Nepal Today

Saturday, June 29, 2013

GOVT. INVITES WATER SUPPLIERS FOR TALKS Kathmandu, 30 June: Government is holding talks Sunday with water suppliers to end a strike that has aggravated water shortage in the Valley. The strike by tanker owners and bottlers pressing 20 demands, including tax concessions, entered its fourth day Sunday. nnnn WITHOUT RECORDS, DIFFICULT TO ESTABLISH FATE OF NEPALIS IN UTTARKHAND Kathmandu, 30 June: Owing to the lack of records of Nepali pilgrims ’ entry to, and exit from, Uttarakhand, family members of the missing flood victims are going through hard times coping with the police and other government bodies in carrying out efficient search operations, Devendra Bhattarai writes in The Kathmandu Post from New Delhi.. “Officials ask for the record of the entry of my parents to Uttarakhand, and their last traced location,” said Krishna Chalise, whose parents Kritinath and Jamuna, in pilgrimage to Uttarakhand, went missing in the flood. “But we don’t have any such documented report to submit. I don’t really know where they went missing from.” Chalise’s parents have been missing for the last 13 days. According to him, he is preparing to go back to Kathmandu as all the search operations have turned futile. Families of a dozen Nepali nationals who have gone missing in the flood are facing similar problems. Pushpa Raj Pandey, manager of Anandamayee Aashram at Haridwar, has similar plight. According to him, Nepali nationals who come to visit Uttarakhand are not registered in any of the government agencies. “They don’t have passport, the citizenship certificate or any other document,” he said. Many have pointed fingers at the open Nepal-India border behind the problems relating to the lack of proper accounts of those crossing the border. “This has resulted in difficulties for the Nepali nationals not only in search operations but also in claiming relief packages from the Indian government,” said Narayan Panthi, a social worker based in Haridwar. Raju Rana from Rukum district, who was admitted to the Dehradun-based Jolivent Hospital on Saturday, had similar hardship. “He was never registered with the government and no one really knows how long he has been here,” the hospital management said. Rana has sustained injuries in the spinal cord. According to the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi, over 100 Nepalis have reported to the Embassy saying that their relatives had been missing. However, none of the reports is an authentic account of the missing person’s arrival in India. “This has taught both the countries a lesson,” said Surya Bikram Shahi, chairman of the Gorkha Democratic Front in Dehradun. “Both the governments should keep records of every individual crossing the border. Open border does not necessarily mean unaccounted entries.” nnnn- WORK TO BRING BACK LOST, STOLEN IDOLS Kathmandu, 30 June: Nepal Police , in coordination with the Department of Archaeology (DoA), has initiated a process to collect evidences to reclaim Nepali antiques being sold at Christie’s, a fine arts auction house based in the United Kingdom and the United States, Ankit Adhikari writes in The Kathmandu Post. The first of its kind, the coordinated approach follows a recent recovery of three rare hand-written manuscripts dating back to the 12th century, which were up for auction at the Christie’s. The auction house has already returned the documents to the Nepali Embassy in the US after the National Archives, under the DoA, wrote to the Christie’s, putting forth microfilmed evidences of the manuscripts. The manuscripts include handwritten book covers of Bishnu Dharmachar, Baishnav and Shaiva and they were priced at US$150,000 (Rs 14.4 million). According to senior archaeologist Prakash Darnal, who heads the archival section at the DoA, the manuscripts will soon be brought to Nepal and restored at the National Archives. The recent government actions follow a series of news reports published in the Post since August 2012. Darnal said the recovery of the manuscripts is a huge achievement. Although Nepali antiques have landed back home from private collectors in Europe and the US several times in the past, this is the first time the government has reclaimed the assets. “The process should keep rolling,” he said, calling for support from all government agencies and stakeholders concerned. “We are looking for evidences to reclaim other artefacts that have already been sold in the auction,” police spokesperson DIG Nawa Raj Silwal said. “The evidences, if we find any, will be relayed through the Interpol.” A few noted artefacts sold so far include a 15th/16th century black stone stele of Vishnu, Laxmi and Garuda, 15th/16th century wood figure of Tara, Bronze figure of Vasundhara, 15th century gilt-bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, Bronze figure of Padmapani from the Lichchhavi period, 15th/16th century black stone stele of Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini, a gilt bronze figure of Indra, 14th century black stone stele of Durga, 17th century bronze figure of Tara, 18th century gilt-bronze figure of Buddha and 21st century Bronze statue of Syamatara. According to Darnal, evidences other than images can come from the source of a particular artifact’s creation and placement and an account of the statue’s leftovers in Nepal. A UN convention, to which Nepal is a party, states that any country can claim its cultural property from another UN member state that has ratified the convention. As per the ‘Convention for the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property’ adopted by the UN in 1970, Nepal can reclaim its artefacts by producing evidences. According to ‘Recovered Images of Nepal’ (Vol 1), a journal published by the DoA, British nationals William Kirkpatrick and Brian Hodgson are believed to be the first known foreigners who took away Nepal’s ancient coins, icons, manuscripts and art works. With the arrival of the popular hippie culture in the 60s and 70s, illicit trafficking of cultural property got a new facet. Due to lack of awareness among the people, smugglers eyed on the temples, bahas and other monuments, especially in the Valley. nnnn


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