Category Archives: Story of the Day

Intellectual Honesty & “A Big Fish in a Small Pond” Syndrome in K-town

If one is not intellectually honest about small things, one cannot be honest about bigger things

Ashutosh Tiwari

Not at all surprised that people are finally up in arms about CK Lal’s supposed intellectualism.

I had my first newspaper ‘fight’ with him in 1992, when he unfairly criticized my article published in the then The Independent. His criticisms were personal, and NOT at all related to whatever the demerits were of that article on education.

I had my second newspaper ‘fight’ with him in 1999, when, upon reading one of his newspaper pieces, I realized that he had shoddy understanding of the ‘laws of war’ (i.e. jus in bello and jus ad bellum), and was (ab)using these international legal terms to write about the then raging Maoist war. [I even showed his article to a professor in whose course on international law I had received an A, and for which I had written a 20-page paper on the laws of war, with applications to the then Maoist war. The professor agreed with my characterization of CK’s misunderstanding of those Latin terms.]

I had my third ‘fight’ with CK in the early 2000s when he wrote that Narayan Gopal, the singer, was a taxi-driver. Continue reading

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A Buddha Air Plane, Returning to Kathmandu from a Everest Flight, Crashes on a Hill. All 19 on Board Killed

buddha air plane crash2

At the Buddha Air plane crash site. Pics by Prakash Mathema/AFP

By Deepak Adhikari/AFP

A small aircraft taking tourists on a sightseeing trip around Mount Everest crashed in Nepal on Sunday, killing all 19 people on board, officials said.
The Buddha Air Beechcraft plane carrying 10 Indian passengers, three other foreign tourists, three locals and three Nepali crew crashed into a hillside in heavy rain and fog at Godavari, around 10 kilometres (six miles) from Kathmandu.

“All 19 people have died. The Buddha Air-103 was returning from a mountain flight when it crashed into Kotdada Hill,” said Bimlesh Lal Karna, head of the rescue department at Tribhuwan International Airport.

Continue reading

The Presidential Shock to UML: Ultimately Madhes Leads!?!

Or is it the Maoists who will actually lead?

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

There is a saying in Nepali: thangna ma sutaunu. CPN Maoist has done the same to the CPN UML (United Marxists & Leninists). UML is out in the cold thanks to the cunning politics played by the former rebels. It appears almost certain (though you can never predict political happenings, especially the Nepali) that the Maoist’s candidate for the president of Nepal will be indeed the first president of Nepal. Events are evidences that Maoists are succeeding to guide the Nepali polity by their, and only, their, terms. First they gave the lollypop of president to the UML and got the UML vote in the CA (as legislative parliament) to thwart the Nepali Congress proposal of providing a seat to the leader of the opposition leader in the National Security Council. Maoist continued luring UML with the President lollypop while they strategically sidelined the NC, second largest party in the CA. UML kept dancing while Maoist was having second thought about the lollypop. UML was all high thinking that Maoist would help elect one of their top leaders, namely the poor unfortunate MK Nepal, as the first president of Nepal. Continue reading

Just like Schools, Capital of Nepal is Also Closed

Depriving Children’s Rights to Education in Nepal

By Conflict Study Center
Contributed by Dr. Bishnu Pathak and Chitra Niraula. Assisted by Shankar Poudyal, Rushma Shakya and Prem Prasad Pathak. (Source: Media Monitoring and Field Observation)

Today, Kathmandu is closed down again. No vehicles are running, no shops are open and no business is operating. People are scurrying hurriedly on their feet to their destinations for fear of mis-happenings. The smoke of the burning tires in crossroads has choked the neighborhood. In many places, not only public and private vehicles, but also ambulances have been stopped.

Factor for the closure

On May 25, 2007, Educational Republic Forum (ERF) that is close to Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and Institutional School Teacher’s Union (ISTU) organized a sit-in at the Ministry of Education and Sports (MoES) on the eight day of the strike of all public and private educational institutions at and below Secondary level. Police charged with baton and fired tear gas, where more than 76 people were injured. Many have severe wounds in the head and many others have fractured hands and legs. Protesting the brutal treatment to them, they called for transport strike within Kathmandu from the afternoon. This has further aggravated the environment for talks.

Educational Data

Schools-8,500 (Private) 27,500 (Public)
Students-1,500,000 (Private) 63,00,000 (Public)
Teachers/Staffs-150,000 (Private) 600,000 (Public)

On May 26, 2007, ERF and All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union (Revolutionary), Maoist Student’s Wing, demanded for a public apology from the Education Minister Pradip Nepal for his order to inhuman and cruel treatment and abuse to the demonstrators, and compensate expenses for medical treatment to the injured. Almost 7.8 million students across the country have been affected by the strike. Both the organizations had jointly organized rallies, processions and meetings throughout the country, and called for an indefinite strike. Their original principal demands were: all the agreements done by earlier governments should be immediately implemented; and the private schoolteachers and staffs should be availed remuneration and facilities equal to the civil service.

Existing complexities

• Educational sector has been a wrestling ground of political parties.
• Significant differences exist in private and public schools in terms of policies, strategies, curriculum, etc.
• The private schools charge high admission fees annually and monthly fees compared to public in the name of better education. Similarly, there are discrepancies concerning fees in different private schools.
• The salaries and benefits to teaching and non-teaching staffs of private is less compared to public; whereas there is discrepancies amongst private schools in these regard too.
• Textbooks are not available in the remote areas on time.
• Many public school teachers have not been availed permanency albeit their long services (some even more than 20 years) so that their occupation is not secure.
• Civil Servants and officials along with public school teachers send their children to private schools. The leaders of political parties and senior bureaucrats send their children to schools abroad. Whereas, they are the prime investors and investing heavily on the private schools.
• Education although a foundation to economic, physical, social and cultural phenomena, has been less prioritized in the government policies, plans and programs. The agendas included in the programs are not implemented on time.
• The MoES in drowned in corruption and commission.
• The Asian Development Bank and World Bank have been imposing educational reforms that are not compatible in Nepali perspectives.
• No educational materials developed by the government on mother tongue for the ethnicities and nationalities despite of government’s repeated commitments.
• Illiterate parents/guardians also have ‘inkling’ towards English and send their children to private schools.
• Discrimination: The children of the rich families study in rich private and better schools and become doctors and engineers, whereas those from the poor families are bound to study in poor public schools to become their workers.
• Parents impose their wishes on the children while selecting the subjects or schools.
• There is no forum to share and discuss the issues relating to education among students, teachers and parents.
• The Nepali media has not given due response to this critical issue, but exclusive coverage on politics.
• Priority to money, muscle and mafia instead of mind. Continue reading

India on Election: Nepal Could Set Its Own Example

At a time when certain embassies are casting doubts on the fate of CA elections, India has supported Nepali Prime Minister’s position that election must be held at any cost. This is important because elections must be held on time. To differ the election date means to give time to play dirty games to the royalists against democracy.

Indian Ambassador Shiv Shanker Mukherjee today said that Nepal could “set its own example” on the issue of holding timely elections to the Constituent Assembly (CA). The Indian Ambassador’s statement comes amidst comments from some diplomatic corps in the capital that holding of the CA elections by stipulated time was not possible, and that the election would lose its credibility in front of the world community, if held forcefully. Talking to reporters after a meeting with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala this morning, Mukherjee said, “Finalising election policies to meet international standards is not a priority issue” adding that Nepal could set its own examples in this regards as it had done during the peace process. Mukherjee further clarified that the Indian government would “support and assist” whatever election date the eight parties decide on.

The Indian envoy had called on PM Koirala to discuss border security issues. According to sources, during the 20-minute long discussion held this morning at the PM’s Baluwatar residence, the duo deliberated ways to strengthen security vigilance at the Indo-Nepal borders. The Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukharjee, during the recently concluded 14th SAARC Summit in New Delhi, had expressed commitment towards making stronger security arrangements to prevent criminal activities in the Terai region, where evidences have pointed towards involvement of Indian criminal elements in the recent string of unruly activities there. Indian Embassy spokesperson Gopal Bagle informed that the meeting had discussed the latest political developments in Nepal and the challenges that lay ahead.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary State Affairs Committee (PAC) was unable to finalise the bill regarding the number of seats for the Constituent Assembly even after three days of deliberations following a dispute between the Members of Parliament (MPs) today. (here is more)

Plus, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Bhoj Raj Pokhrel today said that the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) elections could be held even under “unusual” circumstances. Pokhrel’s comments come in the heels of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s statement in Biratnagar a few weeks ago that under “abnormal” circumstances, the elections could also be held in “abnormal” ways. (more here)

Here is a MS word file: DECLARATION ON CRITERIA FOR FREE AND FAIR ELECTIONS

Prime Minister Defends Sitaula (America vs Maoists and Nepalgunj Curfew)

Sitaula’s resignation won’t resolve nation’s problems: PM

Finally, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has publicly defended his Home Minister. This comes a day after the Parliament decided with two thirds majority to amend the constitutions as per the demands of Madhesi people. Madheis Janadhikar Forum, a group that claims to fight for the interests of Madheis has been demanding the resignation of Krishna Prasad Sitaula. The group is currently holding its meeting in the wake up yesterday’s parliamentary decision. Here is what Koirala said in Biratnagar today:

BIRATNAGAR- Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala on Saturday said that Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula’s resignation would not resolve the nation’s problems, adding that he himself would tender his resignation if it helped solve the issues. The PM, who had made a surprise visit to his home town Biratnagar Saturday morning, told reporters, “If it can resolve the problems, I will ask for the Home Minister’s resignation this instant … but the Home Minister’s resignation is not the answer.” Informing that he himself was holding talks with the agitating sides in the Terai, PM Koirala expressed hope for a peaceful resolution to all the grievances through talks. Koirala urges Maoists to ‘behave’ before joining government. (more)

Prime Minister Koirala also said the Maoists would be brought into an interim government only when they correct their behavior. Koirala said the Maoists must start behaving according to the agreements signed with the SPA government and return the properties seized by them during the insurgency. He, however, did not give any tentative timeframe for the formation of a Maoist-included cabinet. Koirala’s statement came three days after an ‘understanding’ between the Nepali Congress (NC) and the Maoists to form interim government before March 15. (more)

Other Headlines:

Royalist plot to kill US officials will be clarified soon: Prachanda

POKHARA- Maoist Chairman Prachanda Saturday morning said that the evidence about the “plot to kill US officials by the royal palace” was being collected and that it would be revealed soon.The former rebel chief also said instead of being grateful to him for warning them to remain cautious, the US officials were raising an outcry over his statement to disrupt the ongoing peace process. (more)

>>Before this, the US Embassy in Kathmandu showed it’s concern over Prachanda’s remarks in Pokhara the other day.
>>> Maoists don’t deserve membership in govt if they continue violence: US

12-hour curfew clamped in Nepalgunj; MPRF strike on fifth day

NEPALGUNJ- Following yesterday’s clash between locals and Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) cadres in Nepalgunj, the Banke District Administration Office today extended its curfew orders from 7 am to 7 pm. The local administration had imposed a 13-hour curfew yesterday following the killing of Tula Ram Tripathi, a local from Khajura in the district. At least a dozen people were seriously injured in the clash. (more)

Madhesi Forum, Ignoring the Parliament, Sends Agitation Out of Control

Even if these latest round of protests were part of pressure tactics, they must now be stopped because the parliament has addressed the demands of Madhesi people.

As Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF or MPRF) continues claiming that the movement is going out of its control, violence created by its cadres has significantly grown in some parts of Terai. This escalation in protest comes at a time when the parliament has amended the interim constitution to include the demands made by the recent Madhesi movement. Today’s amendment, first of two phases, was as per the commitment made by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in his address to the nation a few weeks ago.

The amendment aims to determine a federal system as the future model of governance, ensure proportional share to Madhesis, Dalits, ethnic groups, women, laborers, peasants, disabled and people from backward classes and regions in all the state organs and revise the current electoral constituencies. According to amendment, the proposed Constituency Delimitation Commission will revise existing electoral constituencies. The Commission is to be headed by a retired Supreme Court justice which will recommend the number of constituencies to be added in the Terai region based on its proportion of population. In the hilly and mountain districts the increment will be based on the population growth. The bill also proposes amending Article 138 of the interim statute to ensure that future model of the state would be federal.

But in Nepalgunj MJF cadres clash with police, Administration orders 13-hour curfew from 3 PM this afternoon in the Nandalmill-Khajura road stretch and surrounding areas. A clash had broken out between forum cadres and security personnel in Piparwaha in the Nepalgunj-Kohalpur stretch. The scuffle first broke out when the security personnel -deployed to provide security to the vehicles plying on the road -went to remove the obstacles put by the members of the forum in the highway running through Piparwaha. Around 14 persons were injured from both sides in the clash.

According to police, the forum cadres also pelted stones at them while they were trying to clear the road in order to let emergency vehicles like ambulances pass. The police had opened a round of blank fire and used tear gas shells. The forum cadres accused the police of opening fire and also of beating up a local woman. District chairman of the forum Sarvadev Ojha claimed that some unruly forces were trying to make the MPRF movement violent and accused the administration of not being able to maintain security. (more)

Janajati Nepal Banda: Royalists in Charge (and Other Headlines)

Any idea who is Shekhar Gurung? I am sure you do know him. He came to limelight when Gyanendra’s autocracy was in climax. Shekhar Gurung was appointed the Zonal administrator, a post created by the royal regime to strengthen the autocratic hold in the state of affairs, for Bagmati Zone. With the restoration of democracy in April, the likes of Shekhar Gurung went on hiding from public eyes. Not anymore. The agents of regression have made a comeback. Thanks to the pro-democratic, pro-republican Janajatis who provided him a forum today by organizing Nepal Banda, the general strike.

“I was coming to office this afternoon,” said Hari Bahadur Thapa, chief reporter at Kantipur daily. “Some people stopped me near Kupandole and one of them asked for my [press] identity card. I was shocked to see that the person who was demanding my identity was no other than Shekhar Gurung.” Shekhar Gurung inspected Thapa’s ID and told, “Ok, You are from the press. Go.”

I always thought royalists had infiltrated into the agitation in Terai and other parts,” Thapa said. “Today’s incident was yet another solid proof about the royalist involvement in destabilizing the democratic government. This is also a matter of shame for the organizers of today’s Banda that people like Shaker Gurung were openly active in the name of Janajati demands.”

Banda Update: Normal life across nation has been affected today due to Nepal Banda (shutdown) called by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NFIN) to pressurise the government to fulfill its 24-point demands. The bandh was organised demanding ethnic autonomy, federal system, linguistic freedom, proportional representation in the constituent assembly and guarantee of self determination, among others. NFIN, which held talks with the government on 26 Feb, refused to withdraw the bandh despite government requests. NFIN is scheduled to hold the second round of talks on Friday (2 March). (more here)

Developments of the Day:

Bhattarai on Monarchy: Kishna Prasad Bhattarai, a former Prime Minister and former Nepali Congress leader, arises from tumb (many had though that he wasn’t in this world anymore) to defend the ‘powerless monarchy’ in Nepal. We haven’t forgotten that panwalla Bhattarai used to defend the 1990 constitution until recently saying that the statue formulated by his government 17 years ago was “best in the world and there is no need to change a line in it.” Now he thinks going for republic will not be a good idea for the country. Bhattarai, who had returned from pilgrimage to Benaras, India, made those remarks talking to journalists in Bhairahawa this afternoon.

Koirala Health: “Has [Prime Minister] Girija [Prasad Koirala] died?” SMS with these words have been circulating among mobile users in Kathmandu since yesterday and people were tuning in to radios to be sure about the PM’s health situation. We heard that a foreign ambassador contacted to a foreign news agency’s Kathmandu office regarding the news compelling the reporters to make a call to family members of Koirala. “He is absolutely fine now and has shown a lot of signals of improvement,” the family source told a reporter. Then there was one minister who went on public to tell the public latest about Koirala. “I have just now met with him and he appeared fine,” Ramesh Lekhak was heard saying that in Radio Nepal today.

Prime Minister Concerned: Koirala is okay and he is concerned about Maoist arms, says a report. The Prime Minister, during his discussion with the government talks team with the Maoists, today expressed concern over the vast differences between the number of Maoist combatants and the arms registered. Koirala directed the team to make arrangements to declare the arms of the Maoists not registered with the UN as illegal. The UN had registered 30,852 Maoist PLA members and 3,428 arms.

Other headlines of the day

Govt-Maoist discuss interim govt, CA polls
CA election dates will be announced by Thursday: Prachanda

Being Nepali Citizen: Bill Brings Madhesis Joy

nepali citizenship bill brings madhesis joy

Bill brings hope of citizenship: Satyendra Prasad Gupta, 38, (left) of Bara with his mother Sudhamadevi (center), children and younger brother Birendra (right). Pic by Updendra Lamichhane

By Updendra Lamichhane in Nijgadh, Bara

This has become the most controversial bill in recent times and was endorsed by parliament last week with an overwhelming majority. That was first time when a bill was passed with a majority instead of consensus after the restoration of parliament in April. Some people say this bill will endanger Nepali nationalism by giving citizenship to foreigners (read that Indians) where as supporters opine that the bill will grant a chance to those hundreds of thousands of Nepalis who had to live in their own home country without the status of citizen and were deprived of various opportunities because of not having the citizenship certificate. Amidst this debate, implementation of the bill has started (government has decided to speed up the process of formulating regulations) and many in Madhes are celebrating. Here is a report, published in the Kathmandu Post, from Bara: Continue reading

Power and Pajero Corrupt Nepali Leaders

nepali leaders misuse vehicles

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and CPN Maoist Chairman Prachanda are among the leaders misusing government and private vehicles. It seems these leaders have forgotten how democracy was defamed by their corrupt and unlawful acts in the 90s. This is high time they remembered the result created by those acts. Thanks to the press freedom guaranteed by democracy in today’s Nepal, we the people at least know what’s happening around. Here is a report published in today’s Kantipur and translated into English by eKantipur. Sketch by Dewen via Kantipur

By Balram Baniya and Bikash Thapa

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala and CPN-M Chairman Prachanda are among top politicians using government and private vehicles they are not authorized to use to. Top leaders of other political parties and other highly-placed government officials, too, have been making unauthorized use of government vehicles. Sources have disclosed that top officials of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) and other government departments running multiple projects, expecting favour in return from the leaders, encourage them to misuse government and project vehicles. According to sources, soon after Koirala became the prime minister after the success of the April Movement, NEA officials gave him a luxurious Prado with registration number 1602. Continue reading