Nepal Today

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TU STUDENT UNION ELECTIONS UNLIKELY Kathmandu, 29 May: The first student union elections in campuses un four nation-wide under Tribhuvan University (TU) may not be held as scheduled on 6 June amid widespread voter fraud and padlocking of campuses by opposing student groups. Elections are normally held once every two years. Fifteen Valley campus chiefs wrote to the TU vice-chancellor informing him of the situation prevailing in the campuses. A voters’ list couldn’t be published as scheduled this week to enable the vote. Political parties maneuver students union elections. Results indicate strength of parties in the community. nnnn JHALANATH KHANAL, FORMER PM BHATTARAI AND SUSHIL KOIRALA VISITING CHINA Kathmandu, 29 May: UCPN (Maoist) Vice-Chairman Baburam Bhattarai´s long-unfulfilled dream of visiting China finally seems to be coming true. The Chinese embassy in Kathmandu is gearing up for Bhattarai´s China visit followed by CPN (UML) Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala. Khanal is scheduled to visit China in the second week of June and Koirala a few weeks later, Purna Basnet writes in Republica from Hong Kong.. China´s invitation to Bhattarai to visit the country is being viewed as the northern neighbor´s fresh bid to renew its relationship with Nepal´s top political leaders. Earlier, UCPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal had visited China. In the last seven years since the peace process began, almost all senior UCPN (Maoist) leaders have visited China. However, Bhattarai had not received any such invitation as he is believed to be close to India. Talking to Republica in Kathmandu two weeks ago, Bhattarai had said, “The Chinese ambassador asked me if I wanted to visit China. I told him that I would not prefer an official visit to Beijing. Instead, I said I would prefer a personal visit to learn about China´s growth story. I want to study the new development model adopted by Beijing in the early 1980s.” Beijing had invited Bhattarai, when he was the prime minister, to visit China-South Asia Expo held in the city of Kunming. But, Bhattarai dropped his visit after having to step down as the prime minister. Bhattarai´s wife Hisila Yami, who is also a UCPN (Maoist) leader, is visiting Kunming this year. Last year, Yami had reached Beijing via Kunming probably to arrange Bhattarai´s China visit while he was in office. Although the Chinese prime minister visited Kathmandu when Bhattarai was PM, he was not invited to Beijing probably because of his “close ties with Delhi”. But, the new political leadership in Beijing wants Nepal´s commitment to “One China Policy” as the basis for diplomatic relationship between the two countries. “When he was the prime minister, Bhattarai had cracked down on anti-China activities in Nepal. Hence, there is no reason why Beijing should not be inviting Bhattarai to China,” a Chinese embassy official told Republica. Bhattarai, talking to Republica, also said that he discussed the idea of a tripartite collaboration between Nepal, China and India, which was proposed by Dahal during his China and India visits, with the envoys of the both countries. Bhattarai is of the view that although India does not strategically oppose the idea, it is not practically ready to take the step. “I held separate talks on this issue with both the envoys,” said he. “But, they were not ready to jointly discuss this idea. And, I realized that time was yet not ripe.” According to him, India traditionally thinks that the whole region below the Himalayas, which includes Nepal, is under its influence and it also fears China. “Some in Delhi support the idea of collaboration between the three countries,” said Bhattarai. “But, some in Delhi still think that the region below the Himalayas is traditionally under its influence and it should be linked up with China. But, Nepal must adopt a strategy to engage in trade with both the countries.” Nnnn WHERE IN THE REPUBLIC? Kathmandu, 29 May::While taking to the streets during the People´s Movement of 2006/2007, Krishna Giri of Dang district strongly believed that the country would turn into a federal republic before long and power would come into the hands of the people, Devendra Basnet asks in Republica from Dang.. Bullet injuries did not stop him from rising up against the then regime, and much-coveted political change did come in the end. But pondering today, when the country is celebrating Loktantra Day, on all the sacrifices he made, Giri feels nothing has really changed. "People gave their lives to establish a republic. An Interim Constitution came into force. But the previous discriminatory system still thrives, albeit in the name of a new political ideology," said Giri. "I see the political leaders just running after power and no one is interested about the welfare of the people. The sense of pride I felt after the movement has been shattered completely. Tell me, have the people really become empowered?" he asks. Giri, who survived three bullets during the movement, is now leading the life of a handicapped. Dependent on crutchs for walking, he can´t stand on his own legs for long. Talking to Republica, Giri recalled his struggle during the people´s movement "I had a nightmare on the night of February 6, 2007 when the popular movement was heating up. I dreamed that a bomb exploded near me and the very next day I was hit by bullets in crossfire," he said. "The day was filled with a silence and we were walking through a market place. We were gathering to protest against the first election of the constitutional assembly. All of a sudden, we were surrounded by soldiers and bullets started flying. I was hit multiple times. The bullets injured both my legs and broke four of my ribs," added Giri. Giri was injured but one of his friends, Umesh Chandra, died while being rushed to Rapti Sub-Regional Hospital. "After I regained consciousness in hospital, the pain was excruciating and I had no hope that I would live. They kept me under observation in Nepalgunj for four days, and through the recommendation of a human rights´ activist, I was transferred to Kathmandu," he said. Giri was admitted to the Teaching Hospital, where he remained until his discharge after two years. Giri says he continues to struggle for the good of Nepal and its people. "I limped along on crutches to cast my vote but the constitution has not come," said Giri Nnnn A VIEW OF HOW A REPUBLIC CAME Kathmandu, 29 May: In April 2004, US ambassador Michael E Malinowski hosted a dinner in which he invited leaders of four parties — Madhav Kumar Nepal, Sher Bahadur Deuba, Pashupati SJB Rana and Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, Ajya Bhadra Khanal writes in the Himalayan Times. . According to the US Embassy cables leaked by Wikileaks, it was ‘the first step in an initiative that the ambassador has agreed to pursue in coordination with the Indian and British ambassadors to redouble efforts to encourage accommodation between the Palace and the parties’. At that time, the king portrayed himself as a “constructive” monarch whose role was to create ‘favourable conditions to allow democratic processes to evolve and flourish’. He said it was up to the people to decide what kind of monarch they wanted: “an icon, a father figure, or a judge.” A former Maoist Rabindra wrote an article in Samaya in early 2007, saying that Prachanda had been in touch with Gyanendra in January 2005 and that the talks had gone quite far. Apparently, the then monarch betrayed Pushpa Kamal Dahal, because before they could meet, he took power on February 1. The then US ambassador James F Moriarty wrote on April 9 that ‘before his mid-January 2005 admission to his comrades, Prachanda had on several occasions publicly asserted that the Maoists would only negotiate with the king, and not with the multi-party government led by the then prime minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba’. For those who wanted the parties to work together with the king, his decision to dissolve the government and take over on 1 February 2005 was the ‘worst case scenario’. The move drove the Maoists and the political parties together, snubbed India and undermined monarchy. Moriarty wrote, “When the history of Nepal’s monarchy and the country’s transformation is written, one of the most interesting chapters will recount the shifts in the relationship between King Gyanendra and the Maoists.” The Americans were aware of contacts between the Palace and the Maoists in the months running up to the king’s February 1 coup. After the king’s betrayal, however, it became easier for Prachanda to join hands with the parties to topple Gyanendra. Gyanendra was forced to restore the Parliament and hand over power after the April uprising. Even then the possibility of Nepal becoming a republic was not certain. On 12 March 2007, Girija Prasad Koirala said the time was ripe for the king to abdicate. This sent a message to the king that GPK had given up constitutional monarchy. However, former PM and leader of the UCPN-Maoist, Baburam Bhattarai, claimed Koirala had given silent nod to the idea of monarchy in August 2005, when an agreement between the parties and the Maoists was being worked out. By March 2007, Gyanendra was pondering abdication, but he was not getting a clear signal from India. At that time there was a talk of double abdication in favour of Hridayendra, as the Nepali people would not also accept Paras as the new king. This proposal was discussed in diplomatic circles and among leading politicians in Nepal and India. In April, Moriarty wrote: “Unless King Gyanendra and his son abdicate or the country opts to discard the monarchy in favour of a republic (the more likely outcome in his view), the Palace will remain the focus of Maoist efforts to incite popular unrest and confusion.” The cables reveal that even until May 2007, Gyanendra was reluctant to abdicate, and part of the reason was that Crown Prince Paras was reluctant to join his father in abdicating. Paras did not see why he should be punished for his father’s sins. By May, the only way to save the institution of monarchy was for Gyanendra to abdicate, a position former PM Surya Bahadur Thapa had also taken. The king, at this time, became a major stumbling block for the political process to move forward. The Maoists began to spread the idea that PM Koirala’s reluctance to include the Maoists in the interim government were at the behest of the king. By July 2007, Gyanendra’s supporters had lost all hope for the future of monarchy. According to the cables, “the king was aware of his extremely weak position, but he still hoped that the Government of India and the passage of time might restore the monarchy’s standing.” Gyanendra’s birthday celebration in 2007 became a total failure with few of the invited guests attending. Most of the diplomatic corps decided not to attend the celebration. When the Interim Parliament on 28 December 2007 dictated Nepal would be declared a republic on the first day of CA, the chapter was closed. Close to midnight on 28 May 2008, when most of the people were sleeping, Nepal became a republic. By that time the idea of republic was inevitable and nobody paid much attention. Others did their bit too "We began the ‘people’s revolt’ for republican set-up. NC leader Girija Prasad Koirala was ready for republicanism during the signing of the 12-point deal. I am confident that the country will institutionalise it through fresh polls": Baburam Bhattarai "The monarchy troubled and trespassed the democratic system time and again that made the NC to choose democracy without king. NC’s decision to support republicanism was crucial to abolish the monarchy": Sher Bahadur Deuba "It was the 19-day peaceful movement that created atmosphere for the republican set-up. UML decided to end monarchy that established the republican agenda. However, new ‘kings’ have emerged now": Madhav Nepal "The decade-long ‘people’s war’ played a vital role, along with the people’s movements, to turn Nepal into a republic. The idea came as soon as the communist parties were established in Nepal": Mohan Baidhya. Nnnn CIAA TO PEEP INGO INCOME Kathmandu, 29 May:: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority today sought details of financial transactions of non-governmental organisations and international non-governmental organisations from the Ministry of Finance, bringing their income and expenditure under the scanner of the State, The Himalayan Times reports. authorities. The anti-graft constitutional body also asked the ministry whether they were paying taxes to the government as per the existing laws of the nation. “As they are functioning as per the laws of the land, they must abide by the rules and regulation of the country,” Lokman Singh Karki, chief of the anti-graft body told The Himalayan Times. According to him, the NGOs/INGOs must come under the tax net. This is the first time that the anti-graft body has sought source of income from the NGOs and INGOs, expanding its jurisdiction to controlling corruption in the private sector. The anti-graft body has also sought details from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the efforts being made to bring transparency into the transactions of NGOs/INGOs functioning across the country. It has also sought details of the NGOs/INGOs’ mode of paying salaries to their staff, besides tax deduction details. Subodh Pyakurel, Chairman, Informal Sector Service Centre, has opposed the CIAA move. He claimed that NGOs and INGOs had systematic internal and external audit system and had been forwarding details of their transactions to Social Welfare Council and Chief District Officer. He added that CIAA action was not supported by the Interim Constitution. The anti-graft body also sought details of the public service record of the government departments from the chief secretary and the mechanism to monitor the same. According to the civic charter, public service record of the government and public sector is not satisfactory. CIAA has also sought clarification from Nepal Rastra Bank for its attempt to waive loans amounting to Rs 20 billion. nnnn


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