Saturday, March 12, 2005

Dinesh Prasain, Condi Rice, and the Indian Parliament

Hello Dinesh.

On Condi Rice, my suggestion would be to get with the US Embassy in Delhi as soon as possible, because once the her schedule is set tight, it might be hard to change it. If you all can get all the exiled leaders together, then why not? I think it very possible. The events in Nepal are the number one crisis in South Asia for now. I can't see how the Secretary can refuse such an audience. So I think the challenge is more technical than one of diplomatic gravity. Let's do it. I wish you all all the best.

On the draft you have written, it is a great piece of writing. I would suggest it be widely circulated also to the Indian media and the international media. I particular dig the items on the "medium term" list. The noose has to be gradually tightened if the junta refuses to budge. If I had to add, I would say, if the junta has not budged by the end of 2005, India should do a US-In-Haiti in Nepal. Hopefully things will not go that far.

Urgent: Can we Try to Meet Condaliza Rice in Delhi?

Hi friends, Heard that Condaliza [sp.] Rice is coming to Delhi. Is there any waywe can organize a meeting with her even for half an hour? Theparticpants from our side would be political party leaders and civilsociety activists (mostly Nepalis but also our international Indianfriends) based in Delhi. Can our friends based in or actuve in or withcontacts in the US help u explore this possibility?Please do write back, even if you think its a useless idea!Best regards, Dinesh

Urgent: Appeal to Indian Parliamentarians: Draft for Comments

Friends, This is the first draft for an appeal which we intend to submit to ALLthe parliamentrians in India by Monday. Please provide comments beforethat, latest by Sunday evening. Can we make it shorter? They might notread if its more than 2/3 pages.regards, Dinesh

India’s Role in Supporting Nepal’s Democracy Movement
Appeal to the Indian Parliamentarians, Government Political Parties and Civil Society
by Nepal Democracy Alliance, Kathmandu / New Delhi
14 March 2005

Post-February 1 Situation in Nepal

  • The February 1, 2005 military coup by king Gyanendra of Nepal is yet another glaring evidence that he no longer respects the 1990 constitution of Nepal. He had taken an unconstitutional step on 4 October 2002, when he dismissed the elected prime minister and started ruling directly, in clear contravention to the letter and spirit of the 1990 constitution. Gyanendra and his military regime is therefore an unconstitutional force in Nepal, lacks any legitimacy and reigns through sheer use of force and terror. The king has proved once again that the twin-pillar theory of constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy co-existing is no longer tenable in Nepal.
  • After February 1, 2005, all the fundamental rights of the sovereign citizens of Nepal, including the rights to freedom of opinion, freedom of _expression, freedom of peaceful assembly, right to privacy, right to mobility, and right to property, have been quashed by Gyanendra Shah, under the un-justified State of Emergency. Between February 1 and March 12, over 500 pro-democracy political leaders, students, journalists, human rights defenders have been detained. Tens of thousands of pro-democracy activists have either gone underground or fled to India. The Royal Nepal Army, police and Gyanendra Shah’s vigilantes have been issuing death threats to the pro-democrcay activists. Behind the smokescreen of normalcy, citizens in Kathmandu and other major towns of Nepal live amidst fear and uncertainty.
  • Between February 1 and March 12, over 200 Nepali citizens, including security personnel, Maoist rebels, and innocent civilians, have lost their lives as a direct result of the armed conflict. Gyanendra Shah has restricted the independent monitoring of the human rights situation by national and international human rights organizations and media. Even the Commissioners of the National Human Rights Commission have been barred from leaving Kathmandu valley. However, some fact-finding missions conducted by international human rights organizations have found out that the Royal Nepal Army is practicing with impunity extra-judicial killings of civilians (e.g., in Baglung District), arming and backing up vigilantes and criminal gangs (the so-called Village Defense Committees) to lynch, massacre, rape and beat innocent villagers in the name of retaliation against the Maoists. For instance in Kapilbastu District in southern Nepal, about a dozen civilians were killed by the RNA-backed vigilantes during the third week of February 2005. There are reports of the RNA dropping “tora-bora” bombs from army helicopters indiscriminately in villages in mid-western hill districts of Rolpa and Rukum.
  • The Maoists still control most of the rural areas of Nepal. The military coup by the king has not deterred the Maoists. Indeed, reports from most of the districts outside of Kathmandu point out that the Maoists have been the net beneficiaries of the royal move: they now have more sympathizers, and the morale of their cadres has been boosted. They have shown that they can attack government offices, enforce strikes and road blocks and hold parades and mass meetings at their will in most parts of Nepal. They have also demonstrated that they can blockade Kathmandu at their will. First-hand accounts from the outlying districts indicate that the morale of the army on the field is low, and there are also reports that even a section of the army top brass is unhappy with the strategic disadvantages brought about by the February 1 military coup. The king’s promise of a military victory over the Maoists has failed and is likely to continue failing. It has been clear that the king cannot deliver peace or stability in Nepal. The exodus to India of Nepali people, caught between the RNA and Maoists, is likely to accelerate.
  • King Gyanendra’s military coup has invited near-universal condemnation from the international community. Apart from the suspension of military aid by India, the UK (and most probably the USA), bilateral and multilateral donors have started announcing suspension of developmental aid to the unaccountable, illegitimate, and repressive regime of Gyaendra Shah. Increased military expenditure and corruption, decreased internal revenues, and declining foreign aid will likely lead to an economic disaster in Nepal, which will lead to further social and political turmoil.

Response from India

  • We are very encouraged by the strong support for democracy expressed after February 1, 2005, by the Indian government, political parties and civil society. The suspension of military aid to the unaccountable Royal Nepal Army after February 1 has been a welcome decision on the part of the Indian government. The continued and consistent call by the Indian government for: restoration of democratic process, revoking the declaration of the State of Emergency, release of detained political and civil society leaders, restoration of fundamental civil rights including the freedom of the media, have provided moral support to the pro-democracy forces and citizens of Nepal. The government of India has rightly pointed out that apart from being detrimental to the democratic process in Nepal, the February 1 royal coup also undermines the prospects for stability in Nepal, which will result in adverse implications for Indian security and demography. The Indian government has also performed the
  • The unprecedented solidarity for democracy expressed by the political parties of India, for instance through the February 24 Convention of Indian Political Parties Groups In Support of Democracy in Nepal, have provided immense moral support to the pro-democracy forces and citizens of Nepal.
  • After February 1, the Indian media has been the greatest supporter of democracy in Nepal. At a time when the free media has been completely blacked out in Nepal, the Indian media has provided large space for news, features and opinions in support for democracy.
  • The support from ordinary citizens and civil society groups for pro-democracy activists has been tremendous. Numerous individuals and groups have provided shelter, food, hospitality and moral support to the pro-democracy activists who crossed over to India to regroup in the most difficult and dark period of repression within Nepal.

Future steps requested from India

We request the Indian parliamentarians and the government to take the following concrete steps to support democracy and human rights in Nepal:


  1. Continue the suspension of military aid to the Royal Nepal Army until it is completely under the control of a civilian, representative, legitimate and democratic government.
  2. Issue statements frequently demanding immediate release of prisoners of conscience, lifting of the state of emergency and revocation of the all the suspended civil rights
  3. Issue statements calling for dialogue between the parliamentary political parties and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) for preparing a common roadmap for a peaceful, just and democratic Nepal.
  4. Refuse to invite diplomatic delegates of the authoritarian king to India and refuse to accept official diplomatic invitations sent by this authoritarian government.
  5. Coordinate with other democratic countries, including the European Union and the United Nations, to step-up coordinated pressure against the king and in support of democracy in Nepal.

Medium term

  1. Review the implications of the trashing of the “twin-pillar” theory (co-existence of constitutional monarchy and multi-party democracy for stability of Nepal) by the king; facilitate (or at least not hinder) the process whereby the Nepali people can decide either through peaceful movement or through referendum or election of constituent assembly whether or not they want to retain monarchy, which has repeatedly proved that it can not co-exist with democracy.
  2. Severe all diplomatic ties with Gyanendra Shah and his government
  3. Announce bans on travel to or through the Indian territory to Gyanendra Shah, his family members, Royal Nepal Army Generals, Ministers and Secretaries
  4. Freeze the assets in India of Gyanendra Shah, his family members, Royal Nepal Army Generals, Ministers and Secretaries; encourage other countries to do the same.
  5. Recognize the parallel government if and when the major parliamentary political parties announce it through consensus; provide moral and material support to this parallel government.
  6. Open channels of communication with the Maoists and facilitate negotiations between the parliamentary political front and the Maoists for a smooth transition to a peaceful, just and democratic Nepal through a free and fair election to constituent assembly held by a representative, all-party government and closely supervised by the international community.

In The News

  • Nepal's Former Prime Minister Calls for Restoration of DemocracyVoice of America ...Deuba says, the communist rebels can be convinced to return to the negotiating table, if the king were to allow all political parties to participate in the peace talks
  • Nepal's Sacked Premier Seeks Dialogue with King Reuters "The king should enter into dialogue with political parties and give all executive powers to a new multi-party government," Deuba told Reuters .....A cheerful Deuba said the Maoists, who deserted talks in 2003, could return to the negotiating table if Gyanendra and mainstream parties agreed to discuss their demand...... "If there is a national consensus for a conditional constituent assembly the Maoists might agree to negotiations ......Deuba's phone line has not been restored and he has been unable to contact other party leaders ...... I will personally participate in the on-going protests
  • Govt enforces six-day week for bureaucrats Times of India ......scrapped Sunday as a holiday ...... "Honesty is the biggest asset and success of one's life. Dishonesty, trickery, corruption and misconduct will give pleasure only for a brief period," the government notice said.
  • Sobhraj's French lawyer to seek royal pardon Indo-Asian News Service "I am furious," said an enraged Coutant-Peyre. "How could they do this when they knew I was coming down all the way from Paris for the hearing. Such a thing could never happen in Paris." ..... She plans to meet the king's ADC Friday to hand over the letter personally. ..... Sobhraj's family in France hired Isabelle Coutant-Peyre, who herself hit the headlines in the past for representing and then marrying internationally wanted terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, aka 'Carlos the Jackal', who admits to having killed over 1,500 people for the Palestine cause
  • Chinese foreign minister to visit Nepal: report:New Kerala, India The Chinese state media has also stepped up its coverage of Nepal, highlighting what it considers the positive aspects of the new regime. ..... Beijing says Tibet is an integral part of China and there are no Tibetan refugees, only illegal immigrants who should be punished ..... Nepal, which has earlier handed over groups of Tibetans fleeing their homeland to the Chinese authorities
  • Student Leader Calls for Revolution in NepalInfoshop News ... the 'new movement would overthrow the king' and the country would 'experience true democracy – that is democracy without king.' ..... donors to cut off the flow of aid to Nepal ..... the need of new movement for the establishment of republic ...... Nepali Congress always believed on constitutional monarchy. We, the youth, always questioned monarchy....... there can be no democracy when there is the king ....... Individuals can be wrong, but that doesn't make a system wrong. ......monarchy is the most opaque and corrupt institution in the country .....where did King Birendra's property go. We want to know why there is increment in palace's budgets. Besides, the present king is a businessman – he owns businesses ..... the expression by King Gyanendra is only an unreal commitment to deceive people and international community ...... We also request all our donor communities, who support Nepal in social, political and military front to stop all the support for now. I request all Nepalis residing abroad and all the well-wishers of Nepal to closely watch our movement and to spread the words.
  • Nepal frees former Prime Minister and 20 others from detentionABC Asia Pacific, Asia
  • Mystery man with bullet injury is Maoist from NepalDelhi Newsline, India
  • Amnesty to take on Nepal at UN rights meet Indo-Asian News Service ..... "on the verge of a human rights catastrophe". "Things can get worse and we are concerned that if the international community does not act, things will get worse." ......Nepal's new cabinet headed by the king met Wednesday to decide Pandey should go to Geneva to defend the Feb 1 royal takeover .....the state of emergency had "aggravated the existing culture of non-accountability and lack of transparency".

No comments: