Nepal Peace Process: Leaders Bargain Inside, Brisk Business (and Intense Debate) Outside

By Dinesh Wagle in Baluwatar (Outside the Prime Minister’s residence)
Wagle Street Journal (All pics by Wagle)

Nepal fifth round summit talks day 2

Mission Republic: Lokraj Pandey, 22, is in a mission to spread the message of democratic republicanism in Nepal.

While leaders inside the official residence of the Prime Minister in Baulwatar were busy in the past two days bargaining on issues that will decide the future of the country, Shankar Chaudhari, 55, was putting pressure on the stove with the same intensity. There were people from the various walks of the life in front of the Gate No. 3 (east) of the PM residence on Monday and Tuesday as the high level talks kicked off. There were people, with wide range of political affiliation, who full of curiosity about everything going inside. There were people, from the civil society, who said they were there to pressurize the talking sides for the declaration of the Constituent Assembly elections. And there were scoop hungry journalists who were desperate for the headlines. While the Gate No. 3 remained closed to all these people, the wide entrance of Shankar’s place was open to all. Shankar not only fed samosa and other eatables to tired reporters who were standing all day expecting information from inside but also got a glimpse of how do they really function.

Nepal fifth round summit talks day 2

And His Cycle: Lokraj Pandey plans to reach all 75 districts with this bicycle, a loudspeaker, thousands of pamphlets and address hundreds of corner and mass meetings.

“So the business is brisk, isn’t it?”

Around 4:30 PM Tuesday, I asked Shankar the above mentioned question as he was busy making and cooking Pakauda in a big black iron pan.

When he saw a reporter with a notebook in hand and flashing camera from the other, Shankar responded as if he was habituated talking to journalists.

“Oh…yes! It’s shining.”

Then he was back to the business. He was making a mixture of onion, green chilly, spinach and beans for pakauda. But I wanted to talk. “I do business of Rs. 4-5 thousands in a normal day,” he said. “Yesterday (Monday) it was Rs. 10 thousands.” So the business was brisk, indeed. A crowd had gathered in front of the PM residence well before 4 PM on Monday and that stayed there till 12 in the midnight, he said. Tuesday saw the resumption of talks from morning and people were there till late night.

Nepal fifth round summit talks day 2

The Samosa Man: Happy with the brisk business in his shop, Shankar Chaudhary has one hidden wish: will his son get citizenship of Nepal?

Who doesn’t know Shankar in Baluwatar? 22 years have passed since he started a small hotel offering samosas and other food items. He hired a room of folk singer Kumar Basnet’s house for about 17 years until the place was converted into a big and attractive shop. Two years ago he moved to the current place, near the Gate No. 3, on the left. Employees of Nepal Rastra Bank, the central Bank, students from three schools in the neighborhood and boys and girls from National College are the regular customers of his shop, Shankar said. These days, as more people are coming to the shop because of the talks inside the PM residence, samosas costing Rs. 6 per piece, Lalmohan and Pakauda have become the bestsellers in Deepak Sweets and Bhojanalaya.

Did you notice the word Deepak in the previous sentence? For Shankar, the importance of the talks is associated with this word. He doesn’t know what they are talking inside the PM residence, but the citizen from Muzzafarabad, a town in Bihar, India, is very much curious to know if leaders will agree on a provision that will let his 21-year-old Kathmandu born son get the citizenship of Nepal. Nepali Congress and CPN Maoists have agreed to put a provision in the Interim Constitution that will make all people born before 2046 eligible for the citizenship of Nepal. CPN UML has disagrees with the provision.

“So you wish your son could get citizenship here?”
“Yes, I think so. But I am not sure if that is possible.”
“Any idea what’s going on inside?”
“Hami ta yaha chha abhi, ke thaha? [No idea as I am here now]”

Nepal fifth round summit talks day 2

Chana chatpate: The best way to kill curiosity about the summit talks is to have beans and popcorns!

Even reporters standing outside don’t have clear idea about what’s going on inside. They are moving here and there expecting that someone would come outside and tell them the latest on the summit talks. Now here is one colorful character on the opposite corner of the Gate No. 3. With long and unwashed hair, the bearded man is presenting weird perspectives about the constituent assembly and summit talks. A curious crowd is attentively listening to him and I can see occasional laughter emerging out of the crowd. He is entertaining the crowd with some sort of live commentary in a comedy channel. “There must be one provision in the interim constitution,” said the man who was carrying a pot with the word ‘Kamandalu’ written over it. “Pahile dhogne, nabhaye thokne.” He was being satirical to leaders who were trying to save monarchy.

There is another colorful character nearby who, it appears, is giving political lectures to the crowd that is surrounding him. He is also bearded and seems like he hasn’t taken shower in the past several weeks. He is wearing a helmet with a slogan (“Election of Constituent Assembly For the Democratic Republicanism”) and photos of all martyrs of April uprising printed on it. He is Lokraj Pandey, 22, who is in a mission: to take the slogan to all 75 districts of Nepal before the election of the constituent assembly. He claimed to have addressed 217 corner meetings in various places and campuses in the 46 districts after he started his journey in bicycle 54 days ago from his hometown Kailali. This cadre of Nepal Student Union, sister organization of Nepali Congress, strongly disagrees with his leader Girija Prasad Koirala on the issue of continuing monarchy in Nepal. “If these talks fail to decide in the interest of people and go for democratic republicanism,” he warned, “I have found many youths ready to launch another movement.”

Nepal fifth round summit talks day 2
FM bulletin: We are here, where the news is happening, but oh…FM radios, will you tell us something divine on the summit talks inside those walls heavily guarded by the police?

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19 thoughts on “Nepal Peace Process: Leaders Bargain Inside, Brisk Business (and Intense Debate) Outside”

  1. Its so shameful that its all about Bargaining.

    More than 7,000 ordinary citizens got killed and many more got injured due to bloody war of Maoists and now all they seem want to do is bargain for more power.

    Was the multiparty democracy and ceremonial monarchy so grave that Maoists had to start their violent movement? I really wonder. So, what have Maoists achieved now? What change can ordinary Nepalese expect?

    Well…..nothing. Just a plot to get more power.

    This is Nepal. Nobody is held accountable for their deeds.

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  2. If Girija agrees whatever prachanda says, then nepal will move towards becoming North Korea and Cuba.If we become like that is good because they have the growth rate of more than 9 percent per year. So Chinese are in reality not communists only their leaders pretend to be communists.What I am thinking is that the maoists will go fading out within two years. But that entirely depends on the so called democratic parties and leaders of today.How they can outmanouvre the maoists politically. After the signing of Peace Accord, the democratic parties should launch a “BAICHARIK YUDDHA” nationwide against the Maoists. They must tell the people in clear terms that the Maoists were wrong in their ideology of killing the people and they do not have any agenda for economic development of the country.Other important thing is that they should not indulge in corruption themselves. But this may be like “BHALU LAI PURAAN SUNAUNU JASTO”.They will not stop involving themselves in corruption otherwise they cannot run their party and benefit their AASE PAASE.

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  3. If this is “democracy” at it’s best, why aren’e people in the loop? Why is it so difficult to get any information? I thought that these negotiations were/are the most important thing that we’ve faced since the inception of the nation of Nepal? The discussions should have been broadcast live on TV and radio, only the would we have got some honest bargaining….

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  4. Hey Guys: finally the spa and the maoists reached to an agreement. they signed a 15pt agreement at around 1am (mid night guys!).

    hurrah!!

    wish you all the best.

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  5. KATHMANDU (AFP) – Nepal’s rebel Maoists will take their place in government, negotiators said, after a landmark peace deal to end a 10-year insurgency.
    An interim government will be formed by the beginning of December, negotiators said in the early hours of Wednesday morning, after a breakthrough in the country’s six-month-old peace process.
    A government negotiator told reporters that the deal “has opened the doors to build a new Nepal.”
    “The seven parties and Maoists have reached a historic deal to end the 10-year-old insurgency peacefully,” Ram Chandra Poudel, a government negotiator, told reporters outside the talks venue, after a marathon 16-hour session.
    The rebel Maoists shared Poudel’s assessment of the breakthrough.
    “Our party sees this as a historic agreement. With this agreement Nepal has entered into a new era,” Ananta, the deputy commander of the Maoist People’s Liberation Army told AFP by telephone.
    “The current parliament and National Assembly will be dissolved and an interim parliament will be formed by November 26. The interim government including the Maoists will be formed by December 1,” Hridayesh Tripathi, minister of commerce, told AFP.
    The new government will contain 330 seats, with the Nepali Congress party, Nepal’s largest, being given 75 seats. Seventy-three seats will be given to both the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), the country’s second largest party, and the rebels, Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula told journalists.
    The rest of the seats would be divided between the five other parties in the ruling multi-party government.
    The rebel army would be contained in camps under UN supervision before the end of November, the home minister said.
    “The weapons of the Maoists will be locked up and a similar amount of Nepal Army weapons will also be locked up,” Sitaula told journalists.
    The rebels already control large swathes of the countryside, and the parallel government structures they have established will be dissolved, the home minister said.
    “Once the interim constitution comes into effect (on November 26) the parallel government run by the Maoists will come to an end,” the home minister said.
    The fate of the monarchy will be decided at the first meeting after elections to a body that will rewrite Nepal’s constitution permanently, said Ram Chandra Poudel, a negotiator from the Nepali Congress party.
    The breakthrough came after the marathon session of negotiations between Maoists and political leaders that began Tuesday morning.
    Negotiators had expected such a breakthrough this week in Nepal’s protracted peace process after the Maoists agreed at the weekend to lock up their weapons and place them under

    United Nations supervision.
    The disarming of the rebels had been a sticking point in the peace process aimed at ending a bloody conflict that has claimed at least 12,500 lives in Nepal since 1996.
    The multi-party government came to power in April after mass protests forced King Gyanendra to end direct rule.
    Since declaring a ceasefire in May, the government and rebels have held two rounds of high-level peace talks.
    In June, the government and the Maoists agreed to hold elections to a constituent assembly to rewrite the country’s basic law, meeting a key rebel demand.
    The two sides also agreed five months ago to form an interim parliament that would bring the Maoists into the country’s political mainstream.
    This is the third time the two sides have tried to hammer out a peace deal. Two previous attempts, in 2001 and in 2003, both failed, plunging the country back into conflict.

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  6. ??? ?? ? ?????????? ?? ??????? ? ??? ????? ????????? ????????? ???? ?? ????? ?????? ?? ????????????? ?????? ????????? ????????? ????? ?? ??????? ??? ? ?? ??????? ??? ?????? ?????? ? ?????????? ??????? ???? ?????????? ?????????? ?????? ? ? ???? ??? ??????? ??????? ???? ???? ????? ????? ??????? ???? ????? ????? ??

    ? ??????? ??? ??????? ??????? ???????? ??? ???? ?? ??????? ?????????? ??? ???? ????? ????? ??? ??? ????????? ????????? ??????? ?? ? ??????? ????????? ??? ?????? ?????? ??????? ?? ????? ???????????? ???? ?? ???? ??????? ??????? ?????????? ?????? ??????????? ??, ????? ????? ? ??????? ??-??, ?????? ????????? ?????????????? ?? ? ???? ???? ???? ?? ???????????? ???? ?? ??? ?????? ???????????? ?????? ??????? ??? ????????? ????? ?????? ???????????? ?????? ??

    ??????? ????? ??? ?????? ???? ?? ???? ????? ???? ?? ?????? ??????? ????? ???? ??????? ???????? ??????? ??? ??????????? ?????? ??????? ????? ????? ??????? ?????? ????? ????? ?????? ?????????? ????? ??????? ????? ????? ???????? ????? ‘??? ?? ???????’ ?????? ??

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  7. there is a double blow to the royalist buggers: the comprehensive peace agreement in Nepal with the maoists. And to add wound to injury, bush’s party is going to loose in today’s election. well, bush ka chelas, what do you do now? drink, drink and drink in pain.

    well, i’m also drinking, my wine. cheers!

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  8. there is a double blow to the royalist buggers: the comprehensive peace agreement in Nepal with the maoists. And to add wound to injury, bush’s party is going to loose in today’s election. well, bush ka chelas, what do you do now? drink, drink and drink in agony, in pain, in frustration.

    well, i’m also drinking, my wine. cheers!

    Like

  9. points of agreement: unofficial translation

    1. by mangsir 15 interim constitution will be promulgated. both the house will be dissolved. interim govt will be formed

    2. by kartik 30 comprehensive peace accord will be signed.

    3. by mangsir 5 maoists’ army will be put in selected camps.

    4 interim legislature will have 330 members. both mps from lower and upper house will be the member of this new legislature but those ‘pratigaman ka matiyars’ wont find a place in this. maoists will have 73 mps and the rest 48 goes to others.

    5 the fate of monarchy will be decided by the first meetin of CA.

    6 mixed electoral system will be adopted as against the current first past the post system.

    7 those who are 18 or above are eligible to vote.

    8 constitutional court will be formed.

    9 the past agreements/code of conducts are to be implemented.

    10 high level commission will be set to find the whereabouts of the disapperead ones during the insurgency.

    11 the forcibly captured belongings will be returned and the provision of the forcibly displaced will be able to go to their respective places, such an arrangement will be in place. for this committees will be formed having representatives from both sides. will be resolved in a month.

    12 the tags, alegations, aarops will be revoked. political prisoners will be released (of both sides).

    13 as per the agreement reached earlier the maoists armed personnel will be confined in temporary camps, the un would invovle in monitoring and verification process.

    14. the maoists army camps will be in palpa, kailali, surkhet, sindhuli, rolpa, ilam, kabhre. and three each separate secondary camps near to these places.

    15 after maoists are confined to camp, except for the arms required to vigil the store rest will be deposited in the store and only one lock will be used and the key will be with the maoists. but the un would monitor these sites, also install siren camera. rest technical details will be decided upon later.

    16 after the army is confined, their logistics (food etc) will be taken care of by the govt. after new interim govt is formed, a commission or task force would be formed to decide the possible merge or other options.

    17 the maoists leaders’ security is to be decided in agreement with the govt.

    18 nepali army will be confined in their respective camps and it will be made sure that the arms etc will not be used against any party. same amount of arms will be stored. same process would follow as with the maoist army.

    19. the nepali army mobilization would be done according to the new army act by the govt.

    20 the new govt will decide further democratization and etc after rigorous consultations, discussions.

    21. the interim constitution will be completed as per the agreement reached and the reinstated parliament will table it whereas the new interim legislature will ratify it.

    22 there will be no any right given to monarchy. the sampati of birendra and his family will be put in a trust.

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  10. We need to end this monarchy, to have even a powerless head of state, claiming crediot for all the good democarcy and equality canm do for Nepal, would be gaulling enough, considering he killed and massacred the people for democracy, but in reality the kings will be a destablising, and anti democratic machiavellian, force, opposed to democracy, we must be tough and abolish these enemies of the people, and replace them, with a elected head of state for all the people, not claiming all Nepalis are his subjects to torture and kill at his evil will, down with king gyne, the dracula of Nepali politics, leaving him as head of state, would be like seeing a tiger in a farm, and saying that tiger which is approaching my livestock will look after my animals, i will just go now, we need a real republic, a free nation, a equal free nation, where we are not subjects, of evil sickos, but equals,

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  11. helicopter arsehole and pyare arsehole, suck my balls u loosers, shiver n shiver, while we celebrate for new, proporous and everlasting peace in nepal n participate for the rapid progress of the nation. u can wipe bush’s arse, anyway he is also fading away from american politics, in ur face suckers…..

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  12. katai chatpati ta katai pakaudako photo:) bloggerle kam pae, camera bokyo ani moj garyo hain ta:) tar sahamati bhaekole ma bhane khusi chhu tar chitwanka manchhelai patakkai chaso chhain:)

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  13. Helicopter has a point though. The Maoists did kill, and now we are giving them power. The Army also killed, but we’re going to lock it up, have the soldiers confined to their barracks, so in that sense it doesn’t seem fair.

    But the reality is that Nepal is a very, very poor country that simply can’t years of fighting. This is a very practical arrangement. Nepal needs economic development first of all, no matter who’s in power. Then we can wonder about who the leaders are.

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  14. Yala,
    You just showed your culture and your political tradition man.

    Thats how Maoists behave, you just proved me right.

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  15. I personally dont like Gyanenendra, but I want aruge about the harsh labels that have been put on him.

    First of all, Gyanendra was a businessman before, he had all the money n life one could imagine before he was a king. Why would he take the load of a country that is full of problems when he was already all set? It never benefitted him..only added to his problems. People talk about Gyanendra as if they know him personally, and blame him for being a dictator and a power hungry dog….Gyanendra isnt stupid..i dont think he would trade his good life for a responsibility that he didnt need…

    On the contrary moaists are hungry for power. They need it since most of them didnt have anything to live on.

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