Nepal Today

Saturday, April 13, 2013

VICTIMS OPPOSE STATE DEFLECTION OF THEIR CONCERNS WHILE OPPOSING CLOSURE OF SPECIAL COMMITTEE Kathmandu, 14 April: Terror Victim Orphans' Society has raised its concerns over the 'misleading media reports' about the closure of the Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of former Maoist combatants as the conclusion of the peace process, The Kathmandu Post writes. . In a statement on Saturday, the Society said that the integration of former Maoist combatants into the national army is an achievement but the peace process is completed only when the concerns of the insurgency victims are addressed properly. "The state has been deflecting concerns related to thousands of cases of murder, 1,400 disappearances, 5,000 tortures, 6,000 seizures of property and around 80,000 displacements on various pretexts," read the statement. "Without addressing the concerns of hundreds of thousands of people, the peace process can never be complete." The Society demanded justice in cases of crimes against humanity committed during the insurgency and the guarantee of justice for the victims. The victims' community has urged the government and all the political parties to review the recently enacted Ordinance on Truth and Reconciliation Commission and take action against the perpetrators. Nnnn A YEAR OF DIFFICULT TRANSITION SAYS PHANINDRA DAHAL IN THE Kathmandu Post. Kathmandu, 14 April: Highlights 2069 • Army integration process makes progress • Constituent Assembly gets disbanded • CJ-led government is formed • UCPN (Maoist) party splits • NC-UML remains a divided house • Full budget comes nine months after fiscal year start • National cricket team wins two crucial titles Amid a flurry of events, the year 2069 BS will be remembered as a period of difficult political transition in Nepal's modern history. On May 27 (Jestha 14), the year saw the dissolution of the most inclusive elected national body in Nepal's history, failing to draft the new constitution even after four extensions. But the seven-year-old peace process made headway with the former PLA combatants' integration into the Nepal Army formally coming to an end. The Army took control of weapons belonging to the former rebels and started the integration of around 1,400 combatants. Of the 19,602 combatants verified by UNMIN, only around 8 percent (1,395) of the 17,074 combatants participating in the integration and rehabilitation process opted for a career in the Army. The makeshift cantonments in which the former guerrillas were living since 2006 were closed in September (Ashoj 18) and a general directorate was constituted within the Army for the intake of the ex-combatants in January (Falgun 17). Only last Friday, parties agreed to close the cross-party Special Committee formed in October 2008 to seal the fate of the former combatants. Unlike the progress on integration, the year failed to address other peace process issues, including transitional justice and democratisation of the national army. It also was a year of discontent in national politics as intra-party and inter-party feuds took centre-stage. Much of the political energy of the parties was spent on getting rid of Maoist Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who was reduced to a caretaker status after the dissolution of the CA. Nepal entered into an unusual political course after leaders of the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha signed an agreement to form the Interim Election Government led by the sitting chief justice in March 13 (Falgun 30) The major parties' commitment to hold elections by June now look near-impossible with their continued failure to provide adequate support to the Khil Raj Regmi-led government on taking the agitating over 50 fringe parties on board and the delay in framing electoral laws, updating the voter roll and citizenship distribution, among others. Towards the end of the year, the four parties started holding talks for recommending a poll date for November. The year saw a split in the yesteryear's rebel Maoist party in June (Ashad 4), following sharp differences over the party's roadmap. UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-Maoist leaders both held their conventions after 21 years, while they continued the blame game throughout the year. The UCPN (Maoist) abandoned the line of revolt and decided to mobilise the party's machinery in uplifting the country's economy from the general convention held in Hetuada in February (Magh 21-26). The CPN-Maoist adopted the line of revolt, while its leaders continued to threaten to take up arms after January's (Poush 25-Magh 2) convention. Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal regained supremacy in his party through the general convention. He, however, failed to demonstrate the leadership to bail the country out of the political crisis. In a symbolic incident expressing people's anger towards politicians, a former party cadre from Baglung, Padam Kunwar, slapped Dahal at a tea reception in Bhrikuti Mandap on November 16 (Mangshir 1). Disenchanted with the party leadership for its failure to express commitment to identity-based federalism, some Janajati leaders walked out of the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress. The NC and the UML remained a deeply divided house throughout the year, while the Madhesi Morcha became the stronger ally of the Maoists until the ouster of the Bhattarai government. The fiscal year saw at least three budget announcements, with a 'full budget' that was announced last Tuesday coming nine months after the start of the fiscal year. Businessman Binod Chaudhary became the first Nepali to figure in the list of the world's billionaires published annually by the US-based Forbes magazine. Amid political chaos and little investment in sports, the Nepali cricket team won two international titles and won the hearts of the people. Nepal shared the title with UAE at the ACC Trophy Elite in Sarjah in October and climbed to Division-3 by securing unbeaten wins at the World Cricket League Division-3 in Malaysia in September. Towards the end of the year, the cricket team won the runners up trophy of the ACC T20 Cup in Kathmandu. Captain Paras Khadka emerged as a new icon for the country's youth, securing the man of the series at both the ACC Trophy Elite and the ACC T20 Cup. Former education minister Ojha, who was also the Chief Whip of the party earlier, had supported the breakaway faction of the party--CPN-ML--when it split. He, too, is not active in politics now. "Some former lawmakers of the Maoist party and leaders are in constant touch with the taskforce," said Gyawali. "They will be invited to the party once talks with the defectors conclude." Serious questions are being raised on the competence of the party leadership after a group of leaders from the Janajati and Madhesi communities, including Vice-chairman Ashok Rai, left the party one after the other. Around a dozen central leaders have also left the UML. The taskforce has also started informal talks with smaller left parties like the CPN-ML, CPN-Samajbadi and CPN-Samyukta for a possible unification. nnnn


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