreign Employment Welfare Fund that is being used for the benefit of themselves and their families, The Himalayan Times reports.
The number of Nepalis going abroad to work increased by 27 percent in the first seven months of the current fiscal year 2007/08 compared to the same period of the last fiscal year, The Kathmandu Post reports.
According to the data compiled by the Department of Labour, a total off 132,812 workers left for overseas employment during the period ending mid-February.
There were 104,606 departures last year.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Alternation in election schedule condemned

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: Dr Prakash Chandra Lohini, vice-chairman of conservative Rashtriya Jasakti Party (RJP), it’s not for the Election Commission how to handle political parties that didn’t file nominations of candidates within a deadline.
The Commission , at government, request, gave parties an opportunity that didn’t meet Wednesday’s deadline to file a closed list of candidates under proportional representation Saturday.
“It’s not for the Commission to scrutinize which parties filed or didn’t file nominations.
‘The commission is like a shopkeeper who has opened a shop. Their work is to regisr applications,” Dr Lohini said.
“More than 10 million people are on protests and they aren’t participating in elections. It isn’t in the country's interest to force elections,” he said.
CPN (United Marxist) Thursday objected to the government change in election programme announced earlier by the Election Commission.
The party charged the commission for fooling around with the schedule.
Even after a deadline expired Wednesday, Election Commission on government request gave political parties time Saturday to submit a list of closed candidates for elections under proportional representation for constituent assembly 10 April.

Alternate national culture

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: Former prime minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, by organizing a a party on his 84th birthday Thursday, has given the country an alternate leadership and laid the foundation stone for an alternate political culture, Samya reports.
This was the message of the birthday bash.
Bhattarai, 84, prepared a list of invitees for the party giving priority to his political beliefs and human values.
He openly challenged the politics of boycott.
King Gyanendra was the first to arrive at the Himalaya Hotel at 11.30 in the morning. Present and former prime ministers, speakers and chiefs of diplomatic missions were present.
‘This is the beginning of reconciliation,” former speaker Daman Nath Dhungana said.
Dhungana lately favours reconciliation between the king, as a traditional force, Maoists, democratic forces and terai groups.
Congress leader Chankra Prasad Bastola went to greet Bhattarai one day earlier at Bhaisipati and said he was about quit Congress son after concluding he couldn’t work with the prime minister, Deuba and Sushil.
CPN-UMLl and Maoists boycotted the Bhaisipati reception even though they were invited.
Prime Minister Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba went to greet Bhattarai together at Bhaisipati.

Nepalese embassy being repaired, not sold

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: The Nepalese embassy in London is being repaired, not sold, Samya reports.
A foreign ministry team headed Suresh Pradhan made the recommendation.
Officials of the Crown Estate put a condition it should that it should have a right to choose a buyer if Nepal government was putting the property up for sale.

10 April election almost impossible with talks failure (BREAKING NEWS)

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: The 10 April constituent assembly election is now virtually impossible for the third time in 10 months with Friday’s deadlock in negotiations between the government and three-party terai front demanding self-determination and provincial rule.
Government negotiators headed by peace minister Ram Chandra Paudel rejected the demand for ‘one Madesh, one pradesh’, Jhalananath Khanal of the CPN-UMP and government negotiating team said after the failed talks Friday evening.
The talks were the second in two days.

"We couldn’t accept the demand of one Madesh, one pradesh.The talks ended in a deadlock. They have not been utilized an opportunity to hold elections with the addition of one more day to submit a list of closed candidates," an angry Khanal said." They want to spoil elections."
Khanal said,” We were ready to concede five demands. Even they cannot put the demand for one Madesh, one pradesh which is for the constituent assembly to decide,” Khanal said.
It was not clear and very unlikely the two sides will pick up pieces of the broken down talks.
The closed list under proportional representation for 335 members of the constituent assembly has to be submitted on Sunday.
An agreement is unlikely tomorrow Saturday.
Talks between government three teri parties, who didn’t submit a closed list Wednesday, were held after Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal and Chairman Prachanda first met to try and attempt forge a common concept.

Strike enters 10th day

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: A crippling and violent strike of a front of three terai parties pushing six demands, including self-determination and provincial rule, entered its 10th day Friday.
Nearly to dozen policemen and demonstrators were injured in the holy city of Janakpur which demonstrators tried to overrun.
New night curfew was imposed in parts of Saptari amid reports armed elements were trying to overrun parts of the district, radio reports said.
Front activists attacked a helicopter carrying election materials soon after it landed in Gaur where more than two dozen demonstrators were injured in clashes with police Friday.
Curfew continues in many towns along the border with India.
Angry people facing shortages of essential goods hijacked four full petrol tankers in Chitwan and four others were torched in Bara.
Shortages of kerosene, gas, water, diesel and load-shedding is getting unbearable.
It appears aging and seriously Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, 84, will have to eat his words to conduct polls again.
India’s attempt to force elections has apparently failed.
Maoists and another communist constituent of the ruling seven-party alliance protested a Nepali Congress attempt by Koirala’s party to unilaterally negotiate a separate agreement with the front inside the Indian embassy premises this week with Indian mediation.
The talks between government and Madesh leaders ended in a deadlock as donors at a two-day meeting in the capital pushed elections with feeble promises to help.
The only alternative, if a breakthrough is not reached Saturday/Sunday, is to force elections with Army help as threatened by some ministers including Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat.
It’s unlikely government can use the option.
A strike in the Limbuwan region has also hit nine hill districts of the eastern region with threats by Chure Bhavar to disturb assembly polls if held without annulling nearly 2.4 million citizenship certificates distributed to people of terai origin after April 2006.

Former minister Narayan Singh Pun dead

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: Former minister and chairman of Samata Party Narayan Singh Pun, 59, died Thursday in New Delhi.
He died of complications after a kidney transplant.
Pun made a fortune by launching a helicopter service.
He founded Karnali Airways after resigning from the Royal Nepal Army as a Lt Col in the air wing.
Pun was expelled from Nepali Congress after he joined the royal government as minister.
He was first elected to parliament on a Nepali Congress ticket from Myagdhi in 1999.
Pun was minister in a government headed by Lokendra Bahadur Chand formed after the dismissal of the government of Sher Bahadur Deuba by King Gyanendra for ineptitude to hold elections six months after dissolving parliament.
Pun, with links to Maoist military leader Ram Bahadur Thapa ‘Badal’,helped to bring the CPN (Maoist) to the negotiating table; Pun was also a member of the government negotiating tream.
Pun graduated from Britain’s Sandhurst Military Academy. During failed peace, he made a controversial recommendation to restrict army to barracks while giving Maoists free movement across the country.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Royal couple greet Kishunji

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Feb: In a rare gesture , the King and Queen Thursday drove to a reception at a five-star hotel across the Bagmati river and extended their personal greetings and best wishes to former prime minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai on his 84th birthday.
This is the first time the royal couple has demonstrated such a gesture.
Crown Prince Paras and Crown Princess Himani also extended their personal greetings at the reception.
To recall, Bhattarai, affectionately called Kishunji, visited the crown prince where be was recovering after a heart attack.
Bhattarai, a firm supporter of constitutional monarchy, said monarchy should continue for another 300 years in Nepal as the 238-year-old institution that also founded modern Nepal is being put to a vote on unlikely elections on 10 April.
Bhattarai, the only surviving founding member Nepali Congress, quit the party last year after prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala hijacked Nepali Congress by abandoning a centrist party position to opt for a republic opposed by more than 53 party lawmakers.
Monarchy, according to a recent independent poll, has majority support but government won’t test its popularity in a referendum an dis instead pushing fraud elections being rigged by ruling seven parties, including Maoists.
Maoists, unhappy with Bhattarai, boycotted the reception.

Government buys time; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Feb: Election Commission Thursday gave some relief to a government that is a constituent assembly election on 24 million people with mainly Indian government backing.
The commission gave parties demanding for self-determination and provincial rule in terai an opportunity to submit a list of candidates for elections under proportional representation on 24 February even though the deadline expired Wednesday 21 February.
The commission acted on an emergency government request which asked for four-day extension.
Maoists and Janamorcha of the ruling seven-party coalition opposed what they called unilateral talks by three representatives of premier Girija Prasad Koirala to broker an agreement with terai leaders under Indian mediation at the Indian embassy Wednesday.
The objections came at a cabinet meeting.
The proposed election would have been a farce without participation of the terai people who constitute nearly half the population; two conservative parties have walked out of what has been called farcical polls.
The donor community also put pressure on the government Thursday saying no aid without assembly election.
Only 37 of 74 registered parties submitted their lists Wednesday.
The government has until early Saturday to meet six demands of the terai rejected so far by Koirala who is desperate to hold elections after two failed attempts.
Meanwhile, curfews continued in Nepalgunj, Lahan and Sirana bazzar Thursday on the ninth day of an indefinite strike by the front causing shortages nationwide and disrupting normal life.
Curfew was slapped along the national highway in Bara and Parsa to facilitate the movement of petrol tankers from Raxaul to the Valley.

A Nepali associate of Indian kidney trafficker held

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: Police Thursday arrested a Nepali doctor from Saptari for alleged links with Indian Dr Amit Kumar, an international racketeer in kidney trade.
Dr Pankaj Jha was arrested the Indo-Nepal border by Nepal police after the extradition of Dr Kumar following his arrest this month in the kingdom.
Lawyers called the extradition illegal.
Supreme court has issued a show cause to government demanding an explanation.

Four killed in Bhutan’s people’s war

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 22 Feb: Human Rights Organization of Bhutan (HUROB) said four activists of Bhutan Communist Party Marxist, Leninist, Maoist (BCP-MLM) have been killed by t Bhutanese police after launching a people’s war inside Bhutan to topple King Jigme Singhe Wangchuk this year.
Eight activists have also been arrested from two places in Sampdrupzongkhar district.
HUROB Chairman S.B.Subba said the arrested should be given prisoner of war status.
"We request all the concerned to raise the issue with the Royal Government
of Bhutan immediately to prevent prisoners from being tortured or
forcefully disappeared," Subba said.
Pro-democracy Bhutanese leader Tek Nath Rijal from his exile in Nepal said nearly 80,000 Bhutanese of Nepalese ethnicity could be expelled in another mass expulsion following inhuman treatment with restriction of their movement.

No suspicious activities in Nepal’s madrasah along India border: Official

By Bhola B Rana

Kapilvasthu, 20 Feb: Local administration has made clear masjids and madrasas in the district aren’t involved in activities for or against anybody following claims Indian security agencies, Sanjaya Panthi reports in Kantipur.
Indian reports said anti-Indian activities were being conducted.
Local administration made clear no ‘activities’ except educational were being conducted.
CDO Ram Bilas Yadav said there were 172 madrasas and were running on their own resources imparting education from class one to Fajidal [MA].
CDOYadav said no suspicious activities were reported so far from religious places..
The administration made clear no INGOs have been registered to run activities only in the Muslim community.

Naxalite probably hiding in urban centers [Excerpts]

By Vishwa Mohan in Times of India

New Delhi, 18 Feb: The revelation of Misir Besra, a top Maoist leader arrested in Jharkhand recently is significant in view of Friday’s attacks in Orissa.
Besra had specifically spoken of polce stations in the state being on Naxalite hitlist, along with a few individuals, politicians and officers in Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.
… agencies have an exact idea of the command structure headed by politburo comprising 14 permanent members and six ‘alternative’ members.
Ganapati is party general secretary.
.. the party’s top leadership is still dominated by leadership from Andhra Pradesh, with half of its politburo members coming from the state and as many as four of them from the banned outfits old bastion, Karimnagar district.
Not much has been known of the underground leadership that directs its cadres to commit violence in as many as 13 states and has links with associates in Nepal.
The politburo member’s interrogation reveals not only details of the Maoist command structure, but also audacious plans to target cities like New Delhi and Mumbai.
Officials believe that most of them might have even been taking shelter in urban areas with the help of unarmed sympathizers whose number could be anywhere between 60,000 to 70,000 across the country.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


Kathmandu, 20 Feb: Starting from 18 February 2008 the visa processing has moved from British Embassy Kathmandu to the British High Commission in New Delhi, the British embassy said.
The applications will be collected, just like before, at the VFS Global office at Nagpokhari. Then they will be forwarded to BHC New Delhi for considerations. All requirements will remain the same.
- The applicants will not be required to visit Delhi for interviews, as all applications will be processed without any interview.
- The change is not limited to Nepal. It has been operational already in some countries in the world.
- Nnnn

Full text of the statement of donors on eve of consultation meeting, donors concerned over threats to peace and development

Kathmandu, 20 Feb: “This is a critical moment in Nepal’s history. A moment when centuries of exclusion could begin to be reversed. A moment that calls for the strongest leadership and vision.”, donors, called by Government to a Nepal Donors Consultation, point out in their opening statement on 21st February.
“The international community expects a peaceful and democratic process of change. However, we note with grave concern the situation in the Terai, and we fully support efforts to address the current situation.”

Donors point out “Nepal’s future depends on its political leaders working together to take the country through these difficult times; implementing commitments and agreements made, supporting the rule of law, pushing forward with vital economic reforms that will create jobs, and delivering the development gains that only peace can provide. Elections will be a vital step forward. Nepal’s development partners will continue to support measures to strengthen the peace process and to improve the delivery of development benefits to the people. In all of this, we remain fully committed to helping the people of Nepal build the New Nepal they so desperately want, and so deeply deserve.”

The conference is intended to be a forum to discuss peace and development challenges in Nepal, and to seek support and build confidence in progress. It is planned that it will be opened by the Right Honourable Prime Minister Mr Girija Prasad Koirala, and a statement from Nepal’s development partners will be given by Mr Liqun Jin, Vice President of the Asian Development Bank. It is not a pledging forum, which is planned for later in the year, following elections in April.

“Inclusive and credible elections, held in a free and fair atmosphere, are critical for the peace process. We support the full participation of women, Dalits, Janajatis, Madhesis, religious minorities and other excluded groups across the country. A representative Constituent Assembly is a long standing promise to the people of Nepal, and can help ensure that all Nepalis have a stake in the creation of a new and inclusive state.” donors emphasise.

Donors note that “A stronger democratic foundation for governance at the national level will help create the conditions for the restoration of democratic local government and accountable governance. These conditions are in turn essential for effective international development assistance.”

“Peace, human rights and development go hand-in-hand. The Government’s Three Year Interim Plan ”…seeks to address issues related to inequalities, social exclusion and conflict.” Peace and stability are needed for development to succeed, while development is needed for peace to last. In turn a durable peace can only be achieved on the basis of good faith and the full implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Accord and other agreements, including the creation of an effective Peace Commission and High Level Monitoring Committee.”

Donors note that “Nepal has achieved development progress in recent years. Poverty has been reduced from 42% to 31% over the past decade. Annual deaths of young children, and mothers in childbirth, have been reduced by a half. In education, almost 90% of Nepali boys and girls are now enrolled in school, one of the highest rates in the region. During the last decade, seven remote districts were connected by roads, and some 2.6 million Nepalis, mostly in the Terai, received citizenship. Despite huge challenges, and some lost opportunities, these positive achievements during a period of conflict should be recognised.”

Donors highlight that formidable challenges remain and many obstacles must be overcome to build the ‘peaceful, prosperous and just New Nepal’, including social exclusion, rising inequality, limited access to often poor quality basic services including school children leaving school early, and increasing social disruption and instability, particularly in the Terai.

Donors observe that “It is vital that the political leadership move ahead with implementation of agreements for the inclusion of all excluded groups in the civil service, the security forces and elsewhere, and discussions on the future of the armed forces in line with existing agreements. We also look forward to a New Nepal where human rights are respected, and impunity for past and present abuses is ended. Children’s rights should be addressed, and the orderly discharge of minors from cantonments, properly supported, should proceed without delay.”

From an economic perspective, donors note, “The people of Nepal want peace and stability, and they also want the chance to make a decent living. Urgent attention should be given to the economy. Recent electricity and fuel shortages undermine enterprise, and are a burden on daily life. We look forward to discussing the Government's strategy to help create a safe and secure environment for sustainable economic growth, and measures to help create more and better jobs for the people of Nepal, including the poor and excluded.”

Donors contributing to the statement include the Asian Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, European Commission, Germany, Finland, Republic of Korea, Norway, Switzerland, UN, United Kingdom, United States of America, World Bank.
This Government-Donor consultation meeting beginning Thursday aims to open an important dialogue about where Nepal is today, where it needs to go in terms of peace and development, and how the international community can play a supportive role. It is not a meeting where the international community will pledge money.
This meeting will lead to a stronger focus on key priorities on the part of the Government and the members of the international community, to help provide tangible improvements to people’s lives.
Depending on progress with the peace process, and following successful and credible elections, it is hoped to schedule a Nepal Development Forum later in the year at which donors will announce future commitments of support.

Four crew members survive army chopper crashes next ton Everest

Kathmandu, 20 Feb: Four crew members of a Nepal Army Indian-manufactured Cheetak helicopter crashed at Kalapattar next to the 8848 meters Mount Everest, the world’s tallest peak, Wednesday morning.
The crew members have been rescued.

Agitating terai parties don’t register for elections

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Feb: The proposed 20 April assembly elections became even more uncertain Wednesday when major parties in the terai, didn’t submit their list of candidates for 335 persons to be elected under proportional representation system.
Nepali Congress proposed Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in its list.
Three parties of a front calling for self-determination and provincial rule in MAdeshi didn’t present their lists of closed candidates for the controversial vote by the deadline Wednesday.
Major conservative parties decided earlier to boycott elections fearing for the lives of candidates and votors.
All ruling seven parties were among 37 parties presented their lists; they are among 74 parties registered at the Election Commjssion for the vote.
Meanwhile, radio reports Wednesday said India for the first time directly tried to defuse a crisis for Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
The southern neighbour attempted to mediate the differences between the three- party front and Nepali Congress on behalf of Koirala at the Indian embassy Wednesday, radio reports said.
Former Indian ambassador KV Rajan and incumbent envoy Shib Shankar Mukherjee helped at the embassymeeting between front and three Nepali Congress leaders Amod Upadhaya, Dr Shekhak Koirala and Mahesh Acharya, on behalf of the prime minister and not the government.
A crippling and bloody strike of the front front entered its week Wednesday.
Flowing clashes between demonstrators and police in which dozens were injured curfew continued in dour districts Wednesday.
Some tanker movement driven by army and police drivers began moving under escort and curfews Wednesday.

PM Koirala angry with India

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 20 Feb: A concerned prime minister yesterday [Tuesday] was angry with India at a closed breakfast meeting with relatives and close circles, Janaastha reports.
“India deceived me,” he said four days after a delegation of ruling Congress (I) returned home.
Koirala conceded he obliged India going against the country’s rules, laws and tradition by extraditing Dr Amit Kumar.
“I have landed in trouble,” Koirala said referring to India.
Finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, home minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula were among those present.
Koirala revealed he expected Indian support for election by returning the doctor.
‘I felt the terai problem would be resolved but from today I don’t feel that any longer,” Koirala said.
He told the family according a source at the prime minister’s personal office,” Election should be conducted even by mobilizing the army even if Prachanda agrees or not.”
Talks have been held with Maoists.

Foreign minister going to Kuwait to save life of Nepali woman

Kathmandu, 20 Feb: Foreign Minister Sahana Pradhan is visiting Kuwait with a high-level delegation lto help save the life of Dolma of Sindhupalchowk on death row on a murder charge, Janaastha reports.
She will stop in Kuwait en route to Brussels on 27 February to participate in a UN meeting.

India searching for Koirala’s successor [Excerpts]

By Chudamani Bhattarai in Janaastha

Kathmandu, 20 Feb: It has come to light the visiting Congress (I) delegation and the team he headed to Nepal conspired in not only to remove prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala but also a regime change.
This was revealed by Chairman of FNCCI Chandi Dhakal who ruled out a government headed by Surya Bahadur Thapa or civil society.
The question was posed by Singh at a reception hosted for the delegation at Raddison Hotel by the Indian embassy for a select group of people. The question revealed the purpose of Singh’s Nepal visit.
Fifteen Nepalese were present at the recpetion.
Dhakal told Janaastha” These are all persons who have been rejected.”
‘Prime minister Koirala is old and sick. That’s why the country is in a mess. Not only that. Nobody is in line for succession,” Singh said in an opening remark.
He portrayed a grim picture of future Nepal.
“In the absence of capable leadership, there will now be bloodshed here.” Singh said.
Singh said there’s no environment for election.

Excesses against Bhutanese of Nepalese ethnicity inside Bhutan

By Upendra Pokhrel in Kantipur

Phunsoling, 19 Feb: After the announcement of armed rebellion inside Bhutan, oppression against the Nepali community by the Druk government and others in the outside has increased.
Cases of physical abuse and non-payment of salaries have increased.
Nepalese across the border in India are also feeling the effects of oppression.
Nepalis in Dooars in India are questioned of possible links with Maoists.
One week ago, administrator Sanghe Dorji, at a function in Syamchi district, alleged 50 percent Nepali families in the district have links with refugee camps in east Nepal.
He warned action will be taken if such links are proven.
Confirmation of links with the Bhutanese Communist Party that has announced a people’s war will lead to expulsion from the country.

King says maintain sovereignty, independence

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 19 Feb: Amid what Maoists said was an uncalled statement, the King Tuesday in a message to the nation said the county’s territorial sovereignty, nationalism and independence should be maintained.
The King emphasized this on 58th National Democracy Day 2064 although Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, Nepal’s theoretically most power powerful man in history, acts as the head of state.
But he is a sick and weak man who has most been confined to his official residence at Baluwatar ever since capturing power again through street demonstrations and international conspiracy in early 2006.
In a short only three paragraph message, the King said the traditional goodwill between all 24 million Nepalese should be movement as Koirala is confronted with a possible disintegration of the land-locked kingdom strategically sand-witched between Asian giants, India and China.
Nepal faces possible disintegration as a movement for self-rule in a very short before independence gains momentum’s as a violent movement in the terai swells pushing self-determination and provincial rule.
India has supported the movement.
The King said also called for an environment for all to equally enjoy the benefits of democracy and wished for a prosperous and successful Nepal.
The King paid tribute to his grandfather King Tribhuban for helping to usher in democracy in 2007 as the government and ruling parties attempt to erase history by ignoring the late king’s contributions.

Full text of the King’s message

Beloved countrymen.

As in previous years, we are celebrating this day as the 58th National Democracy Day. On this historic occasion, we would like to pay homage to our august grandfather His late Majesty King Tribhuvan, the architect of democracy in Nepal, the revered brave martyrs and all Nepalese who laid down their lives for the cause of democracy.
While safeguarding Nepal’s integrity, independence and nationalism, may we Nepalese achieve success in ensuring an environment wherein all can enjoy just and equitable share of the dividends of democracy as well as in building a prosperous and robust nation through the consolidation of the time-honoured harmony existing amongst the Nepalese people.
May Lord Pashupatinath bless us all!
Jaya Nepal!

Strike continues for seventh day

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 19 Feb: Conservative parties RPP and RPP-Nepal joined the protests of the three-party front in the terai as the violent movement entered its seventh day Tuesday affecting normal life triggering shortages of essential goods.
Schools have closed down because of petrol and diesel shortage to run buses to transport children to and from schools.
Hill groups also demanding self-rule have forced closure of government offices and markets ahead of the 10 April unlikely and controversial elections.
Following continued violence in which more than 100 demonstrators and policemen were injured in firings as well, curfews Tuesday were extended to Biratnagar, hometown of prime minister Girij Prasad Koirala, Lahan and Siraha Bazzar.
Curfews Monday were slapped in three districts.
Local administration slapped curfews in Bara and Parsa along the national highway to facilitate the movement of tanker convoys under Nepal Army escort.
Altogether 150 tankers entered the Valley Tuesday from the Indian border town of Raxaul.
Koirala Tuesday picked up talks with leaders of the terai front after the dialogue broke down following the first round of negotiations Friday; terai leaders sat for talks even as they said Koirala’s comments rejecting demands for self-determination and provincial rule marred an environment for negotiations.
The inconclusive talks will be resumed Wednesday.
Terai and other parties said they will boycott and even resist the 10 April election to decide the future of the 238-year-old institution of monarchy that founded the state as well.
Amid election uncertainty government is requesting the Election Commission to extend by one week Wednesday’s deadline to register names of candidates for a closed list to be elected through proportional representation.
The moves will give a desperate government seven days to negotiate an agreement with groups pressing various demands ahead of the vote.
Prime minister Koirala and speaker Subash Newang earlier held discussions Tuesday morning to find an outlet to a government crisis triggered by opposition protests and demands.
The front earlier said it won’t submit a closed for elections within Wednesday’s deadline.
Conservative parties—RPP and RPP (Nepal) joined the Madesh protests lending support to the front.
‘Government must address the demands of Madesh,” RPP chairman Pashupati SJB Rana said.
Another conservative Rashtriya Janasakti Party (RJP) also said it won’t participate in the 10 April assembly election joining Green Nepal Party accusing government of suppressing the movement in the terai.
RJP is led by former prime minister Surya Bahadur Thapa.
The party said election isn’t possible without participation of the terai people.

No integration with Maoist PLA

Kathmandu, 19 Feb: Nepal Army, in an internal circular, said there’ll never be an integration with the Maoist PLA, Naya Patrika reports.
The newspaper published a photocopy of the secret internal circular in its Tuesday editions.
The circular describes Maoists as a ‘political party with a criminal psychology’.

[Note: The document is important because the government and Maoists have an agreement for the integration of the state army with the PLA. Some foreign governments and even UN are pushing integration.]

Indian ambassador Mukherjee to continue Nepal stay

Kathmandu, 19 Feb: Shib Shankar Mukherjee who has been appointed ambassador to Great Britain, will continue his stay in Nepal until the 10 April election, a report published in an Indian English daily from New Delhi reports.
Mukherjee’s Nepal stay as the top Indian diplomat in the kingdom has been extended for the second time.
He was to oversee a 22 November vote which never took place.
Mukherjee’s successor, India’s ambassador to another troubled country Afghanistan, has already been announced and he was due to takeover responsibilities in January.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Escalating violence makes 10 April election impossible

By Bhola B Rana

Katmandu, 18 Feb: Escalation violence in the terai makes the 10 April constituent assembly election even more unlikely.
The tripartite terai front Monday firmly rejected talks with the government with mounting clashes forcing government to impose curfews in Janakpur, Jaleshwor, Birgunj, Nepalgunj and Kalaiya after violent on the sixth day of a blockade and indefinite strike Monday.
The strike has disrupted life in major urban centers as protestors forced the closure of government offices.
Many schools in the Valley closed down reporting shortage of petrol and diesel to operate buses.
Madesh leaders rejected talks with the government even as Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and Home Minister Krishna Prasad Shitaula issued fresh invitations for a dialogue.
The front said they won’t withdraw an indefinite strike or negotiate until six-point demands, including self-determination and provincial rule, are met.
“Talks aren’t possible,” front leader Mahanta Thakur previously.
“I will fulfill all demands, except two or three,” premier Koirala told Nepal Council of World Affairs Monday.

BJP special emissary coming, avoiding a meet with Maoists

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmndu, 18 Feb: Following the visit of a delegation of Congress (I), a special emissary of BJP, that says Nepal should be a Hindu kingdom, Prof Dr Gautam Sen is arriving in the capital Monday today, Tarun reports.
He is a senior member of BJP’s foreign department and a professor at London University.
Dr Sen will hold discussions with political leaders and leaders of society, except Maoists.
It couldn’t be confirmed secretary general Digbijaya Singh of the Congress (I) and leader of the party team that visited Nepal, met the King and a close aide Prabhakar Shumshere Rana Friday morning.
BJP delegation is coming to Nepal to force the New Delhi to change its Maoist-friendly Nepal policy.
Former ambassador to Nepal K V Rajan also arrived Sunday evening as a political crisis deepens with the 10 April elections unlikely even after its urging by Singh during his just concluded visit.
Rajan has been playing discreet behind-the-scene role on behalf of the government if India in the past.
Communist leader Sitaram Yechuri, who claims to have an influential connection especially with Maoists, is also coming.

Details of failed unity between Maoists and Unity Center

Kathmandu, 18 Feb: Efforts for immediate unity between CPN (Maoist) and CPN (Unity Center/Mashal) has been shelved for now, Sahghu reports.
Majority meeting of the Unity Center overturned the proposal of secretary general Prakash.
The Center rejected the effort of Prakash saying the move would tantamount to party dissolution instead of unity.
Thirteen of 25 central committee members were against the merger.


Multinational company Unilever Nepal :Ltd to resume production

Kathmandu, 18 Feb: Unilever Nepal Ltd in neighbouring Makwanpur district resumed production Monday after a three-week closure, management said.
Locals forced the company’s closure demanding working opportunities.

NBL records Rs 110m profit

Kathmandu, 18 feb: Nepal’s oldest commercial bank, Nepal Bank Ltd (NBL), only recorded a Rs 110 million in Q2 ending 14 January of fiscal year 2007/08—down from Rs 310 million in the same period.
The ailing bank attributed the decline to slackness in debt recovery, rise on expense and money set aside for fresh credit.
A British company withdrew from a management contract entered with World Bank assistance to revive the commercial bank.

New general secretary of CAN

Kathmandu, 18 Feb: Er Pankaj Jalan has been elected general secretary of Computer Association of Nepal CAN).

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Violence swells in Madesh

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 17 Feb: Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s
promises to hold the 10 April assembly elections received a major setback Sunday as Chairman of Madesh Janatantrik Forum Upendra Yadav rejected the government chief’s invitation for talks which Koirala hoped to continue Sunday after an initial move Friday.
Yadav said Koirala’s Friday remarks that he would not compromise on national integrity while rejecting calls for self-determination and provincial rule weren’t helpful.
The clashes in terai adjoining India snowballed.
Curfews were slapped in towns in Siraha, Sarlahi and Nepalgunj where one person was killed in a firing and nearly 50 others, including policemen, were injured.
There’s no sign violence coupled with the strike with six demands will abate.
The strike and threatened blockade has already created shortages nationwide.
The strike has hit Limbuwan hill districts were self-determination has also been demanded at the sate time as the Election Commission’s first deadline to end a political dispute between government and groups expired last Wednesday.
One Commissioner extended the deadline for one more week until coming Wednesday even as Koirala said he’ll hold elections—almost impossible now.
Koilara Sunday ordered movement of POL products under security escort as amid shortages.
Clashes and firings were reported from Biratnagar, Birgunj, Janakpur, Janeshwor, Bhairahawa and other major towns in the terai.
An armed group shot dead a chicken farm worker in Rupendaehi.
Meanwhile, Green Party Nepal announced a boycott of the election charging it cannot ‘free, fair and impartial’ as the violence spread in the south.
"…no sane Nepali will risk life to go polling booth to cast the vote," party chairman Kuber Sharma said.
"The violent insurgency by the proponents of racialism , federalism and religionism has weakened the solid structure of our national unity."
Sharma called for a neutral government with the dissolution of parliament and government.
He charged government for being a ‘vassal state’ without naming India and called for a correction.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Naxalites kill 13 policemen in India

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 17 Feb: Hundreds of Naxlites, India’s Maoists, attacked six police compounds in the state of Orissa Friday and killed 13 policemen, reports from the state said.
Eleven policemen were also wounded, three seriously,
In one of the biggest, boldest and bloodiest attacks against state security agencies, Naxalites also killed a civilian guard and decamped with at least 1,000 pistols.
Four police stations, a training academy and an armory were run-over.
Like Nepal’s Maoists, Naxalites decamped wit seized weapons in a hijacked bus.
The Indian federal government has conceded the Maoist rebellion is worst that insurgencies in Kashmir and the northeast states .and refuses to negotiate with Naxalites.
At the same time, New Delhi not only sheltered Nepal’s Maoists but also helped negotiate a nine-point New Delhi accord between them and seven parliamentary parties
India is also stifling Nepal Army with vital supplies of arms and ammunition objecting to alternate supplies from China while pushing the formal integration of the former combatants with state security agencies in double dealing.

Koirala now confronts country’s division instead of elections

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 17 Feb: Instead of conducting twice-promised constituent assembly elections, Nepal’s Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala is confronted with saving the unity of Nepal forged 238 years ago by King Prithvi Narayan Shah the Great.
Koirala Saturday rejected any demand from the south that will split the hills in the north and the plains in the south of Nepal by saying he won’t meet demands for self-determination and autonomy.
Without mention India by name, he said in Biratnagar he will reject demands even from the powerful.
"The demands for self-determination and announcement for entire Madesh not acceptable," he said.
Three parties from the terai have formed a front demanding six points, including a one province for Madesh.
The front formed a three-member negotiating team with government and it includes: Anil Kumar Jha of NSP (Mahoto), Ratneswor Kayastha of MJR and Mahendra Prasad Yadav of Terai Madesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP).
Koirala received another setback when the NSP (D) decided to walk out of the seven-party alliance and government Saturday..
Chairperson Ananda Devi said she’ll also resign from parliament and join the terai anti-government amid accusations the government and the alliance were silent spectators to regional demands..
Violence and an indefinite strike in the terai continued for the fifth day Sunday.

Sujata for monarchy, against communists

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 17 Feb: Sujata Koirala has again come out in support of monarchy.
The daughter of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala also said communists are more dangerous than Nepal’s 238-year old institution.
"Communists are more dangerous than monarchy. BP Koirala suggested Nepali Congress should never establish intimate relationship with communists," she said at a party meeting in Chitwan Saturday.
Sujata supported monarchy as the 10 April assembly election to decide the future of monarchy nears.
She has implicitly supported rebels in the party against her father’s republican and pro-Maoist policies and actions.
Sujata again said Prachanda can’t fight assembly elections because he heads his party’s military wing or the PLA.

Unity elusive between Unity Center and CPN (Maoist)

Kathmandu, 16 Feb: Unity Center and CPN (Maoist) have decided to forge an electoral alliance for the 10 April constituent assembly election without uniting, Kantipur reports.
A meeting of the Unity Center (Mashal) Saturday decided to form a coordination committee for unity.
Unity Center general secretary Narayan Kazi Shrestha will for the first time appear in public after a party decision.
Maoist leader Mohan Baidya ‘Kiran’ also ruled out immediate unification.
Both parties are registered with the Election Commission for assembly election; the future after unification posed a problem for the two parties delaying unity.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Election Commission govt. one more week for election, PM terai leaders hold talks

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 15 Feb: Election Commission has given government one more week to resolve problems with a three-party front in the terai bordering India for the 10 April vote.
The extension of a first three-day ultimatum first issued by Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel expired Wednesday.
“We are hopeful the problems related to terai will be solved within a week,” commissioner Nil Kantha Uperti said in Bitratnagar Thursday issuing the second ultimatum.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Giija Prasad Koirala held discussions with leaders of the three-party terai front Mahanta Thakur and Rajendra Mahoto one day after a government dialogue team extended formal invitation for talks on a six-point demand including self-determination and provincial rule.
The talks were also held with 12 hours after visiting Congress (U) delegation of Sonia Gandhi’s party returned home saying it was ready to mediate between government and terai leaders.
Delegation leader Digbijaya Singh said the vote must be held 10 April amid interest shown by Mahmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi.
Singh said India was ready to render assistance as well.
Singh issued a veiled threat saying Nepal will suffer if the vote, postponed twice, wasn’t held.
“The election must be held, otherwise, the Nepali people will suffer a heavy loss,” Singh said before departure.
Singh quoted Koirala as saying the prime minister was against UN mediation called by some terai leaders.
Without directly saying people in Madesha are exploited, he attributed the perception of Nepali political leaders.
The people in the terai have always had the same civil and political liberties enjoyed by other communities in the country; they have enjoyed the benefits of development more than hill people.
People form the terai dominate the judicial and teaching services.
Violent forced strike of a three-party Madesh front continued for the third day Friday.
Prohibitory orders were enforced in Bhairahawa as more than to dozen policemen and demonstrators were injure in clashes.
An election office was bombed in Nepalgunj.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

King Gyanendra for united Nepal

By Sugan Lawati

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: Nepal as an independent nation should stand united and uphold its nationalism and integrity. It should never go through the process of disintegration, said King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev told
"Nepal should maintain its long held independence. It will be unfortunate if the nation disintegrates, more so in communal lines," King Gyanendra said according
"We will be going backwards if we are looking at baise chaubise rajya," he said.
"Ethnic or communal violence will cost dearly for Nepal, the nation won’t be able to bear that."
The monarch stated that the Nepali people's aspirations, especially those in rural hinterlands, have been for stability, peace and security, and the freedom to live and work in peace.
He emphasized that the state should accommodate aspirations and concerns of the people of all hue and shade across the mountains, hills and the plains.
Though the people have not been able to articulate their viewpoints due to various reasons, it is them who have to speak up. "It is the people who should act," he said.
The monarch suggested that short-term initiative with no exit plan does not deliver in Nepal’s case.
"The future definitely lies with democracy. But what kind of democracy are we looking for," the King said adding, "It is here we all have to understand that democracy has to be home-grown."
As far as the election to the constituent assembly goes, the King said, "The people have to have the opportunity to cast their vote free of threats and intimidation. If not what kind of election are we looking for?"
Apparently the monarch has his hopes pinned on the youths of the country. "It is the youth who have to make the difference. The hope lies with them," the monarch asserted.
Besides, change has to evolve, he said. "It has to come through evolution not revolution."

Sonia Gandhi’s party delegation returns after failed mission

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: A top delegation of Sonia Gandhi’s Congress (I) returned to India Thursday after a failed attempt to convince opposition groups in the south bordering India to participate in a 10 April constituent assembly election that will endorse a republic in neighbouring Nepal.
During its three-day conclave it Nepal’s political players, team leader general secretary Digbijaya Singh said his party doesn’t support monarchy.
But main opposition BJP waiting to form a government in New Delhi following snap polls said it not only supports the 238-year Shah dynasty that founded Nepal but a Hindu state as well.
A BJP delegation is also visiting Nepal for discussions ahead of a controversial elections that seems unlikely with daily violence coupled with a crippling indefinite called by parties in Madesh demanding immediate provincial autonomy with a the right to self-determination.
It’ll be difficult for the government to concede to the demand for elections which the terai groups said they will boycott without their demands being met; conceding the demand will to accepting the inevitable declaration of independence.
A three-party front Wednesday launched an indefinite strike to press six demands including self-determination and provincial rule.
Leaders of the front rejected Indian suggestions the the parties to participate in the vote.
"We told them we’ won’t withdraw our strike until our demands are met and we won’t participate in elections, Mahanata Thakur, a leader of the front told reporters after talks with the delegation.
The crippling strike entered its second day Thursday amid shortages of POL products and reports of violence amid the closure of markets, schools and transport.
The strike has been compounded by a strike of tanker operators demanding security.
“CA polls should be held at any cost since there is no alternative to polls," Singh said before departure.
Rashtriya Janasakti Party (RJP), a conservative party, said there’s no environment for elections at the end of national conference of district and municipality chairmen Thursday.
"We doubt the security situation will improve and the election will take place," former prime minister and party chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa said.

Two major commercial banks announce profits

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: Two commercial banks announced operating profits in Q2 ending 14 January.
Everest Bank Ltd recorded a Rs 337 million profit with plans of the joint venture operation with the Punjab National Bank to open its 24th outlet in Lekhnath, Kaski.
Nepal Credit and Commerce (NCC) Bank recorded a Rs 364.8 million profit in the same period.

Shyam Mohan Shrestha heads Nepal France Chamber of Commerce

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: Shyam Mohan Shrestha has been chosen to lead the Nepal France Chamber of Commerce for another term.
Shrestha heads a new 11-member working committee.

Maoist movement spreads to Bhutan

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: A Maoist movement is emerging in Bhutan as well.
Six activists of Bhutan Communist Party Marxist Leninist Maoist were arrested by Bhutanese security forces during an operation deep inside Bhutan in Sobhang district in the first week of February, the exiled party said from east Nepal.
Official Bhutanese government publication Kuensel said four rifles, a pistol and four grenades were recovered from them.
Party activists were arrested in January as well.
Kuensel said seven Bhutanese helpers were also arrested.
Bhutanese government said the communists are based in UNHCR-administered camps in east Nepal.
News of the arrest coincides with claims by CPN (Maoist) Chairman Prachanda the Maoist communist revolution will spread to South Asia from Nepal after toppling monarchy with the establishment of a republic.
Nepal’s Maoist have been training some of the lBhitanese exlies and refugees in guerrilla warfare and sending thembacck to Bhutan.
Bhutan Maoists said they are working to topple the Druk kings of Buddhist Bhutan.

UN, US and king rising ethnic issues: Prachanda

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: Chairman Prachanda charged Thursday UN, USA and theking are raising ethnic issues in Nepal.
“USA and Gyanendra now look pushing ethnicity. UN is uselessly raising the issue as well.
“Legislators in Bihar also are spreading communalism in Madesh,” Prachanda said in an interview in Himal.
“Communalism is not a Maoist contribution,” he clarified and said Maoists were for a ‘new national unity’.
Prachanda charged ‘foreigners’ are behind the violence in Madesh, referring to USA and India.

Police abandon outpost after Maoist attack

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: Police have abandoned an outpost at Lalmati in remote Darchula district on the India, Tibet border after a Maoist attack, state-owned Radio Nepal said.
Maoists have cutoff water supply to the outpost forcing the police to abandon it before the 10 April assembly election.
Maoists, numbering in tens of hundreds, Wednesday attacked and stoned the police post to force the release of two activists arrested for allegedly attacking former Congress minister Dilendra Prasad Badu, who was seriously injured last week, during an election campaign.
Maoists said the two were innocent.
Badu was injured in the attack that has strained relations between Maoists and Congress making assembly elections uncertain.
Maoists and Congress are sending a joint team to investigate the incident.
Congress leaders have reported law and order situation in the districts is bad before thel historic vote to decide on the 238-year-old monarchy.
The two parties that formed a committee while trading charges hasn’t been able to meet.

Indian leader claims his country not involved in terai revolt

Kathmandu, 14 Feb: Digbijaya Singh, general secretary of Sonia Gandhi’s Congress (I) said Thursday India does not have a hand in the current anti-government protest in the south as demands swell for self-determination and provincial autonomy.
Singh made the claim after a meeting with prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Singh denied Indian involvement amid calls by Nepali leaders, including former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, he was ready to travel across the border to meet rebel leaders in Indian towns to resolve the terai issue.
A UN official in Nepal was abruptly repudiated by headquarters for an ‘unauthorized statement’ by saying India could help in humanitarian efforts in south Nepal as Nepal’s reels have links across the border in north India.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Prachanda give more details of Maoist power grab plan

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 13 Feb: Chairman Prachanda Wednesday revealed further Maoist plans of a final plan to grab power even if the 10 April CA polls aren’t held on palace, Indian and American designs.
“Power will be grabbed in a new way in a final battle although the war has been won,” Prachanda on the 13th anniversary of the people’s war being celebrated by Maoists Wednesday despite and end of their insurgency with a system and regime change in April 2006.
Maoists are using the occasion to launch an election campaign in the capital.
“An interim government will formed and monarchy toppled in a direct fight and we will go for a constituent assembly, “ Prachanda said if the April vote isn’t held.
Prachanda said if a vote is held, ‘that CA is itself a movement” which will ‘ ‘remove vestiges of feudalistic elements’.
Maoist chief revealed Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have a secret understanding with the King that ended the movement in April 2006 and usher a ‘complete victory’ with the end of monarchy and its replacement by a republic.
Calling the agreement negotiated in a ‘wrong way, Prachanda said the secret document “could be a hurdle of CA elections”.
The King confirmed such an agreement during a recent interview and said he would reveal its ‘roadmap’ if needed.
“Many imperialists and foreign reactionaries, palace and reactionaries in parties’ are conspiring to foil elections, Prachanda charged.
Prachanda also charged palace, India and USA for propping up a rebellion in terai.
‘They will be silenced in no time if palace, Washington and New Delhi desire.
“All this [propping up Madesh] is happening because Maoists can’t be dislodged from the hills,” the Maoist chief added.
Prachanda repeated the charge of foreign intervention to disrupt polls at a public rally at the Open Air Theatre in the capital Wednesday to mark the anniversary as the launch of their election campaign.
Prachanda said CPN (Maoist) was preparing for a final battle to topple monarchy and its replacement with a republic.

American INGO begins rescuing diseased Nepali elephants

Kathmandu, 13 Feb: Elephant Care of USA has begun treating some elephants suffering TB at the Royal Chitwan National Park, Naya Patrika reports.
Dr Susan Nicora and her team have begun the treatment.
Treatment began with the immediate care of Bhola Prasad.
“We started with the treatment of the most serious elephant,” said Dr Chitra Bahadur Khadka.
Full treatment will continue for one year with the two-month cost estimate at Rs 72,000 per elephant.
Elephant Care came to the assistance when local financial resources weren’t available.
The elephants have been isolated from the rest of the herd for prevent disease spread.
Elephant Care came to the assistance in 2005 when three elephants died; 10 elephants were infected.

Outrage at extradition of Indian doctor

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 13 Feb: Excerpts from two letters in the 13 February editions of The Kathmandu Post protesting government’s extradition of Indian kidney racketeer Dr Amit Kumar on request of Manmohan Singh to Nepali counterpart Girija Prasad Koirala.
“ The government’s hurried handing over Dr Horror of India is a matter of serious concern to all of us that believe in the independence of the judiciary. Are we a province of India?
“It is said that even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was left in the dark regarding this matter,” Sushil Sharma of Kathmandu wrote.
‘This case [Dr Amit’s] clearly indicated how we are being dominated by India. It is accepted that Amit is an Indian criminal ,but he has committed crimes in Nepal as well,’ Dwaipayan Regmi writes from Biratnagar.
‘Dr Amit should have been punished the way Charles Shovraj and others were punished.”

Sonia Gandhi’s party leaders meeting Nepali leaders demanding self-determination

Kathmandu, 13 Feb: A delegation of Sonia’s Gandhi’s Congress (I) party met leaders of all major political parties as a three-party terai front launched an indefinite strike Wednesday demanding self-determination land provincial for the terai adjoining India across the open 1,700 km open border.
The four-member delegation is led by party general secretary Digbijaya Singh.
The delegation arrived Tuesday for a three-day visit.
The delegation came out against UN mediation in the terai demanded by some groups, especially the Goit and Jwala Singh of Janatantrik Mukti Morcha—an offshoot of Maoists, fighting for independence
The delegation met separately with Maoists, including Chairman Prachanda; Congress (I) said it wants to establish formal ties with CPN (Maoist).
The delegation returns home Thursday.
The strike—violent at some places in the central and the eastern region, called by the front Wednesday disrupted normal life.
Even before the threat to blockade the capital as part of their strike for self-determination and provincial rule, motorists queued up for hours at petrol pumps to fill their tanks with gasoline.
The three-party front in the terai said it will continue the strike until demands are met.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s request to the regional leaders to take up offers for talks have been rejected so far.
The outcome of Wednesday’s dinner diplomacy between the front leaders and visiting Congress (I) leaders is awaited.
The delegation is pushing the 10 April Assembly vote opposed by the front.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Priests boycott Girija; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: Badaguruju, Nayab Badaguruju and the chief priest Monday boycotted official heralding of spring when they absented themselves at an official function attended by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Koirala is also the de facto head of state as well after King Gyanendra has been confined by the SPA, including Maoists, after the April 2006 regime change.
The trio went to the Nayayanhiti Royal Palace where they recited verses welcoming spring with the official end of winter.
Only the King was present, a royal palace source said.
An angry Koirala ordered the Bada Guruju and his deputy sacked through verbal order at Hanuham Dhoka even they have not been on government on government payroll since the end of the fiscal mid-July 2007.
They Hindu priests are not even mentioned in the interim constitution.
Yet Koirala sacked them through verbal decree in front of government officials.
Koirala was greeted by black flags when he drove to Hanuman Dhoka under heavy security to listen to the chanting of Basanta Shravam.
Carrying out Koirala diktat, the ministry of general administration only came out with a terse statement saying there was no mention of badaguruju in the interim constitution.
That was all.
Koirala couldn’t enter Hanuman Dhoka during last Bada Dasain when the King performed puja there. Profanities were shouted against Koirala at Kumari Ghar where the Living Goddess didn’t give Koirala a tika.
"Joint secretary Hari Prasad Nepal extended an invitation one week ago. We can’t come at a time when we have to go to the palace," Nayab Bada Guruju Dr Madhav Bhattarai was quoted by Naya Patrika as saying.
The Bada Gurju and Nayab Bada Guruju are not on the government payroll since the end of the last fiscal year.
"We requested the finance ministry repeatedly to register our attendance. But no interest was shown," the newspaper quoted Dr Bhattarai as saying.

More details on army meet

By Parsuram Kafle in Naya Patrika

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Rookmangud Katawal has ordered Nepal Army division chiefs to be prepared to provide security for elections.
Military sources said he told officers Monday to be mentally prepared at an annual conference of division chiefs even formal instructions haven’t come from government.
He advised to be prepared for the worst.
The chief advised not to put conditions obviously referring to some suggestions the army shouldn’t be deployed only in the terai.
“Our work is to follow government orders. Let’s prepare ourselves accordingly,” the chief said.” After receiving orders, let a situation not come when we present government with inadequacies.”
The two-day meeting ended Monday.
The army discussed provided security at government installations after police was withdrawn for deployment for election.

Sonia Gandhi’s party delegation arrives

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: A four-member delegation of Sonia Gandhi’s Congress (I) arrived for a three-day visit Tuesday.
The team headed by party general secretary and former Madesh Chief Minister Digbijaya Singhl held discussions with Premier Girija Prasad Koirala, home minister Krishna Prasad Koirala and peace minister Ram Chandra Paudel.
The visit is timed with a fresh government crisis as a front of three parties from the terai have threatened to launch a strike and blockade of the Valley from this week to push six demands, including self-determination and provincial autonomy.
India has supported political demands of the terai parties; the delegation is expected to meet representatives of the front launched this week.
The strike makes the 10 April constituent assembly uncertain as Election Commission said a vote will be postponed for the third time if government doesn’t resolved regional demands by midnight Tuesday.
A resolution isn’t in sight.
A Congress (I) representative visited last week to prepare a country report for the party and the delegation.
There was no firm confirmation she met the King, previously considered an outcast at the height of demands for a republic.
But she held extensive discussions with leaders of Koirala’s Congress pushing for constitutional monarchy opposing the premier’s growing proximity with Maoists.
She also held discussions with Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, the only surviving founder of the Congress which he quit last year after Koirala hijacked the party abandoning a centrist line to align with Maoists for a republic.

Airport, trekking route renamed after Tenzing, Hillary

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: An airstrip at Lukla, the foot of Mount Everest, has been named by the government after Tenzing Sherpa Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary who helped build it.
The trekking route from Lukla to the base of the 8848 meters high world’s tallest peak has also been named after the two climbers who first climbed the peak on 29 May 1953.

ADBL records Rs 39.5m net profit

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: Troubled Agriculture Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) recorded a net profit in Q2 ending 14 January.
Government launched the bank to help farmers.

Chief priest sacked

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: Government has sacked chief priest Shehkar Pandit with effect form Monday.
The ministry of general administration said Pandit failed to carry out responsibilities entrusted to him Monday.
Pandit absented himself from celebrations to welcome spring Monday; Premier Koirala was present at the function.

No Mention of India as Matthew Kahane packs his bags

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: UNDP Nepal representative Matthew Kahane Monday made no mention of India as an interviewer with The Kathmandu Post asked him repeatedly to clarify a statement of Nepal’s neighbour that triggered his recall from Nepal or possible retirement from the world body.
India protested to UN headquarters after Kahane said Nepal’s rebels in the south have links across the open 1,700 Indo-Nepal border and suggested New Delhi could help ease the insurgency in south Nepal.
“’Our concern has been that is all the discussions about political issues, not much attention has been given to development issues, humanitarian issues,” he said in reply to a question: Recently, there was a controversy about your remarks to a PTI reporter? What is your comment?
‘I have no idea. At the United Nations, people NORMALLY [emphasis writer’s] retire when they turn 60. I have spent four and a half very busy years in Nepal, and 37 and a half years with the UN. I have no controversy about that,” he said in reply to a question some papers claimed Kahane was recalled.
Kahane was asked: Did you directly or indirectly mention during that said interview that India’s role was necessary to control the armed gangs in the terai?
The outgoing UNDP resident representative replied: the question of law and order within Nepal is a matter for the authorities I Nepal to decide.
In rely to a question about the ‘controversy over remarks to PTI’, Kahane replied,” What is essential is that normal commercial and relief supplies reach the people in need. This is the fundamental issue.”
Spokesman of the secretary-general said Kahane’s comments were ‘unauthorized’.
Kahane, who has been replaced by an Australian national, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Monday.

Terai gets major defector

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: A prominent woman leader from the terai joined the Madesh Janatantrik Forum immediately after three parties in the fertile plains bordering India demanded self-determination and an autonomous province announced a strike and blockade of the capital to push six demands.
Renu Yadav quit the conservative Rashtriya Janasakti Party and parliament to join the forum.
She hails from Saptari where killings attributed to rebel groups have become a daily occurrence.

NEA to raise Rs 1.5 billion

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: Cash-strapped Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), a state monopoly that generates and distributes electricity, has been authorized will raise Rs 1.5 billion through the sale of 1.5 million bonds with a par value of Rs 1,000.
The bonds will be sold to the public and institutions from 15 to 21 February.
The Power Bond 2069 fetches an annual interest of seven percent.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Banijya Bank (RBB), Nepal’s largest commercial bank, recorded a net profit of Rs 381.5 million in the first six months of the current fiscal year 2007/08 ending 14 January.
The bank is wholly government-owned.

Sujata Koirala demands YCL ban

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: Sujata, daughter of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, demanded Maoist YCL be banned or the 10 April assembly elections won’t be held.
She demanded this at a Congress party meeting in east terai Monday.
Sujata followed former deputy prime minister and CPN-UML leader KP Sharma in repeating the demand.
Black greeted Sujata at a party meeting in Sunsari Sunday forcing its cancellation.
Congress at a meeting of seven parties Monday protested what it called Maoist disruptions of party meetings in Rolpa, Dharchula and Baitadi murderous attacks on party workers in the far-West.
Maoists denied the charge and accused Congress of similar attacks at a heated meeting which formed a committee of seven parties to investigate complaints of attacks by rival parties during election campaigns for elections that most likely won’t be held for the third time.
Three parties from the terai boycott talks at election commission
Monday to discuss the 10 April vote.
Terai Madesh Loktantrik Party, Madesh Janatantrik Forum and NSP Rajendra Mohoto group boycotted the commission invite talks threatening government they won’t participate in elections and will disrupt it through strikes and blockades..
Seventy-four have registered for election purpose with the commission.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Monday reiterated elections will be held as scheduled one day after Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel said a vote won’t take place if differences between government and dissatisfied political parties continued until Wednesday.
“Election won’t take place if violence doesn’t end within three days.
“Big parties and government don’t look like they are active for elections. What’s the use if only we’re in a rush?” Pokhrel said.
Congress acting president Sushil Koirala, who escaped an assassination through a bomb blast in Gulariya Friday, blamed Sunday the home ministry under his party’s control for lack of security calling the situation ’pathetic’ after an election of the hills and terai
He said Congress is being hounded out from the hills and from the south by Madeshi groups along the India border.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Army says election difficult

By Parshuram Kafle in Naya Patrika/ Translated by Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 10 Feb: Nepal Army generals have reported security is inadequate for elections.
A two-day meeting began at army headquarters Sunday.
“Government dispatches police into villages in the morning. Police sent for the protection of people are themselves fearful.,” a source quoting general Pawan Jung Thapa told the meeting. “Additional problems have cropped without clear instructions from government.”
He warned sending unarmed police into villages means police outposts there will soon be unmanned.
“If this continues, not one outpost will remain in the hills,” he said.
General Thapa said nobody expects elections in Madesh.
‘Even civilian officials cannot stay there. I don’t think they will stay there. It looks like officials deputed there also won’t go.”
Gen Toran Jung Bahadur Singh said political parties are fighting amongst themselves and explained elections won’t be held because of them.
Political workers haven’t reached the grassroots.
People feel threatened with the statements of Chairman Prachanda and said the army shouldn’t be deployed only in the terai.
“The deployment of the army only in the terai will have adverse impact,” he said.
The consequences of deployment only in the terai should be analyzed.
He warned of clashes between YCL and activists of other parties during elections.
Logistics shortage are problematic in east, central and western division.
“There are shortages of weapons. Ammunition has run out. They haven’t been replaced,” Gen Thapa said.
Load-shedding has created problems in barracks.
Shortage of medicines were also reported.

Sonia Gandhi’s party to discuss Nepal

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: Sonia Gandhi’s top Congress party leaders were scheduled to discuss Nepal in New Delhi Monday, Tarun reported .
Earlier, Dr Ravini Thakur visited Nepal last week to prepare a report of Nepal for leaders of the party.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party chairperson Sonia Gandhi and party chief of international department Karan Singh were to participate in the meeting.
The top leaders are meeting ahead of the dispatch of a party delegation to Nepal headed by general secretary Digbijaya Singh to assess the situation in the troubled nation before the 10 April election.

PM Koirala attends spring festival instead of king

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: King Gyanendra didn’t attend the traditional singing of hymns Monday on Shripanchami at Hanuman Dhoka like last year..
The day ushers in spring with the end of winter.
Prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala instead listened to the incantation by Hindu priests.
It’s learnt the king observed Shirpanchami at the Narayanhiti royal palace.