Nepal Budget : Finance Minister in Catch-22 Situation

Finance Minister needs divine intervention to activate the slackened economy and find requisite resources to finance his ‘rural-centric’ and path-breaking’ budget.

By Chattra Bahadur
An Analysis. UWB received this article in email.

Whereas the rest of the SPA (Seven Party Alliance) are jubilant of the victory over the ‘autocratic’ and ‘repressive’ royal regime, Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat must be burning midnight oil trying to figure the way out of the mess that he finds himself in. He had chosen easy way earlier and placed blame on the previous regime for the current economic mess by issuing ‘white paper’ on the condition of the Nepalese economy as soon as he became the finance minister. However, he may soon run out of options to pass the buck and absolve himself of any responsibility. Continue reading Nepal Budget : Finance Minister in Catch-22 Situation

Royal Officials in Probe Commission: King Gyanendra Should Explain

King Gyanendra should use the forum of High Level Probe Commission to explain Nepali people why he did what he did in 2002 and 2005 and how he failed to do what he wanted to do.

We don’t know what exactly Dr. Tulsi Giri told the High Level Probe Commission (HLPC) Tuesday (June 27) but anyone can guess from what he uttered in front curious journalists after the interrogation: “I did not kill anyone. No, I did not.” Okay, he didn’t pull the trigger but people died. 21 people died in Janaandolan II. When those people were dying, Giri was assisting king Gyanendra to ‘run’ the country (Dr. Giri was vice-chairman in the king’s cabinet formed after the royal takeover of Feb 1, 2005). Continue reading Royal Officials in Probe Commission: King Gyanendra Should Explain

While My Village Gently Weeps: Story of an Internally Displaced Citizen of Nepal

By Dinesh Wagle in Duragaun (Ramechhap)
Wagle Street Journal

[This is the extended version of Wagle’s reporting that was originally published on the front page of Kantipur daily on Sunday June 25. Kantipur wrote editorial on the same topic the next day.]

From the unlocking ceremony of Internally Displaced Citizen Toyanath Poudel house
Toyanath Poudel inspects the lock put up by the Maoists on his house All pics by Wagle

As the Nepalese government and the Maoist rebels are observing mutual ceasefire and holding peace parleys aiming to end a decade long bloody war in the country, thousands of general Nepali citizens have started returning to their villages to claim their homes and lands that are locked and captured by the rebels for years. Last week, I was in my home village Duragaun (where I was born and raised for about a decade) for the first time in the last seven years and witnessed a rare scene: Maoists were organizing an “unlocking ceremony” in a house of a displaced citizen. Continue reading While My Village Gently Weeps: Story of an Internally Displaced Citizen of Nepal

Batsyayana and His Cartoons: Now in a Book

The book Batsyayana and His Barbs: A Cartoonist’s Take on Post-1990 Nepal will be available online on UWB for sale. (read more about the book below)

Buddham Sharanam Gachhami

Prachanda: O Buddha! I take refuge in thee
Guerillas: O Buddha

Cartoon by Batsyayana via (the front page of) Kantipur (Monday, June 26, 2006).

Batsyayana is Nepal’s foremost cartoonist both in terms of the content of his works and its quality. Over four decades he has charmed his readers with irrepressible wit and humor. And by unflinchingly and persistently drawing cartoons against corruption, bad governance, government censorship, untouchability, violation of human rights, extra-judicial excesses and in favor of freedom of press, he has helped further the most vibrant civil democratic discourse in Nepal. Continue reading Batsyayana and His Cartoons: Now in a Book

Misadventure of Bharat Keshar and Heroic Policing of Timilsina

For the record: For latest on this case, see inside

Abhushan Timilsina Arresting Bharat Keshar Singh

Isn’t this a historical photo? YES. This is what is called democracy perhaps. Police Inspector Abhushan Timilsina drags a brat royal honorary ADC (on June 20) who thought he could do anything he wished on the streets of Kathmandu. This was very much needed to tame these raja sahebs.Pic by Narendra Shrestha via Kantipur

Quote of the Year

“If you can handcuff a person who has become the prime minister of this country twice, why can’t you do the same to [people like] Bharat Keshar? The situation wasn’t such that police could disperse the crowd by charging lathis and firing shots. If we had done so, 15-20 people would have been killed and Hotal Malla would have been burnt to ashes.”

Police Inspector Abhushan Timilsina

This country needs brave and bold police officers like Abhushan Timilsina who brilliantly decided to implement the law without keeping in mind the culprits haisiyet and background. Under pressure from the fading royalist power, big heads of police force summoned Timilsina and interrogated as to why he didn’t reach the venue on time and couldn’t control the situation. Valley DIG Deepak Thangden and Kathmandu Police Office SP Dhak Bahadur Karki interrogated Inspector Timilsina on June 21. Timilsina said that he handcuffed Bharat Keshar Singh and his sons [former Majors of Nepal Army Ajay and Ananta] as they were trying to destabilize peace in the society by taking law into their own hands. Continue reading Misadventure of Bharat Keshar and Heroic Policing of Timilsina

Comparing Notes: Nepal One Year Later

An American writes his experience of having close encounter with the Nepali Maoist comrades in a remote village

Maoist graffiti in a village in Myagdi district Left: “Up with Republic of Nepal: CPN Maoist.” Right: “Down with Killer Gyanendra.: CPN Maoist”/ “Whoever deletes this slogan will die.”

By Neil Horning in Pokhara (West Nepal)

There is a psychological effect WWII veterans often describe to their therapists. When they were at war everything felt real. Their following life is a mere shadow of that time. Events in their normal lives blend together, but they remember every thing from the war as if it had happened the day before. This effect is also caused by Nepal. I have no idea what I did for the past year. You can test me, I really don’t remember. But I can describe everything that happened to me for the two months I was in this country last year as if the intervening year hadn’t happened. It is still really quite incredible what this country does to someone. It is hard to describe. When you get back home people ask “how was Nepal?” The answer is invariably “It was amazing, it changed my life.” The tricky part is when they follow up with “How?” Well, that’s a hard question to answer, even to oneself. In order to get an answer I’ve been going over my notes from last year. Continue reading Comparing Notes: Nepal One Year Later

Understanding Nepalese Politics: Playing the Game of Peace

The Maoists have adopted a simple strategy and are exploiting the current situation to the hilt.

By Chattra Bahadur
UWB received this article in email

The great ‘peace-ball’ has finally started rolling with the declaration of the 8-point understanding between the SPA and the Maoist leadership before the Prime Minister flew to Bangkok for medical check-up and treatment. The immediate outcome of this declaration was a formation of a committee to draft the Interim Constitution with a time-limit of 15 days. The Interim Constitution is to pave way for the Maoists to join the Interim government to hold elections to the Constituent Assembly. Secondly, the 8-point agreement also accommodated the long-standing Maoists’ demand to dissolve the reinstated Parliament after promulgation of the Interim Constitution and formation of the Interim government; in return, the Maoists agreed to dissolve the People’s government (Jana Sarkar). Though the media had reported that the government will be requesting the UN for its assistance in decommissioning arms, the 8-point agreement has not thrown much light in the issue of arms management. Continue reading Understanding Nepalese Politics: Playing the Game of Peace

No Farewell to Arms?

By Deepak Adhikari

Wednesday saw contradictory statements (aired by BBC Nepali Service) by top-notch negotiating leaders of ongoing dialogue (or is it over?). Though, the committees headed by Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara and Home Minister Krishna Sitaula looks irrelevant after summit level talks between Prachanda and the Prime Minister, they made two different statements that are likely to jeopardize the peace process.

When Will This End? Maoist guerillas with their guns in Kailali. Pic by Dinesh Wagle

Krishna Sitaula remarked that Maoists can not participate in interim government unless they allow UN body to monitor their arms. Krishna Bahadur Mahara said that they could not do so before the election of Constituent Assembly. This seems to be the crux of the problem.

Observers believed that April Uprising would sow the seeds of political reconciliation and would result in a peaceful dawn. But as the ongoing dialogues and close-door agreement appear hazy, the peace process has become stagnant. The issue of management of Maoist’s arms has become the intriguing aspect of dialogue now. Given that their power lies in the barrel of the guns, Maoists unwillingness to withdraw arms until the CA election may result in yet another stalemate.

April’s mass protest was hailed as exemplary and extra-ordinary from around the world. But, ironically, a rebel force joining the government is likely to turn out as another uniqueness Nepal is giving to the world. Nowhere in the world does a rebel force agree to participate in the government while their guerillas still carry guns. This way, Maoists have been both the part of problem-solving and the problem itself.

Is a government with parallel armed force possible? Furthermore, Maoists were wary about House of Representative declaring one after another groundbreaking changes. This was unbearable for a force that clams to be ultra radical.

Prachanda, dressed in grey trouser and shirt in June 16, invoked Lord Buddha in his first public rendezvous with media persons. But, he failed to realize that his cadres have not ceased gun-wielding, killings and exhortations. Prachanda and his cohorts are responsible for bizarre rule in remote villages. Coincidently, Prachanda’s neatly combed and gelled hair is targeted to appeal to urban middle class Nepali who have been distancing themselves from Maoists.

‘Govt can feed Maoists during UN monitoring’


POKHARA, June 21 – Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said here Wednesday that the government can bear the expenses of the Maoist army during arms monitoring by the United Nations.
“We are preparing to send a request to the UN for arms monitoring,” said Sitaula, adding, “After that, government can consider feeding the Maoists in barracks.”

Sitaula also said that Nepali Congress is yet to decide on the future of monarchy and that monarchy is ceremonial at the moment.

Pointing out that political parties are yet to make public their agendas for constituent assembly elections, he said Nepali Congress would make public its agenda after dates for elections are announced.

When NC workers of Kaski expressed dissatisfaction over Prime Minister Koirala’s recent remarks on monarchy, Sitaula said Koirala was only mentioning the current status of the King, and that ceremonial monarchy is not NC’s agenda for constituent assembly elections.

“We are yet to discuss monarchy, restructuring of state, inclusive democracy as well as economic and social progress,” he said. “All these agendas will be clear by the time dates of constituent assembly elections are announced.”

On why Nepali Army personnel are still stationed at check posts, Sitaula said that the understanding is not to allow army to appear armed in public places. He added the matter would be sorted out through UN monitoring. When reminded that the sides to negotiation have agreed not to demonstrate arms in public, he said that is in the process of being implemented.

He also said that government would not spare Nepali Army personnel and officials found guilty by the High Level Commission, of suppressing the people’s movement.

When prodded whether action would be initiated against the King, Sitaula said, “We will take action against everyone based on the commission’s report.”

After the June 16 agreement, Prachanda disclosed that interim government with Maoist involvement will be formed within a month. UN has shown eagerness to monitor the weapons. But, the government’s delay to send letter to UN, UN’s lengthy process of decision making is not taken into account by both sides. Both SPA government and Maoists are working without adequate homework. A mere appearance in PM’s quarter doesn’t guarantee peace that the Nepalis are desperately longing for.

Eight Point Something

Maoist Maneuver of June 16

UWB received this article by Jabarjast who has not revealed his identity but beautifully pointed out few shortcomings of eight-point agreement between SPA government and Maoists on June 16.

(Pic via Kantipur)

Last week, the Maoist strongmen, Pushpa Dahal and Baburam Bhattarai, emerged triumphantly from daylong negotiations with SPA leaders. An 8-point agreement was declared that effectively placed a stamp of approval on 12 years of methodical murder, political cleansing and intolerance for anything that remotely resembles western-style, liberal democracy. Continue reading Eight Point Something

Prachanda In Baluwataar, Parleys Peace With Prime Minister

Finally, Prachanda, the Maoist supreme leader, is in Kathmandu is holding talks with Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in the latter’s official residence in Baluwataar. A large group of journalists is curiously waiting outisde the residence. Dr Baburam Bhattarai, second to Prachanda in the party hirerarchy, is also present in the meeting. Since both sides (government and the Maoists) have agreed in principle on holding the election of constituent assembly, it is widely believed that they are talking on the process to reach there: formulating an interim constitution and an interim government. This is the first time in the history of a decade long Maoist “peoples’ war” that their supreme leader has come to the talks table. People are extremely hopeful yet a bit skeptic about the success of the ‘Peace Summit’ considering the procedural difference between the two sides. Continue reading Prachanda In Baluwataar, Parleys Peace With Prime Minister