Monthly Archives: March 2008

Ian Martin Q&A in Biratnagar

Andrew MacGregor: Ladies and gentlemen, thanks very much for coming this afternoon. My name is Andrew MacGregor. I am the head of the Eastern regional office for UNMIN. I am delighted to welcome the Special Representative of the Secretary-General and the chief of UNMIN, Ian Martin, who arrived yesterday. We have been out in the field today. If I could hand over to Ian Martin.

Ian Martin: Good afternoon. The visit that I am on is a visit to three regions – the Eastern region, the Mid-Western and the Far-Western regions in order to discuss UNMIN’s work in the last two weeks before the Constituent Assembly election. Of course this trip was planned several days before Saturday’s terrible crime at the Sarauchiya Mosque here in Biratnagar. Before leaving Kathmandu yesterday I issued a statement of strong condemnation and of condolences. And I want of course to repeat here this afternoon condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives, or who are fighting for their life, and to those who are injured, and indeed to the Muslim community of Biratnagar. I very much hope that those who perpetrated this outrage will be quickly identified and brought to justice. And not only those who directly threw the bombs into the mosque, but also anyone who ordered or in any other way was responsible for that crime. Continue reading

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A Day After the Mosque Blasts, All Condemn the Conspiracy

Normal life across Morang and Sunsari district came to a grinding halt on Sunday following a strike called in protest of the bomb explosions at a mosque at Sarauchiya in Biratnagar sub-metropolis on Saturday night. Two persons were killed and two other injured when three bombs went off almost simultaneously at a mosque in Biratnagar last night. Educational institutions, industries and marketplaces remained shut and vehicles stayed off the road due to the shutdown called by Morang Business Association. The Morang District Administration lifted the curfew clamped in Biratnagar. The district administration had issued curfew orders from 9 last night till 8 this morning in the areas surrounding the mosque to take situation under control in the aftermath of the incident. Continue reading

UNMIN Election Report No 2: Campaign Violence and Guerilla Movements

Conditions for Constituent Assembly election on 10 April 2008: a report by by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), in conjunction with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Nepal

Across much of the country, campaigning has continued in an enthusiastic and relatively peaceful manner, but a significant number of districts have experienced a surge in incidents involving clashes between different political party supporters. The main threats to peaceful campaigning were continuing acts of violence by armed groups in the Terai, and obstruction, intimidation and violence carried out by supporters of political parties against candidates and supporters of competing parties, as well as intimidation of voters. The gravest incidents during the past week were the killings of two cadres of the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) in Kapilvastu and Solukhumbu, which bring the total number of violent deaths of Maoists since 5 February to at least seven; and the bomb attack at a mosque in Biratnagar which left two dead on 29 March . While the full details of these incidents remain unclear, the killings, violence and intimidation are stark reminders of the responsibility of the authorities and the political parties to create and maintain a conducive environment for the election. Continue reading

For the Record, from the Campaign Trail

Conducts against the election code of conduct: This ‘Constituent Assembly Member Election 2008 Observation Bulletin’ was prepared by the National Election Monitoring Alliance (NEMA)

1. A clash took place between the activists of Madheshi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) and Terai Madesh Loktantrik Party (TMLP) at Tribhuvan Chowk in Nepalgunj on March 27, 2008 at around 1930 hours. The clash aroused with the minor dispute between the two party cadres. According to NEMA district representative, Mr. Jabbir Alam Siddhique, Municipal Coordinator of TMLP has been injured in the incident and taken him to India for treatment. Continue reading

Gross National Sadness: Bhutani Refugees

The other side of the refugee coin: There is more media coverage and outrage about 22,000 Tibetan refugees in Nepal than five times as many Bhutanis. Could it be because most Bhutani refugees are not Buddhists?

By Gyan Subba

Geo-politics is all about double standards and national interest. The Americans invade Iraq, ostensibly to restore democracy and get rid of Saddam, but everyone knows it is about oil.

India backs Nepal’s democracy movement, but is in bed with the Burmese junta. Everyone knows it’s about gas.

But how does one explain India’s outright support for Bhutan’s eviction of 100,000 refugees, and its help in transporting them to Nepal. It can’t only be about hydropower. Continue reading

A Comparative Study of Nepali Political Manifestos

The first-ever Constituent Assembly (CA) Polls in Nepal is being held on April 10, 2008. About 100 thousand international and domestic observers have enlisted for observation of the polls. The EU and Carter Center including many other international bodies have established their contact offices at Kathmandu to observe the election. People and organizations interested in Nepal are keen to know what agendas do the key political parties have for the people and the nation. Here is a comparative analysis of the election manifestos of three key political parties prepared by Conflict Study Center.

Nationality territorial integrity

CPN Maoist:

End to all semi-colonial and unequal relations and protect completely. Nepal’s sovereignty, national independence, freedom and territorial integrity.

CPN United Marxist-Leninist (UML):

Nepal’s national unity, integrity, sovereignty, and freedom to be consolidated.

Nepali Congress (NC):

Sovereignty and state power shall rest on the people. Harmony shall be among people of different castes/ethnicity and national integrity and sovereign constitution.

Head of the State/ Government (Executive)

Maoist:

1. President shall be elected through direct election and the legislature members shall elect the Premier.
2. The President shall perform the role of head of the state, chief of army and executive chief, whereas the PM shall deal with daily administrative affairs.
3. Both can remain in office for two terms of full tenure only.
4. There shall be governors and Chief Ministers in the States

UML:

1. Prime Minister shall be elected through direct election and all MPs of Central and Federal legislature shall elect the President.
2. Both presidential and premiership shall not continue for more than two full terms.

NC:

1. President shall be elected through Central and Provincial parliament. The executive and government head shall be the prime minister.
2. The Provincial Head shall lead the Federal State.
3. The Cabinets at the Central and Provincial levels shall be inclusive. Continue reading

Shameful.

I don’t know if Dalai Lama can bring democracy in Tibet after getting what he wants now…. but that doesn’t mean our police have to stop Tibetans from protesting against what they call Chinese atrocities in Tibet.

Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
All photos by Wagle

A few dozen Tibetan refugees were rounded up by the Nepali police when the former tried to protest outside the offices of the Kathmandu bureau of Chinese official news agency Xinhua (yes, the building is pretty much big and looks nice from outside!). The protesting refuges were shouting ‘Free Tibet’ and ‘China, Stop Killing in Tibet’ slogans. Soon after they started shouting slogans, police personnel reacted. The police forcefully put the shouting refugees inside the vans and trucks. The incident didn’t last for more than half an hour but that did portray very ugly image of Nepal to the rest of the world. The cameras captured nasty pictures from the event, thanks to the unnecessary police intervention. Continue reading

The Campaign Trail: Election Violence vs. Code of Conduct

This ‘Constituent Assembly Member Election 2008 Observation Bulletin’ was prepared by the National Election Monitoring Alliance (NEMA)

1. CPN Maoist (CPN-M) cadres attacked Nepali Congress (NC) candidate for Dhadhing Constituency -1 Mr. Dilman Pakhrin along with other nine other party cadres this morning at 0330 hours in Baseri VDC Dhading. All of them were sleeping at Mr. Santa Bahadur Tamang’s house. CPN-M cadres used sticks and khukuris while attacking. NC Area President Mr. Bhakta Bahadur Lama along with two other party cadres Mr. Jash Bahadur Gurung and Mr. Lal Bahadur Gurung have been seriously injured, while eight other people were sustained minor injury. Moreover, CPN-M cadres have caused damage the house owned by Mr. Santa Bahadur Tamang. Continue reading

Respected Lawabiding People….

A close look at the political speeches: Boring they might be, but speeches are necessary during this season of the Constituent Assembly elections. Demand for highprofile orators is increasing.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

[Nepali version of this story will appear in tomorrow's Koseli of Kantipur daily. A shorter version of the story will appear in tomorrow's Kathmandu Post.]

Gagan Thapa addresses a campaign rally in Kirtipur last Saturday (22 March). Pic by Bikas Karki

“Comrade chairman,” comrade guest said as he stepped up to the microphone. “Comrade members of the UML’s standing and central committees who are on the dais and all the law-abiding people present at this mass meeting. I would like to greet you with the revolutionary lal salaam (red salute) on behalf of the UML.”

Lal salaam! It was UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal addressing an electoral program in New Baneshwor last Sunday. Nepal wanted to clarify something before indirectly chiding the Maoists and mentioning a few points from his party’s election manifesto in the 25-minute-long speech. “Friends,” he said, “as the campaign moves forward, leaders and actors might lose their voices.” Continue reading

Tales of a Highway Driver in Karnali

Previous articles from Karnali

…………
By Dinesh Wagle in Karnali Highway
Wagle Street Journal
Pics by Wagle

[This story appeared in today’s Kathmandu Post. Nepali version of the same appeared in today’s Koseli, Kantipur. Here is a journal from Dinesh Wagle’s previous journey in Karnali Highway: The Karnali Express: Bumping on for 52 Hours (Jumla to Surkhet)]

The boys of Manma village, Kalikot (also in the three photos below) with their toy-vehicles

On the bumpy Kalikot road, a tractor is moving to Jumla. The tractor, full of goods, is followed by four ‘mini trucks’ and ‘tractors’. Among the drivers, playing with a toy vehicle with a long steering is Prabal Bam, 13, and an eighth grader.

“I want to be a driver!” Prabal replied to a one of my humorous questions.

“A driver?” I’m perplexed. Continue reading