Monthly Archives: February 2006

Gallery

Images From Kavre Clash

Maoists rebels, declared terrorists by the state, killed three army men in the Monday (Feb 27) morning clash at Kavre Bhanjyang of Kavre Palanchwok district. All pics except the last two by Chandra Shekhar Karki. Terrified local girls of Kavre … Continue reading

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Where Police Boss Encourages Crime

The boss of Nepal Police uses his subordinates to perpetrate crimes. But the state is taking no action against him even after the crime cases have been reported in the media.

family of those who were killed by inspector dhungana

Crime of a Policeman: She lost her husband and a son when a police Inspector enjoying the protection of Chief of Nepal Police Shyam Bhakta Thapa killed them. The killer is at large, police can’t find him and they haven’t received compensation. And the boss is still enjoying the Nepali people’s hard money to fill his corrupt stomach.

Today’s Kantipur publishes a letter titled “Quite Inspector General” in its popular column “Letter to the Editor” with a photo of IG of Police Shyam Bhakta Thapa attached. The writer of the letter Deepak Raj Oli of Kathmandu raises very interesting and thought provoking questions and arguments that need to be addressed by the government and the police organization as soon as possible. He was responding to the series of news published in the daily about misdeeds, corruption and killings by a police inspector under the direct protection of IGP. “This case proves that there could be no fair hearing against corruption in the king’s rule. IGP Thapa is quite even after an allegation of this scale. Home Minister is unable to take any action [against him]. The impression on general public is that there is no organization to take actions against anyone. News on papers would have swift impact had there been a political government. Issues of corruption have been shadowed because of king’s direct rule. Such an environment has been created in which corruption is growing rapidly.” Continue reading

Moriarty Musing: Nepal In Danger Of Collapse

American Ambassador to Nepal James F. Moriarity talks to Vijay Kumar in Frontline, the star journalist’s show in Kantipur TV.

Namaste Excellency!

Namasteeeee!

Sanchai Hunuhunchha?

Sanchai Chha. Tapailai?

Malai Thikai chha. How much Nepali you have picked up since you arrived here 20 months back?

Oh..mero Nepali bhasha thikai chha…. Aaaja ko baithak ma thulo bhag engreji bhasha ma dinu parcha.

How much Nepali politics you have picked up since you came here?

I am afraid even less. Politics are very confusing and we have been constantly strained in understanding them.

If we were to compare you understanding of Nepali language with Nepali politics?

Strange it may seem but my Nepali language is probably better than my understanding of Nepali politics.

You are very much in the news these days…you have become famous.

Yes, that is actually very intentional because even though my understanding of Nepali politics is flawed, I am genuinely very worried, my government is very worried that the situation here is getting worse and worse, it is deteriorating very quickly.

What do you mean by “my understanding of Nepali politics is flawed”?

This is a country is complicated history, very difficult relationships among many of the key actors, I don’t think any outsiders can hope to understand all of those.

When an ambassador of a super power says his/her understanding about the country is flawed, that’s very serious king of thing..

I think it is but I believe everybody should ….not assume they understand everything what’s going on. I think if you push Nepali politicians, if you push His Majesty himself I think they will all acknowledge that there are gaps in their understandings. One of the biggest gaps that I have been hitting up is of course Maoists’ intentions. I obviously can’t look into their hearts, I don’t have contacts with them, I can look at what they say and what they do and come to very worrisome conclusions.

What would be your specific answer to a question about the role of American ambassador in Nepal when it comes to framing overall policy toward Nepal?

Ah…frrrrruuu… I would say I do play a fairly active role in trying to shape policy back in Washington. Ultimately it is my superiors in the State Department and in White House who will decide policy towards Nepal but they will listen to what I have to say.

I am sure they will.

ha ha ha

Your Feb 15 remarks at Ganeshman Singh Prathistan have generated a lot of heat.

Hum..ha. As I said that was very intentional. If you look at the developments since the end of the cease fire you will have to conclude that there are lots of reasons for legitimate concerns here. I was trying to bring that concern for start a dialogue, start people debating Maoists’ intentions, the need for reconciliation. They don’t want people making assumptions that might prove dangerous to the country later on. I want them examining them those assumptions.

….I wanted to create a debate about Maoists’ intentions. I want the people to say each other what’s Moriarty saying, why is he saying that, what is he saying about other peoples’ intentions and as long as I get people talking about that I think I accomplish my purpose.

When you made those remarks, were you aware that they would generate heat?

Absolutely. A hundred percent sure.

When you made those remarks, were you aware that the heat would be of this scale or of this degree?

I believed that would.

In today’s newspaper, among other people, Dr. Bhattarai has come up with this version [in the Kathmandu Post].

Well, I am glad to see Dr. Bhattarai takes what I said seriously and feels compelled to respond. And indeed that is part of what I am trying to do. Let them spell out what they mean. For example, if you read these interviews closely and editorial pieces that Dr. Bhattarai and Mr. Prachanda have given since the end of the ceasefire, if you read them closely, I think you have a lot of cause for concerns.

Do you totally reject the 12-point understand as a whole or there are particular clauses that you don’t like?

First of all, the biggest concern is how the Maoists have acted since the 12-point agreement. And that played into the one point of particular concern I have when reading the Agreement. The very first clause says something like both sides agree to attack the autocratic monarchy from their own positions. And I will tell you I had a conversation with those people who were involved into formulating those agreement. And they said to me that Maoists had initially desired to include a very explicit point saying that they would continue to use violence. And obviously, that first point to me just looked like a compromise. They didn’t specifically say that the Maoists would continue to use violence but it implied that they would obviously [go for that].

My question is are you against any understanding between Maoists and political parties or you are against particular clauses of that understanding?

I think that the parties have the intention of bringing the Maoists into the mainstream. That’s laudable, that’s good. If it works. If they can come up with an agreement that makes Maoists being to come into the mainstream, that’s terrific, I would praise that. All I am saying that this agreement seemed to have left open the options of violence on part of the Maoists. And Maoists have undeniably engaged into violence. So in other words Maoists are telling the world that the 12-point agreement is not about their giving up the violence but is about their attempting to gain the parties’ support for their use of violence.

US seems to have adopted three attitude towards this understanding: before, during and after. For example, where there were rumors about Maoists and parties were about to reach to an agreement, you came out against it. You made your mind very clear in the interview with Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post. But after the understanding was publicized, America cautiously welcomed it. You were not that much against it. And in one fine morning in Feb 15, it seems that you have flipped again. Or am I reading you wrong?

Let me present details. When I came here in October against a prospective agreement, not between parties and the Maoists, but between UML and the Maoists I have been told that the agreement at that point in no way bound the Maoists to give up violence and actually move toward the political mainstream. That was just an agreement to work together against the king. That’s why I spoke out so strongly at that time. That seemed very very dangerous.

When this agreement came out, as I said, I have reservations, my government have reservations. But against we were willing to look at the clauses that seemed to be the commitment on the part of Maoists try to come to the political mainstream. We were cautions and we said that anything that would led the Maoists to political mainstream would be welcome. However since January 2nd, since the end of the ceasefire, it is increasingly becoming clear with every statements by either Dr. Bhattarai or Mr. Prachanda along with the increasing drumbeat of violence that the Maoists didn’t really come to end the violence.

But the blame for the end of ceasefire lies equally to the state because they were not reciprocating?

Ya, I want to make it clear that the ceasefire would be good to Nepal, I do think there should have been movement on the part of the government towards the ceasefire.

If somebody says Maoists pushed toward breaking the ceasefire by the state, they had no other options left.

Are you saying that the only other option for the Maoists is violence? In that case, I don’t think parties should work with them.

If somebody says the state is not reciprocating, one couldn’t have continued cease fire indefinitely…

Well, I would think people in the country side would have hoped the Maoists would continue the ceasefire. I take your point. The government should have reciprocated but frankly Maoists were getting so much credit in the country side they were beginning to reverse some of the negative feelings. I would argue that it would have helped them to continue with. I hope the government would have reciprocated eventually.

Are you aware of the background that pushed parties towards Maoists? The king was not rolling back to the democratic process.

Absolutely and I will tell you that we discussed things with Washington and the day after the takeover by the king last year we were telling Washington look this is very counterproductive and it will push people toward crazy things…push people look at alternatives, violent revolution and cooperation between parties and the Maoists. Ya, it was a move that is very counterproductive and has been very dangerous for the country.

In that case, a bit share of the blame for this 12-point understand should go to the king?

Absolutely.

You agree to that?

Ya, I don’t disagree.

Parties found themselves to be pushed in that area?

They were boxed into a corer, their space has been getting constricted. And to be fair from the both sides. Maoists have kicked the parties from the country sides and they are desperate to get back in. Meanwhile the king was pushing from the other side, not giving the parties other options. So, yes. I understand the context.

Can we say parties’ joining hands with Maoists, at least in the context of 12-point agreement was all but natural consequences of the King’s actions?

Ya, I am not going to fight with that Vijay. Well, that’s a reasonable statement but again I am just looking at the outcome of the 12-point understanding. If they let to the Maoits genuinely towards mainstream, I would say ‘this is great, and the king has to respond’. Instead, I am saying, they don’t seem to be moving toward mainstream, they are trying to drag the parties into their violent agenda, that’s dangerous. But still the king has to be reaching out trying to reach an understanding with political parties.

Give us specific reasons as to why are you against this 12-point agreement.

Murder of candidates and destruction of candidate’s home leading up to the municipal elections. Death of a poor young cab driver who broke the Banda called by Maoists in Kathmandu. I would say in totality all the statements and pieces spoken and said by Mr. Prachanda and Dr. Bhattarai since the end of the ceasefire. If you take the totality of those statements, its clear as it can be to anybody who want to listen that they plan to use violence to overthrow the state. That’s their interpretation of where they stand after the 12-point agreement.

So for you the use of violence in politics is the basic cause of concern.

Ya, very much so. And the other part you have to listen to close is that they are saying that they will use that violence to overthrow the state. They would continue to control the weapons after the overthrow of the state. They have a fallback plan. If this violent revolution doesn’t work in the next couple of months, they will go back to pushing forward constituent assembly. Even during the election their weapons will be kept under some sort of international supervision, not by foreign troops, but some sort of international supervision. But then they will get the weapons back and form the core of the national army. If anybody thinks that you can have a free and fair election in the villages of Nepal with the villagers think that the Maoists are going to get their weapons back, I think they are being very optimistic.

It seems you don’t want to trust Maoists at all.

I listen to what they say. I am reading their words very closely. I do have lots of background dealing with communists and totalitarian movements and if you use that framework to look closely what they say its very very worrisome. Ya, Mr. Prachanda has not defined what he means by multiparty system but he has clearly said its not bourgeois parliamentary democracy. What you and I call democracy is bourgeois parliamentary democracy where people vote to choose their representatives and representatives get to decide policies. Its not the system where you have a few parties under the control of the Maoists party and Maoists party candidates get 99 percent of the vote every time.

Is it possible that you are overacting to the Maoists not trusting them at all? Not giving them a fair chance…

Sure. I started [this interview] saying that I don’t know everything here. I hope I am wrong in what the Maoists are doing. But I would suggest it is dangerous for Nepalis to assume that I am wrong and to assume that should ignore everything that Dr. Bhattarai and Mr. Prachanda say. Well, Mr Prachanda says that peoples’ court will try all feudal elements. What does he mean? You are quite a feudal element to me, Bijay.

Ya..look like one with a tie…

A tie..ya…You are a class enemy, I think.

Ya.

I think people’s court might have to try you when they come to power.

Ya..ya..We will see that.

I am not being pretentious here. Look closely what they say. Five or six very long pices of interviews, and articles. Think about what they are saying. What their multiparty competition is, what sort of guarantees that they wont retain their weapons after the election of constituent assembly.

They say that they are fighting for democratic, peaceful and prosperous Nepal?

Again get them to define their terms. And look at what they say closely. Ya, that sounds like a bourgeois parliamentary democracy to me but they are saying it isn’t. So there is gong it be some important difference there.

Dr Bhattarai has written an article saying that they have taken a historic decision, they have changed so many decisions, and they are ready to come to some sort of system, which we can almost call a bourgeois democracy.

He has not said that. No. And he has not repudiate Mr. Prachanda’s insistences that there has to be a constitutional framework that embodies anti-feudalism and anti-imperialism.

I think you want a clarification and definition from Maoists regarding what king of Nepal they want to create.

That’s my point. And I hope you can actually get them to a definition of a bourgeois parliamentary democracy. Because anything else if they sort of put conditions, they will do have ‘kuniyat’ as we say bad intentions.

Would you like the existing triangular conflict go for ever instead of some bipolar development taking place?

No. Actually what I would like to see is a unitary state, functioning democracy where all the players agree that people of Nepal vote for their representatives in every two years or four years. That is what we want. This triangular division is very very unhealthy and dangerous.

Triangular conflict hasn’t given us anything and going on for years. What’s wrong turning it into a bipolar one?

All the parties should try for an unipolar agreement, not a conflict at all. I understand what you are saying. The implication will be that the parties and the Maoists have to struggle against the palace. And in some ways, I can appreciate that perspective against the sense that the king has pushed the parties away and has made it much more difficult to achieve a reconciliation. On the other hand, I say if they continue to make it clear that are for violent overthrow of the state and they will continue to have control over weapons after that.

You believe that whatever Maoists are saying is their tactics and they will come to their natural state when they are in power, right?

I am saying listen to what they say closely. I am not just picking up one or two phrases and say this is their intent. Listen to Prachanda when he says we don’t want bourgeois parliamentary democracy and think about what that means. Listen to him when he ways the next stop for the parties to join an underground government and support the peoples’ army against the state. And think about what that means.

What’s better? Parties and Maoists coming to some sort of understanding vis-à-vis this triangular state going on for ever.

Those are two options that I don’t accept. I am not supporting either of them. May be on theory, if the Maoists genuinely desire to come for political mainstream, that’s great. They are welcome. But I can’t endorse the parties working with violent Maoists who are for violent overthrow of the state. Equally, this triangular conflict is very dangerous for Nepal.

America wants to sole this problem through force or through dialogue.

I want this problem to be solved as quickly as possible. I fear this problem can’t be solved unless there is a coherence counter-insurgency strategy. I insist that counter-insurgency strategy mainly has to be how does government and parties begin winning back the rural areas. How do they make people safer in the rural areas? Nepal is pretty bad but its not that bad that I can’t talk to people. People from outside Kathmandu, whether from the left or from the right, say that people in the village are scared. Every night they go to bed scared. Scared mainly from the Maoists. They don’t’ know what’s going to happen to them. They don’t know who’s going to ask for food, somebody ask for money or somebody going to ask for their children. That’s the situation that has to be reversed.

I want your specific answer to the question: America wants to solve the problem by force, or dialogue or combination.

Obviously, by dialogue. But I have not seen a conditions yet that convince me that seeing Maoists 10 years into their struggle, seeing a very very weak government, seeing huge division between the palace and the parties, I am convinces that they need to give up their final goal. I think Nepalis have to ask themselves. Do the Maoists think they are winning? I say their answer is probably yes. If so, at that point why would they give up their final goals? Their final goal is a one party state.

Maoists appear to be winning. Will they ever win? And even Maoists leaderships say we will not be able to capture the state.

And that gets back to your earlier question: never ending triangular arrangement. I don’t think there can be a never ending triangular arrangement. Basically I believe this state is in danger of collapse. I can’t state more clearly than that. If the palace and the parties do not cooperate, if the king doesn’t reach out, if they don’t begin to plan way back to democracy, the current state of affair will not last all that long and I think the most likely result if the collapse of the state and an opportunity for the Maoists to make a huge advances.

Many things that you have said are absolutely correct but you have a hole in your theory.

I hope so.

If it is a triangular crisis, you are prescribing the expulsion of a one side of the triangle. You are trying to imagine that the side, Maoists side, does not exist. If you are trying to bring peace here through dialogue, you are negating their size and influence.

No, not at all. What I am saying is that I believe that until and unless you have a coherent way forward on part of the, I will continue to call them, the legitimate constitutional forces, the palace and the parties, there will be no need for the Maoists to make serious compromises. That’s all I am saying. I am not saying you shouldn’t talk to them because again I will go back to my opening statement, I don’t know everything. May be the Maoists are desperate to come out but their actions and words suggest that is not the case and there is no reason not to be talking out to Maoists and trying to find out what their intentions are. But I will tell you that I genuinely believe that until they understand that there is a coherent plan in place so they need gradual erosion to their position, there is no pressure on them to compromise.

Would you like to give them some benefit of doubt?

There is always benefit of doubt but their words and actions will depend on how …and their actions and word have been pretty belligerence since the ceasefire.

What do you mean by reconciliation?

Reconciliation would have two goals. One would be how the king and the parties map a path back to the real functioning democracy and 2 how the country deals with insurgency.

Where to Maoists fit in reconciliation?

Second part. There are all ways to do it as long as there is consensus. I thin it is perfectly reasonable to say okay come here and talk, we will consider putting you in a joint government. There are many possible solution. But there has to be some sort of agreement between legitimate political forces because I believe Maoists will feel no pressure to compromise otherwise.

Who is legitimate political force and who is not?

Well, all I am saying is the king and the political parties. I don’t call the Maoists a ‘legitimate’ political force because they are using violence to overthrow the state and they took up arms against state and functioning parliamentary system. They are undeniably a force that needs to be dealt, that needs to be recognized but they are not legitimate political force.

Is the understanding between king and political parties mandatory for solving political and other problems?

Again, I am not all knowing but I feel it might be. And precisely because Maoists are showing no sings of feeling under pressure to compromise, to give up their final objectives. And those actions and words are making me fear that yes agreement is necessary between the parties and palace.

In a situation like this where king and parties are not coming together, how this reconciliation can take place? What’s wrong with other two sides trying to reach in agreement?

Oh…there is absolutely nothing wrong with the parties and the Maoists trying to come up with the solution and get back to the bourgeois parliamentary democracy.

UWB: Rest of Q and A is in Nepali as we directly transcribed that into Nepali language (for Kantipur daily). We might upload the English version tomorrow.

अरु दुइ पक्ष मिल्दा केही खराव हुदैन तर फेरी म त उही भन्छु, युद्धविराम भङ्गभए यताका माओवादी कुरा र कामले (शान्तिपूर्ण समाधान) उनीहरुको लक्ष्य नभएको देखाउछ ।

फेब्रुअरी १५ को तपाइका भनाइ पछि धेरै राजनीतिक नेतृत्वले राजासँगको संधर्षा उनीहरुको स्थितीलाई कमजोर तुल्याएको छ भनिएको छ ।

यसलाई मैले गम्भीररुपमा लिएको छ किनकी मैले बुझेको छु कि पार्टीले के विश्वास गरेका छन् भने माओवादीसँग समझादारी गर्दा त्यसले राजालाई दवाव पुग्छ । म राजालाई दिने उनीहरुको दवावलाई कम नआक्न सचेत छु । तर माओवादी कृयाकलापका खतराहरु गम्भीर छन् र उनीहरुको लक्ष्यका बारेमा छलफल हुनु जरुरी छ ।

तपाइको भनाइ र्सार्वजनिक भएपछि राजाको स्थिती बलियो भएको छैन र ?

मलाई त्यस्तो लाग्दैन । मलाई लाग्छ राजाले बुझनु भएको छ उहासँग अर्न्तराष्ट्रिय र्समर्थन लगभग छदैछैन र देश गम्भीर अवस्थामा छ । र मलाई लाग्छ उहाँले पार्टी माओवादीबीचको सम्बन्ध उहाकै लागि पनि खतरापूर्ण छ भन्ने पनि बुझ्नुभएको हुनुपर्छ ।

दरवारभित्रका दक्षिणपन्थीहरु त तपाइको भनाइ पछि खुशी भएका छन्, ‘लौ हेर अमेरिकी राजदूत प्रजातान्त्रिक क्याम्पबाट हटे’ भन्दै ।

माघ १९ यता मात्रै होइन, वितेका बर्षरुदेखि नै यदि तपाइले हामीले भनेका र गरेका कुरा हेर्नुभयो भने देख्नुहुने छ हामीले शान्तीपूर्ण्, सम्पन्न र प्रजातान्त्रिक नेपाल चाहेका छौं र हामीले त कहिल्यै भन्न छाडेका छैनौ कि राजालाई सधै माघ १९ को कदमले नेपाललाई चाहिएको नजितातिर लैजान सकेका छैनन् र त्यसलाई उल्ट्याउनु जरुरी छ । त्यसैले दरवार र पार्टीबीच सम्झौता हुनुजरुरी छ ।

प्रजातन्त्र र राजाको प्रत्यक्ष शासनबीच छान्नुपरेमा के छान्नुहुने छ ?

प्रजातन्त्र नि । (त्यसको निर्णय त) निमेषभरमै (हुन्छ) ।

प्रजातन्त्र र शान्तीमा ?
त्यो त झुटो छनोट हुनेछ अर्थात त्यसमा त कुनै छनोट नै हुनेछैन । र वितेको बर्षो अनुभवले नै पनि देखाएको छ कि र्सवसत्तावादी सरकारले यहाको द्धन्दलाई सम्बोधन गर्न सक्दैन भन्ने ।

अहिलेको अवस्थामा जहा प्रजातन्त्र आफ्नै खुट्टामा उभिन सक्दैन र शान्ती पनि छैन । के यही अवस्थाको निरन्तरता राम्रो होला कि पार्टीहरुले माओवादीहरुसँग कुनै न कुनै खाले सम्झैता गर्नुपर्छ ?

कस्तो सम्झौता हो त्यसमा भर्रपर्छ । यदि माओवादीले अप्रजातान्त्रिक माध्यमबाटै राज्यको प्रभावकारी नियन्त्रण लिने भन्ने सम्झौता हो भने म त्यसलाई राम्रो सम्झौता भन्न सक्दिन । तर हतियार त्यागेर संसदीय प्रजातन्त्रको धेरै मध्येको एउटा पार्टी हुने हो भन्छ भने त ठिक छ ।

तपाइ कुन रुचाउनुहुन्छ ? राजाको र्सवसत्तावाद कि माओवादीको ?

राजाले पनि त्यो बुझेका छन् कि उनले सधै शक्ति आफ्नो हातमा लिएर राख्न सक्दैनन् । अर्न्तराष्ट्रिय र राष्ट्रिय अरु शक्तिलाई उनले धान्न सक्दैनन् । उनले देश भित्र र विदेशी सहयोग पाउने छैनन् । कम्युनिस्टको र्सवसत्तावादी शासन त नेपालको लागि पुरै विपत्तिजन्य हुनेछ । राजाले त चाहेर पनि गर्न सक्दैनन तर बाटो खुला भयो भने माओवादीले चाहि गर्न सक्छन् ।

डा. भट्टराइ भन्नुहुन्छ तपाइले माओवादीको काल्पनिक र्सववत्तावादको विरोध गरेर राजाको र्सवसत्तावादलाई सहयोग पुर्याइरहनुभएको छ ।

फेरी पनि उहाले आफ्नो लक्षहरु के हुन्, प्रष्ट पार्नु पर्छ । बर्जुवा संसदीय प्रजातन्त्र होइन भने उहाहरुले चोहको प्रजातन्त्र कुन हो ? सामन्त र साम्राज्यवादी विरुद्धको प्रजातन्त्र भनेको कस्तो हो ? राजाको र्सवसत्तावाद पनि कल्पना कै कुरा हो, त्यो सम्भव हुनेछैन ।

तर संविधानसभाको चुनावमा जादा के भयो त ?

मैले त संविधानसभाको चुनावको विरोध गरेकै छैन नि । तर त्यसका लागि माओवादीले हतियार कतिन्जेल विसाउने (एक हप्ता) के अनि हामीले विश्वास गर्नुपर्ने कि नेपालका चार हजार गाउका बासिन्दाले एक हप्ता पछि माओवादीले हतियार फिर्ता लिनेछने भन्ने थाहा पाउदा पाउदै आफ्नो मनले चाहेजसरी भोट हाल्ने छन् ? फेरी पनि म उनीहरुलाई चुनावबेला हतियारको व्यवस्थापनबारे पनि प्रष्ट हुन आग्रह गर्छु ।

माओवादीहरुले त अमेरिकाले आफूहरुलाई ध्वस्त पार्न चाहेको बताइहरेका छन् नि ।

हामीले सेनालाई कुनै घातक हतियारको सहयोग गरेका छैनौं त्यसैले उहाँले कसरी अमेरिकाले माओवादीहरुलाई नष्ट गर्नचाहेको भन्नुहुन्छ ?

अमेरिकाले नेपाललाई रणनीतिकहिसावले प्रयोग गर्न खोजेको भनिन्छ । के हो त्यो रणनीतिक स्वार्थ ?

हामी चीन र भारतलाई उदाउदा शक्तिकारुपमा लिएका छौं जोसँग हामीले काम गर्नुपर्ने छ । यहाको अस्थिरताले चनि र भारतमा पनि परिस्थिती अप्ठेरो बनाउछ । यहा माओवादीले शासन हत्याउन त्यसले क्षेत्रमै अस्थिरता फैलाउला भन्ने देखेका छौं । अनि हाम्रो के रणनीतिक स्वार्थ ? त्यो त शान्तीपूर्ण, सम्पन्न र प्रजातान्त्रिक नेपाल भन्दा अर्को छैन । यसलाई सक्रिय प्रजातन्त्रमा फर्काउने र माओवादी विद्रोहलाई प्रभावशाली ढंगमा सम्बोधन गर्ने ।

नेपालबाट उत्तर दक्षिण हेर्न मिल्छ भनेर त्यसो भनिएको हो कि ?

त्यो त हास्यास्पद तर्क हो ।

विदेशी समुदायको नेपालसम्बन्धी दृष्टिकोणमा कत्तिको मिलेमतो छ ?

धेरै हदसम्म एकै छ हाम्रो धारणा । हामीले भारतीय र बेलायतीहरुसँग नजिकमा रहेर काम गरेका छौं । बटमलाइन सहमती के छ भने यो देशलाई सक्रिय प्रजातन्त्रमा फर्काउनुपर्छ, माओवादी हिंसा धेरै खतरापूर्वक छ र माओवादीले शक्तिहत्याए भने त्यो विपतदूपर्ण हुनेछ ।

कसैले भन्छन् अमेरीकीहरुको तुलनामा युरोपेली र भारतीयहरु माओवादीप्रति नरम छन् ।

तपाइले त्यो त युरोपेली र भारतीयहरु सोध्नुपर्छ । तर उनीहरुले पनि माओवादीको शक्ति हत्यालाई सोझै अस्विकार गर्नेछन् ।

अहिलेको अवस्थामा नेपालमा चीनको भूमिकालाई कसरी लिनु भएको छ ?

एकजना बाहिरियाकोरुपमा सम्बन्धित पक्षहरुलाई वार्ताको लागि प्रोत्साहित गरेर चीनले सकारात्मक भूमिका खेलिरहेको छ ।

नेपालको वर्तमान विदेश नीतिलाई कसरी मूल्याङ्कन गर्नुहुन्छ ?

हा, हा, हा । म त्यसमा टिप्पणी गर्न सक्दिन ।

स्थानीय चुनावमा प्रतिक्रिया ?

चुनावले दरवार र पार्टीलाई कुनै सहमतीमा डोर्याउन नसकेकामा हामी निराश भएका छौं ।

राजाको रोडम्यापबारे ?

उहाको रोडम्यापबारे म आफै पूर्ण प्रष्ट छैन । तर रोडम्याप पार्टीसँग समझदारी गरेर सक्रिय प्रजातन्त्रमा र्फकने नै हुनुपर्छ ।

राजाको पछिल्लो सन्देशबारे कुनै प्रतिक्रिया ?

त्यसले ढोका बन्दगरेको छैन तर सम्भावित एक कदम अगाडी हो तर धेरै काम हुन बाकी छ । उहाको उद्देश्य के हो प्रष्ट हुनुजरुरी छ ।

राजनीतिक नेताहरु व्यक्तिगत कुराकानीमा भन्छन्, प्रजातन्त्रका र्समर्थक मध्ये अमेरिकाचाहि राजाको नजिक छ । ठिक हो ?

होइन । हामीले राजालाई दवाव दिएका दियै छौं । तर धारणा के छ भने राजाले अझै आफूलाई प्रष्ट पारेका छैनन् । तर हामी राजाको नजिक छौ भन्ने धारणा चाहि मलाई थाहा छ मैले माओवादी हिंसाको विराध गरेका कारण आएको नकारात्मक नतिजा हो ।

Changing Voices in Nepali Politics

Will Nepal see reconciliation in the near future?

American Ambassador James F Moriarity has created a small-scale tsunami in Nepali politics by speaking against the 12-point agreement between Seven Party Alliance and the Maoists. (Ambassador will talk to Vijay Kumar this evening on Kantipur TV and we will post the full transcript of the interview here). Political parties are defending themselves and the government seems to be enjoying the latest ‘misunderstanding’ between the American diplomat and pro-democracy alliance. “Look, even American is saying that’s not good” is what government wants to say in a loud voice. But the most surprising statements come from the current and former army chiefs, especially the former Army Chief. Can you believe Satchhit Shumsher Rana talking about anything against arresting pro-democracy political leadership? That’s what he said yesterday in a discussion program. Continue reading

Exercising Democracy In Colleges

Nepal’s politically sensative colleges are holding elections of Free Student Union.

election fever in kathmandu colleges

The election fever has caught politically sensitive colleges by fire. Pro-democracy students have vowed to use the election for the benefit of the ongoing democratic movement of their mother political organizations. Colleges are decorated with posters, pamphlets and banners. Elections of Free Student Union have historical significance in Nepali politics. They were one of the major mediums for political parties to reach out to the young demography of Nepal. Pics by Shaligram Tiwari

By Deepak Adhikari

Thursday afternoon, I made rounds of colleges of Kathmandu Valley in the eve of the FSU election. Come Feb 28, almost two hundred thousand students across the country will cast their vote, choose their leaders. This election is significant for today’s student leaders are tomorrow’s national leaders. Blogger-turned-reporter Post B Basnet (of the Kathmandu Post) and I visited Institute of Engineering (IOE) in our first leg of college tour. Election was in the air but most of the candidates were unaware of the agendas, be it political or educational. Continue reading

Democracy: Voice of Nepali Youth

himalayan white house students

“Nepal never got real democracy. Constitutions made after the revolution of 2007 BS gave power to the king. Same happened even in 2046 (1990). Political leadership failed to make people feel democracy. We have seen [that the king's] ‘golden wish’ after Magh 19 (Feb 1) has gone to the opposite direction.” -Suraj Kumar Dev, (front) Himalayan White House College.

The Plus Two Brainstorming of Politics: The Gen Y of city’s valentine culture isn’t as ingnornat about politics as many might think By Dinesh Wagle

Going by his appearance, you don’t think that Sagar Dev Bhatta analyzes the politics of Nepal just like a veteran leader. But when you talk with this young man you know his views that argue including youths in the nation’s decision making process. “We have been told that ‘politics is a dirty game and you shouldn’t get involved into it,” the student of 12th standard (science) in Kathmandu’s Noble Academy said extending his both hands. “That’s wrong. Politics is everyone’s game and everybody should be involved in it. The time has come to put forward your political views openly and express civic concerns.”

sagar bhatta of noble academy
“Youths are partners of today, not only the futures of tomorrow. That is why they should listen to us; we should make our voice heard.” -Sagar Dev Bhatta, Noble Academy. On on the right is Himamshu Lekhak.

At a time when, as Sagar put it, Nepali people have to live in a situation where they might be shot at (by the security personnel) for not hearing them properly or killed by stumbling upon a bomb installed on the road (by the Maoists), no city youth can easily say that politics is not their cup of tea. That is why when our GenNext passionately talks about the last night’s English premier league fight between Liverpool and Arsenal, clashes of Palpa and Nepalgunj and political demos of New Baneshwor and Indra Chowk forcefully get important space in their guff. “We talk about politics very much usually a day before the Nepal Banda (general strike),” told a student about his ‘guff habit’ to this reporter. Punam Mahato, a plus-two student of V S Niketan School said, “Politics manages all other sectors of a society. It is natural that when that other sectors are affected by any developments in politics. That is why young generation can’t just get themselves away from politics.”

Verbatim of GenNext
“Royal Nepali Army should function under Nepali people, not under the king.” -Satkar Babu Adhikari, Kathmandu Don Bosco College

“We the people have been trapped. Now is the time for us to fight back for our rights. I feel that the government doesn’t want peaceful solution of the problem because that might send it out from the power.”-Bikash Gurung, Himalayan White House, BBA

“It is not good from any point for an educated people to take gun. That is not the solution. We should use Dr. Baburam Bhattarai’s expertise and wisdom for the benefit of Nepali society and country.” -A student, Himalayan White House, BBA

“The solution of current impasse is the restoration of democracy. We have to fight for that helping political parties. Yes, I have been to demonstrations of political parties and chanted slogans. The 12-point agreement is definitely a step forward.” – -Jagat Koirala, Himalayan White House, BBA

“I have stopped being hopeful. They are not thinking of reconciliation. If they try for that, problems will be solved today.” -Shrawan Thapa, V S Niketan

“There is democracy in Nepal today,” -Sandip Nepal, Kathmandu Don Bosco College.

“No, there is not democracy in Nepal today. Why would the government arrest political leaders just before a scheduled mass meeting.”-Satkar Babu Adhikari, Kathmandu Don Bosco College.

“We should also see the socio-economic aspect of the country. We should discourage the brain drain.”-Simanta Khadka, Noble Academy

“King should abandon haughty attitude. He is enjoying too much power. That’s not right. We should go for the election of constituent assembly. People should be given rights to chose.” -Sandip Dhanuk, Noble Academy

They study in expensive colleges with ‘closed’ environment like that of the private boarding schools. But you would be wrong to think that these young folks are politically dumb and only enjoy western cultures like Valentine’s Day. Whenever they are given a chance to speak out, they present themselves like an experienced politician. In discussions conducted by this reporter just after the Valentine’s Day in their colleges about the present situation of the country, majority of participating students complained about the problems they are facing because of the conflict where as others suggested the solution (election of the constituent assembly).

“Now is the time for all three parties to let people decide,” said Sagar. “Lets go for the election of constituent assembly. If people decide to throw someone, lets throw him. If they decide to keep, lets keep.”

On Parties
Students agree that the country is suffering from the triangular conflict between the royal camp, Maoists and the political parties. In the beginning the discussion, they do not want to associate themselves with any of the three sides saying that they were on people’s side or in the fourth camp. But then they know all three sides claim to represent people. So when students try to clarify their position further, you can see their opinions similar to that of the Seven Party Alliance. That is why for these young people political parties have become the ‘necessary evil’. They scold parties; they express dissatisfaction over parties’ deeds, and still believe that only parties will be able solve the problems of the country.

white house girls

“I have faith toward political parties. They should reform themselves and come up with new leadership. His Majesty is imposing autocracy in the name of Democracy. I can’t support him.”- Aasna Dahal, (first from left, seond front row) Himalayan White House, BBA

“The system of chhuwachhut (discrimination based on touch) has been eradicated almost from the villages because of the Maoists’ ‘peoples’ war’ over the years. Many positive changes have been occurring in the villages. The status of women has risen. Yes, I agree that the change might be also because of Maoists fear. But I still believe the concept to people have also changed.”- Pramila Thapa, (first from right, second last row) Himalayan White House, BBA

“If parties exercise democracy [within their organizations] and handover leadership to young generation,” said a student of fifth semester (BBA) at Don Bosco. “I will happily participate in the demonstrations and pelt stones.” One of his friends immediately countered that pelting stones would not solve the problem. Then they started discussing with the first arguing that intensified peaceful movement was necessary to restore democracy and the second saying that parties should find other ways to make their voices heard.

On Maoists:

They swiftly distance themselves from the violence launched by the Maoists. They instantly dissociate themselves from the rebels and their violent activities. Students dislike and hate violence. But that doesn’t mean they support the government and believe that the problem could be solved militarily. They believe in peaceful solution of the problem through negotiations. That is why overwhelmingly reject the government’s ‘arrogant’ position on the conflict. They blame the royal government for the latest incidents of fighting because, they think, Maoists “did show their intention of solving the conflict the peacefully by ceasing fire. But the government blatantly ignored the offer.” I found almost all of them reading the Prachanda interview published in Kantipur. Many of them find hope of peace and solutions of the problem in the interview. But a few of them think that Maoists should unilaterally surrender the weapon before coming to the table of talks.

Girls of V S Niketan

“Politics manages all other sectors of a society. It is natural that when that other sectors are affected by any developments in politics. That is why young generation can’t just get themselves away from it.” Punam Mahato, (second from left in the pic above) V S Niketan School.

“I can’t trust Maoists,” Sandip Nepal of Don Bosco (Science) said. “They were busy collecting arms and ammunitions even at the time of cease fire. They should first surrender their weapons before coming to the talk.” When Nepal was saying this, almost all of the students in the class disagreed with him. Some of his seniors raised from their seats, made their voices louder and started arguing with Nepal saying it would be a day-dream to expect Maoists surrender to the state like that. Many of his class-mates also strongly disagreed with Nepal. As Prachanda has said in the interview, they said, the process of negotiation should start with both armies under the UN supervision. A girl in Himalayan White House said that the 10 year long armed rebellion has brought awareness among Nepalis in villages. “Especially the women have got their status in the society improved,” she observed.

All student agreed that the ultimate sufferer of the war were Nepali people and that situation of the country as aptly summed up by Birendra Puri of Don Bosco: “Army-Maoists clash, two unarmed civilians killed. This is the situation of Nepal.”

On King
I found very few supporters of His Majesty among young students. They blame the king for not holding peace-talks with the Maoists. “The king should have worked as a political catalyst,” remarked Sagar of Noble Academy. “But he started functioning as a political reactor. That’s why the problem got complicated. If he really wishes to be a political reactor, it’s better that he goes to the election opening a party and finding an election symbol. If not, he should quietly stick to his position [as a constitutional monarch].” Sagar said that the constitutional mistakes that give more power to the king should be corrected. The army shouldn’t be under the king, he said, but under the people. After listening to the arguments put forward by Sagar about ‘powerless ceremonial monarchy’ his junior fellow Krishna Pokharel was quick enough to registered his note of dissent.

“What’s the meaning of keeping a king decorating like a doll and feeding from taxpayer’s money?” he asked. “There is no alternative to republicanism.”

Sagar countered stating that giving how much power to the king is more important than keeping him or not. “We need a head of state anyway,” he said. “Even if a people’s son becomes the president, he should given facilities and respect that the post of presidency demands. So we should strip the king off all powers that be and keep him in a respectable manner.” But Sagar agreed with Krishna without commenting further that if there is a presidency system, any son of Nepali citizen would be eligible to be the head of state and that would be a great system to have.

Krishna Pokharel of Noble Academy. His friends listen to him as he makes point

“King has tried to take the country back to the old dark days of Panchayat. He also successfully diverted the attention of the country from municipal election to different matter by letting the Supreme Court decide against the RCCC. That is his ploy. But we have been made to believe that the court decided that independently. The same court that did not issue a stay order in a write filed against the media ordinance is now being portrayed as the independent. King will say, look we have an independent judiciary in Nepal. He is so clever. Now he will move ahead with his plans of holding general elections. Parties will do nothing more than reacting to royal actions.”- Krishna Pokharel, (extreme right) Grade 11, Noble Academy

Dissatisfaction over king doesn’t simply end here. Youngsters start to dig out the past. “Nepal never got real democracy,” said Suraj Kumar Dev, a bachelors level student at Himalayan White House College. “Constitutions made after the revolution of 2007 BS gave power to the king. Same happened even in 2046 (1990). Political leadership failed to make people feel democracy. We have seen [that the king's] ‘golden wish’ after Magh 19 (Feb 1) has gone to the opposite direction.” After saying that the boy went on talking about the recent annulment of Royal Commission for Corruption Control (RCCC) by the Supreme Court and concluded, “That is certainly an achievement [for democratic movement]. Each and every royal actions should be discouraged.”

In a separate discussion, Sandip Nepal of Don Bosco gently defended the His Majesty. Just like children follow their father’s orders, he said, Nepali people should act as per the king’s wishes. As Sandip started talking like this almost all of his friends and senior folks present in the classroom tried to stop from by shouting, standing up from their seats and shaking their heads in strong disagreement.

Sandip Nepal of Don Bosco

“I can’t trust Maoists. They were busy collecting arms and ammunitions even at the time of cease fire. They should first surrender their weapons before coming to the talk.” Sandip Nepal ,(left) Kathmandu Don Bosco College.

Abhima Upriety of Noble Academy

“They say that young people are the future of the country. But they keep us disturbing by launching protest programs and strikes. Ultimately, we need democracy but why not give a chance to the king. I think king needs power. I am against curtailing the royal power. I think army will be able to take situation under control.”Abhima Upreity (pic, above), Noble Academy

“I disagree [with Abhima]. You should go outside Kathmandu valley to see the real situation of Nepal. You have not seen outside Kathmandu that is why you think army can win the war. No one can win this war militarily.” Himamshu Lekhak, Noble Academy

Shaligram Aryal of Don Bosco makes his piont

“King is doing unofficial visits spending official money. He should stop that.” Shaligram Aryal,(standing) Kathmandu Don Bosco College.

don bosco agressive boys hands up to make his point

“No change will come by pelting stones on the street. Change should come from above.” Bishal Tamang, (right) Kathmandu Don Bosco College

v s niketan group

“Reading his Kantipur interview, I feel that Prachanda wants to solve the problem.” – Ram Prasad Pandey, (first from left) V S Niketan

UWB: Below is the Kantipur article (in Nepali language and first published in the Special Supplement of Falgun 7 brought out by the daily on the occasion of 13th anniversary of Kantipur Publications and National Democracy Day) by Dinesh Wagle based on interviews and discussions he conducted with GenNext.

ट्युटर अफ पोलिटिक्स

[UWB Note: This article, written in Nepali language and based on the interview of renowned writer and pro-democracy activist Manjushree Thapa conducted by Dinesh Wagle and Bikash Sangraula for Kantipur and the Kathmandu Post dailies, was first published in the Special Supplement of Kantipur brought out on the occasion, of 13th anniversary of Kantipur Publications and the National Democracy Day. (Intro in English continues at the end of the article.)]

Manju Shree Thapa is a renowned writer and pro-democracy activist

लेखन क्षमतालाई राजनीतिक लक्षका लागि प्रयोग गर्ने पछिल्लो साहित्यकारमा अङ्ग्रेजीभाषी मन्जुश्री थापा भएकी छिन् जसले माघ १९ लगत्तै हिन्दूस्तान टाइम्स देखि न्यूयोर्क टाइम्स सम्मका पाठकलाई नेपालमा प्रजातन्त्रको महत्वबारे जानकारी गराइन् तस्बिर: विकास कार्की

दिनेश वाग्ले

‘राजनीतिक छलफलमै वित्यो,’ एउटी चर्चित अङ्ग्रेजीभाषी नेपाली लेखकसँग भलाकुसारी गर्ने अपेक्षासहित पूर्व निर्धारित स्थानमा पर्खिरहेका दुइ सम्बाददाताका अबिवादन फर्काउदै तत्कालै गफ थालिहाल्ने आसयमा मन्जुश्री थापाले भनिन्- ‘अझै उदार गणतन्त्र र सम्बैधानिक राजतन्त्रबीच अलमलमा परेको ठूलो जत्था छ यहाँ ।’ Continue reading

Talk of a Unified Nepali Congress

Koirala and Deuba have started talking about the unification but are they ready to hand over the leadership of the unified Nepali Congress to a new generation?

By D Wagle
Finally, after four long years, Girija Prasad Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba have come together to discuss the prospects of unification of their political organizations- Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress Democratic. That partition was not based on principle but mere personal ego between Koirala and Deuba and was fueled by long standing internal feud between Chhattise and Chauhattere.

It was widely believed at that time that Deuba was successfully used by the Palace to split the largest democratic party, to dissolve the parliament and to extend the state of emergency. Intoxication of state power propelled Deuba to go against his party’s will and decision. He was too arrogant to play by the rules of the organization that gave him the post of Prime Minister and all that arrogance he was backed up and exploited by the Palace against the Nepali democracy. Just like Home Minister Kamal Thapa held the general convention of Rastriya Prajantra Party (RPP) misusing the government post and power, Deuba had organized the special general convention of Nepali Congress to declare himself the leader of the faction.

The history of Nepali Congress shows that they have never worked in a cordial manner while in power and they tend to be unified when they are on the street. Now that they are on the streets, defensive and they are starting to talk about unification. Even if that is the case, the latest initiation of unification is a welcome move. Yes, some people including Shushil Koirala and his coterie will do everything to prevent the parties being united. They do not want many people of Nepali Congress Democratic to come in to the mother party fearing possible competition in future for the leadership. Anyone against the unification should be defeated.

The unification of Nepal’s largest democratic party will definitely help the cause of democracy in the country. Both leaders talked about the relation of unification and the ongoing democratic movement. The ongoing movement will be strengthen, Koirala said, if both parties unite. Deuba also echoed the same sentiment. He also added that the unification is a very difficult task since it involve the central level organizations to the district and village level committees. It is indeed a difficult task but when you have will and aspiration for unification, half of the word is done.

It might be a harsh observation but the unification of Nepali Congress would definitely be considered one of the best things that Girija Prasad Koirala could possibly do in his life time. But the most important point, even after unification, would be the democratization of the Party itself. Will the possible unification be able to bring democracy within Nepali Congress? Will the party be practicing democracy while taking decision? Will the old guard let the new generation takeover? These things need to be sorted out while discussing about the unification. Nepali Congress can learn even from the Maoists. Prachanda and Dr. Baburam Bhattarai have said in their Kantipur and Kathmandu Post interview with Narayan Wagle and Prateek Pradhan that the revolutionary duo would be playing the role of statesmen after their party reaches to power. Girija Prasad Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba should do the same. They have played the game of politics enough. They need to rest. And immediately after the unification.

The Huta Ram Baidya Feeling

“Don’t think that this king is doing good,” writer and engineer Hutaram Baidya, 85, said. “He is just roaming around the country receiving flowers and garlands and telling people ‘I understand, I understand’.”

Hutaram Baidya

Old Man and The Bagan Beliya Flower Tree: Hutaram Baidya is a 85-year-old man whose latest book on Nepali politics was published on Sunday, Falgun 7, the Democracy Day. The book, titled “Falgun Saat Ko Samjhana” is the collection of 13 articles that the he penned and published in the last 14 years. Pic by Wagle

By Dinesh Wagle

“This is my first book that deals with socio-economic aspect of Nepal,” Hutaram Baidya started talking about “Falgun Saat Ko Samjhana” published by Kamal Mani Dixit. Dixit wanted to present Baidya, his teacher, with Guru Dakchhina. Baidya’s previous books are on technology and agriculture. “This one is about the importance of democracy for poor people.” He explained that the democracy that the political leadership talked about was different from the democracy that the poor people aspire for. “For poor people democracy is all about feeding themselves with two meals a day,” Baidya said. “For them democracy is about fulfilling their basic needs. But for those who talk about democracy in urban area are talking about rights and power. They are talking about power democracy not the economic democracy.” Continue reading

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UWB Note: This article in Nepali by Yashoda Timsina, a reporter with Nepal Weekly Magazine, talks about the importance of beat in journalism and argues that female reporters should not be confined into writing women issues only. She also talks about working with different male editors and their attitude towards the topic. We will continue posting Nepali articles here until Nepalblogs.com becomes functional.

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