New Darshan Bhet In Town: Prachanda Visits Indian Embassy

Plus: American ambassador returns from New Delhi trip

So the news of the day is pretty much surprising. Not so surprising perhaps. Prachanda, the leader of the Maoist ‘revolution’ in Nepal, went to see the Indian ambassador in Lainchaur. Reactions given to media by Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, second in command after Prachanda, are also interesting. According to Dr. Bhattarai, the ambassador told the Maoist leaders: ‘[The peace process] is your internal matter. We have nothing to say except that we are always eager to help” Nepal in its bid to establish peace in society. Ha, ha. It’s actually waste of words to talk about the Indian intervention in Nepali politics. We all know where Prachanda operated his movement against feudal force of Nepal. And here Dr. Bhattarai claims that Indian ambassador feels whatever happening in Npela is ‘it’s interal matter.’

A few months ago Dr. Baburam Bhattarai had met the Indian envoy. Some observers in Kathmandu were a bit surprised about how Prachanda maintained protocol! Yes, that’s not an important issue but it would have been better, same folks believe, if the meeting was held in location other than the Indian embassy itself. We have seen ambassadors, most recently James F Moriarty of America, visiting CPN UML General Secretary in the Balkhu headquarters of UML. Talking about Moriarity, the American envoy returned to Kathmandu today visiting New Delhi and, news reports say, discussing Nepal peace process with Indian leadership. There are no details of this visit but it has already been publicized that both India and the US want Maoists to be ‘disarmed’ before the rebels join an interim government that will hold the election of Constituent Assembly.

Just in case if you have forgotten, Maoists are still ‘terrorists’ for the Indian government and it will be interesting to see how India will react, officially that is, when Prachanda goes New Delhi to address Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in November. Leave that for future. What happened in today’s darshan bhet (audience)? We are not told what the Maoists duo ‘briefed’ the Indian ambassador today but we know about the assurance they got from Shiv Shankar Mukharjee: Maoist leader CP Gajurel ‘Gaurav’, who is in a jail in Chennai, southern India, will be released soon.

Nepal Peace Process: Breakthrough On Arms Issue, UML Has New Stands

Update (Nov 5) Maoist Chairman Prachanda today hinted that his party has reached an agreement with the government on the modality of arms management. According to Prachanda, the agreement is that the Maoist arms will be kept and locked in (at a place decided by the Maoists) with a UN seal and keys under Maoist control. Touching the lock would set an alarm bell in the UN office, Lalitpur. Same amount of arms of the government army under the same system. After revealing this info to reporter in Pokhara this afternoon, Prachanda flew to Kathmandu to meet Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala in Baluwataar where UN special envoy Ian Martin already inside. Prime Minister Koirala hasn’t confirmed what Prachanda told reporters but a high level meeting is scheduled for 4 PM Monday (Nov. 6). Prachanda also said that the issue of monarchy will be decided in the Constituent Assembly.

Original Post:

Arms Management Formula

1. All of the rebels’ weapons will be stored and locked up in the respective cantonments where the combatants are cantoned before the Maoists join the interim government.

2. The Maoist leadership will keep the keys to the stores.

3. The UN will install fixed cameras to monitor the storage and will have the right to make inspections whenever it desires.

By Ameet Dhakal

KATHMANDU, Oct 31 – The government and the Maoists have made a breakthrough on the issue of arms management. “A breakthrough acceptable to the government, the Maoists and also the international community has been reached,” said a leader involved in the negotiations. According to the understanding, all of the rebels’ weapons will be stored and locked up in the respective cantonments where the combatants are cantoned, before the Maoists join the interim government. The Maoist leadership will keep the keys to the stores. But the UN will install fixed cameras to monitor the storage and will have the right to make inspections whenever it desires.

But Emale playing villain?

Meanwhile, Balaram Baniya and Rajendra Phuyal report in Kantipur newspaper that the CPN UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal has put forward three different stands regarding three most important issues (citizenship, referendum and CA election) in his meeting with Prime Minister Koirala yesterday. Nepali Congress, the newspaper writes, has expressed concerns over latest UML stands alleging the second largest party in the governing alliance of trying to create problem in the peace process. UML’s stands come at a time when all parties have almost reached consensus on major issues. UML stands are following:

1. The voting list of the referendum of 2037 BS should be the basis of distributing citizenship. [A bill with the provision of providing citizenship to all people born before or in 2046 is under consideration in the parliament. Earlier, UML agreed on the bill. When the cabinet passed the bill, no UML ministers raised voice against that.]

2. A referendum must be held to decide the fate of monarchy. [The summit talks on Bhadra 24 had decided that the first meeting of the CA would decide the fate of monarchy: to continue it or not. Nepali Congres is strictly against the referendum arguing that going for voting will give opportunity for the king to play the game. Even Maoists are now against the referendum saying that April Uprising was the biggest referendum in which people expressed their vote against monarchy. The party thinks that to have voting again on the same issue will be ‘regressive’.]

3. The whole country must be taken as one constituency and proportionate voting procedure must be opted. UML thinks that with this procedure, the agendas of parties will get importance than the individual contestants. This will, UML thinks, will strengthen political parties’ representation in CA. [Parties in the last summit had almost agreed on holding elections via mixed voting method. That means 205 (out of 425) members will be elected from current constituencies and parties will nominate other 204 in proportion to the popular vote they get. The Prime Minister will nominate the remaining 16 members.]

The deal also has an element of reciprocity: Equal number of weapons belonging to the Nepali Army will be stored and locked up at the barracks and the UN will inspect these as well. Until the constituent assembly elections takes place, both the Maoist combatants and Nepali Army personnel will be confined within their respective cantonments and barracks. Continue reading Nepal Peace Process: Breakthrough On Arms Issue, UML Has New Stands

Constituent Assembly in Nepal

Counter Punch: Election for the Constituent Assembly is totally wasteful exercise of the government. What SPA government needs to do is to hold election for all of the members of the House as early as possible.

By Shree Shrestha in Madison, Wisconsin
UWB received this article in email [Articles are welcome!]

It looks like Seven Party Alliance (SPA) government under Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala decided to have election for Constituent Assembly. According to the news story Constituent Assembly will have 425 members. Only 205 members out of 425 will be elected by the people. Since they do not trust the people that they will elect right kind of representatives 204 members will be nominated by the political parties and 16 members will be nominated by the Prime Minister. The Constituent Assembly will also function as the legislature for about two years until full fledged parliamentary elections takes place. Continue reading Constituent Assembly in Nepal

Changing Life Of A Nepali Village: Story from Nar

By Dinesh Wagle in Nar (Manang)
Wagle Street Journal (Saturday Blog) [Dinesh Wagle has started posting his Nar Phu Diary in Wagle Street Journal]

Encountering the people featured in a 25-year-old book that details the life and time of two of the remotest villages of Nepal All pics by Wagle. More pics will be added tomorrow

Pema Bhutti

Pema Bhutti with the book published 25 years ago that features her on the cover

On a recent afternoon Pema Bhutti, with her husband on the front, was having rice with yak milk on a ceramic plate in a kitchen cum chat room that could be reached via a single and slender wooden ladder that begins from the top of the stony building. Behind her on the wooden furniture, steel utensils and the colorful thermos containing briny tea are placed carefully. The mild fire burning in the ageno between them is preventing the cold that is trying to get intensified at the beginning of October. Continue reading Changing Life Of A Nepali Village: Story from Nar

Bargaining Chips On The Upcoming Nepal Peace Summit

The issue of monarchy will be the most crucial in this week’s peace summit. Referendum will be the wisest choice

By Prakash Bom in Queens, New York

Whatever political agendas are there on the table of the Peace Summit for SPA and Maoists to negotiate, it is obvious that the gridlock has been entangled on one fundamental issue– establishment of the republic nation and the abolition of the prospect of the ceremonial monarchy. Before we make this choice decisive we must also contemplate on the legacy of two hundred fifty years old institution of the monarchy – not from the communist point of view, but honestly from the basic human rights protection and questions of the civil liberty.

We must also authentically see the reality of the twenty first century’s practice of democracy that aims to guarantee the civil liberty and complies with the protections of the basic human rights of civic society by the rule of law. The history of the institution of the monarchy has been regressive to these developments for Nepal and Nepali people. These conclusions are based on historical facts, but not on the arbitrary criticism predisposed with certain political ideology, personal or ethnic revulsion. Continue reading Bargaining Chips On The Upcoming Nepal Peace Summit

General Lunch: Nepal Army Cheif In Jawan Bhanchha

But Is This General Serious To Uplift the Situation of Soldiers in Nepali Army or These Photos Are Part Of His Publicity Stunts?

Nepali Army Jawan Bhanchha
Gyanendra Serves His Boss: Chief Of the Aarmy Staff General Rookmangad Katawal being served his lunch by Sipahi Gyanendra Karki and Sipahi Mansing Nepali at the NCO’s Mess (Jawan Bhanchha), Army HQ, last week.

By Dinesh Wagle
Photos and captions provided by Nepali Army DPR

In the last several days, just like at the time of conflict when the army was involved in fighting with the Maoists, we have been receiving press releases from the Directorate of the Public Relations (DPR) of the Nepali Army in our inbox along with many pictures that depict the visit of different barracks around the country by the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Rookmangad Katawal. But the pictures are focused on showing only one aspect of the visit: that General Katawal is having lunch with soldiers in the Soldiers’ Mess. These visits have been described as the first of these kinds by the army. On the 5th and 6th of Kartik, General Katawal visited the barracks in Morang, Jhapa, Ilam, Panchthar, Bhojpur, Taplejung, Sankhuwasabha, Terathum, and Sunsari districts. “This is the first time a COAS has visited soldiers in remote army barracks and security base on the occasion of Dipawali,” a release issued by the DPR states. Continue reading General Lunch: Nepal Army Cheif In Jawan Bhanchha

Nepal Peace Process: Maoists- Nepali Congress Agree on 95 Percent Political Issues

Confidence over arms mgmt growing

By Ameet Dhakal
News Editor, the Kathmandu Post

KATHMANDU, Oct 27 – Nepali Congress (NC) and Maoist leaders are busy giving the finishing touches to political agreements reached and are narrowing their differences over the issue of arms management. The NC and Maoists leaders held a crucial meeting Wednesday to sharpen their understandings on political issues reached during the last summit talks. One political leader involved in the meeting said they have reached agreement on almost 95 percent of the political issues and have even documented this. Continue reading Nepal Peace Process: Maoists- Nepali Congress Agree on 95 Percent Political Issues

Reason For Rejecting The Front Proposal

An article by Kantipur editor Narayan Wagle that talks about why Nepali Congress, mainly its leader and Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, has rejected the proposal for a Front to promote pro-republican issues in Nepal. Title: ???????? ???????? ????????? ????

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??????? ????? ???????? ??? ?????? ?????????????? ?????? ??????????? ????????? ??? ??????? ????, ???? ????????? ????????? ???????? ????? ??? ? ????? ??? ???? ????????????? ????????? ??? ?????? ???????????? ???? ???????? ????? ??? ? ????????????? ????????? ??? ?????? ????????? ?????????? ??????? ????????????? ????, ????? ???? ??? ??? ????? ?????? ??? ???? ????? ???????? ?????????? ??? ???????? ????? ??? ? ?? ???????? ??????????? ???? ???????? ? ?????? ?????????? ???? ????? ???? ????? ???? ??????? ???? ? ? Continue reading Reason For Rejecting The Front Proposal

Tired of Arrogance, People Rise Up Against Maoists

In their bid to prove the presence of their ‘government’ Maoists are doing everything that they can do in the time of peace: from ‘arresting’ gundas and hooligans in the capital city to stopping people from playing cards in villages. We all know they are in the process of bargaining in the peace talks and they need to continue demonstrating their power and influences. But it seems people do not like all of their activities, especially those in which Maoists seem to be intervening personal rights of the citizens. The recent arrests of ‘criminals’ in the valley was widely appreciated but the in Sarlahi and Jhapa when the comrades intervened in Deusi and other activities, they faced stiff resistance from locals. Enough is enough, people decided to act against the comrades. Continue reading Tired of Arrogance, People Rise Up Against Maoists

Stale Coffee and Misplaced Optimism in Nepal

What will happen to a community, say Limbu, residing in Magarat? Will that community have to leave Magarat and settle down in Limbuwan?

By Chattra Bahadur

It is rather unfortunate to see that neo-libertarians cannot withstand any form of criticism, especially when anyone points at current follies prevailing in Nepal in name of janabhawana. It resembles as if they have proclaimed themselves as the only defenders-of-liberty. They promptly label others (who criticize or deviate from their conception) as undemocratic and feudal. Moreover, it is tragic when they equate alternate perception being irrational and illogical, and being a vestige of the feudalistic and regressive mindset. The behavior of neo-libertarians often suggests ‘their-way-or-no-way’ mentality which is against the principle of democracy they aver about. Trying to silence dissident voices and smearing any person or any idea that does not match with own perception is not known democratic virtue. Continue reading Stale Coffee and Misplaced Optimism in Nepal