Nepal Today

Sunday, March 10, 2013

RCT PLAYS MMC Kathmandu, 11 March: RCT plays MMC Monday in the martyrs memorial A Division super league tournament in the capital Monday. NRT’s skipper Laxman Ruchal scored the only goal Sunday to defeat Machhindra FC, Nnnn LEADERS ASK PM TO SEEK CJ ADVISE TO REMOVE CONSTITUTIONAL HURDLES Kathmandu, 11 March: Top leaders from major political forces on Sunday suggested to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to share their draft proposal on removing constitutional difficulties in forming a new government and holding elections with the chief justice even though the leaders are yet to resolve contentious issues, Republica reports.. The leaders at the interparty talks on Sunday decided to share the proposal and seek advice if any from the chief justice, who has been proposed as the prime minister of the election government. “Today [Sunday] we suggested to the prime minister to share the draft proposal on removing constitutional difficulties with the chief justice,” Nepali Congress Vice President Ram Chandra Paudel told media persons while emerging from the interparty talks. “We want to share the proposal with the chief justice mainly to seek his [chief justice] technical advice.” Some articles in the interim constitution should be amended and some new provisions added through the order of the president to form a new government and to create grounds for fresh election as there is no parliament. For this, the parties have reached an understanding to invoke the statutory provision on removing constitutional difficulties through the order of the head of state. Invoking the provision has become necessary even to make appointments in the constitutional bodies, including the election commission, because commissioners in the constitutional bodies can be appointed only after conducting parliamentary hearings. Top positions in the constitutional bodies have remained vacant for a long time now. Leaders from UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and United Madhesi Democratic Front (UDMF) have been holding talks on the proposal of forming an election government under the leadership of chief justice but have failed to settle differences on some contentious issues. Though leaders involved in the parleys have been claiming for the past several days to have settled disputes, they have so far failed to seal the deal. The leaders have failed to settle disputes on a key provision on forming Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC), determining ranks of the former Maoist combatants joining the Nepal Army and voters´ registration. While UCPN (Maoist) is for including a provision on granting general amnesty to those involved in human rights violations during the Maoist insurgency, NC and UML leaders have stood against it. The opposition parties have said those involved in serious human rights violations cannot be given blanket amnesty. Leaders said they have reached an agreement on ways to settle the issues and instructed four leaders to prepare a draft to this effect and present it before the top leaders at the meeting on Monday. “Khimlal Devkota of UCPN (Maoist), Ramesh Lekhak of the NC, Agni Kharel of CPN-UML and Jitendra Dev from the UDMF have been entrusted with preparing a draft for this provision,” said Deputy Prime Minister Narayankaji Shrestha. Similarly, ruling Maoist leaders have been lobbying for the posts of a colonel and two lieutenant colonels for senior most Maoist combatants who are undergoing training in the national army. But NC and UML leaders have argued that the posts cannot be simply awarded through a political agreement. Another bone of contention in the talks is criteria for some tens of thousands of voters who were enlisted during the voters´ registration campaign in 2008 but do not possess citizenship certificates. The commission is updating the voters´ list with photographs and thumbprints but has citizenship certificate mandatory for the purpose. While leaders from Madhes-based parties have argued that those already listed in 2008 should automatically be registered, leaders from other parties are for registering them only after distributing citizenship certificates. Asked if they were optimistic about finalizing the deal by Monday, both Narayankaji Shrestha and Ram Chandra Paudel minced their words. "Let´s be hopeful," they said. Nnnn MANY SURPRISED BY DPM SHRESTHA’S SUDDEN PENCHANT FOR NATIONAL DRESS Kathmandu, 10 March: It is a rarity for a Maoist minister to be seen in the national dress. But many could not believe their eyes at the Army Day function on Sunday, when Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayankaji Shrestha, who is also the vice-chairman of UCPN (Maoist), strutted along the Nepal Army Pavilion in Tundikhel sporting Daura Suruwal and Palpali Dhaka Topi to observe the Army Day celebrations, Kosh .Raj Koirala writes in Republica. Not only the audience, but Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai was also taken by surprise to see his cabinet colleague sport the national dress. Clad in western outfit, Prime Minister Bhattarai, who is also the UCPN (Maoist) vice chairman, was even seen sharing light moments with Shrestha. Though the Maoist party does not have any official dress code, it has become a norm for them to shun the national dress. Breaking away from past traditions, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as the prime minister never wore Duara Suruwal for once during his nine months in office. Dahal had sported a western-style outfit, except for the Nepali Topi, while taking the oath of office as prime minister on August 18, 2008. And his successor from the party, Bhattarai, and other Maoist members in the cabinet have followed suit. Many observers see Shrestha´s sudden penchant for the national dress as his attempt to project himself as a “nationalist” leader. Both within the party and in the cabinet, Shrestha has been very particular about issues concerning national sovereignty, independence and the conduct of foreign policy. But a few political analysts beg to differ. “Maoists want anarchy everywhere. Given their fickle character, I think this does not even deserve a comment,” said political analyst Muma Ram Khanal. This is, however, not the first time Shrestha wore the national dress for a public function. “This is the second time he attended public function in Daura Suruwal,” said Minister Shrestha´s aide Susan Karmacharya. He wore the national dress to attend a farewell party for the outgoing Chinese Ambassador Yang Houlan a few weeks ago. Ever since the Maoists, who have been championing multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual society, joined mainstream politics in 2006, they have been struggling to hold their sway in constituencies dominated by certain caste and ethnic groups. For instance, Maoist Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, who now holds the portfolio of the peace minister, had attended a rally of Chhetri community in Kathmandu last year wearing a Daura Suruwal, coat and a Nepali cap. Daura Suruwal, coat and Nepali cap was made the official dress code for civil servants, including the prime minister and other ministers, after the crowning of King Birendra in Nepal. Though the dress code remained in place even after the political change of 1990, only senior officials followed the official dress code rigorously. Following the political changes of 2006, Daura Suruwal is gradually losing its old world charm as many see this as remnants of the party-less Panchayati system. Nnnn BODY OF ONLY TIBETAN WHO SELF-IMMOLATED HIMSELF ONE MONTH AGO STILL UNCLAIMED Kathmandu, 11 March: The body of a Tibetan monk, who set himself ablaze on the premises of Bouddhanath Stupa a month ago, is still lying unclaimed in the mortuary of TU Teaching Hospital, Maharajgunj, Nepal police said today [Sunday]m The Himalayan Times reports.. On February 13, Drupchen Tsering (22), doused himself with petrol and set himself on fire on the premises of the holy site against the Chinese rule in Tibet. He succumbed to third-degree burn injuries in the hospital that very night. Members of Students for a Free Tibet (SFT) in India have alleged that the Government of Nepal had failed to submit the body to the Tibetan community. Even after 25 days since his self-immolation, the Nepal Police are yet to return his body to perform the deceased’s final rites as per the Buddhist custom, reacted the activists through a press statement today. SFT-India has also urged the Government of Nepal to respect the basic rights of Tibetan refugees. A senior police official, who refused to give his name, confirmed that the body was still at the hospital and said the authorities were waiting for the kin of the monk to receive the body. “Some four Tibetan organisations operating from the Kathmandu Valley came to us to claim the body. But, we did not hand over the body to them after their authenticity and kinship with the monk were not established,” he informed, adding that only the concerned family members had the legal rights to receive the body of any deceased as per the existing law. “Who should be held accountable if his kin approached us to claim the body after we hand it to the Tibetan activists?” the official wondered. The self-immolation, 100th since 2009, in a wave of protests against what Tibetans say ‘suppressive Chinese rule’, coincided with the day (February 13) that marks ‘100 years of proclamation of Tibet’s independence’ by the 13th Dalai Lama. Nepal, home to more than 22,000 Tibetan exiles, sticks to ‘One China Policy’ and has vowed not to allow its soil to be used against its neighbours. Nnnn FORMER MAOIST MINISTER BISTA ADMITS FINANCIAL IRREGULARITIES Kathmandu, 11 March: Unified CPN-Maoist central committee member Lokendra Bista Magar today [Sunday] admitted that serious financial irregularities were committed at the local level than at the central level in the party, The Himalayan Times writes in The Himalayan Times from Dang.. Speaking at the press meet organised by the Revolutionary Journalists Association Dang chapter, in Dang, Bista, however, made it clear that financial anomaly was not as much as he had suspected. He went on to say that the probe committee formed to investigate into the irregularities had made filed study on the nature of corruption in the party’s central, state, district and local level. Bista said financial irregularities were higher at the local level than at the central level. He acknowledged that several local level party leaders had constructed buildings in a short span of time after the party came into peace process. “It is really appalling that cadres who had a tough time to eke out even two meals a day, now have five houses in a short span of time,” he added. The UCPN-M leader, who is also the coordinator of the Magarat State Committee, further said the investigation report on the financial irregularity from the higher to lower level was submitted to the party headquarters. He further pointed that appropriate action would be taken against those involved in the economic irregularity in the party. The investigation report would be presented during the central committee meeting as the authorised persons from headquarters could not study the report due to their busy schedule, Bista added. On the chief justice-led government, he said it was his party that first proposed to form the government under the leadership of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi. Soon leaders from other political parties had supported the Maoist proposal, he said. nnnn


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