Sunday, March 27, 2005

News Clips March 27,29,30

March 30
  • Royal scandal rocks Nepal Times of India, India Princess Helen, aunt by marriage of reigning King Gyanendra, was given Nepalese Rs.12 million last year from the Prime Minister's Welfare Fund, meant only for the poorest of the poor...... Princess Helen has stakes in the five-star Hotel de l'Annapurna in Kathmandu and a luxury resort in western Pokhara city, Fishtail Lodge ...... The request for allocating the sum to her is said to have come from the palace, possibly from King Gyanendra himself, during his usual weekly audiences with former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba in the Narayanhiti Palace on Thursdays....... Some say Deuba - who was sacked by the king in 2002, re-appointed last year, and then dismissed again after a royal takeover last month - had granted the request hoping to remain on the right side of the King.
  • Pakistan offers Nepal $5m trade credit, free trade pact Daily Times, Pakistan
  • Court martial for Nepal officers BBC News, UK three are accused of involvement in the death of Maina Sunuwar, who was being held in custody in a barracks at Kavrepalanchok
March 29
  • Nepal journalists march for freedom New Zealand Herald, New Zealand 200 Nepali journalists defied a ban on protests ....riot police stood guard .... two Maoist rebels stormed set off a crude bomb in the western business town of Butwal .... hundreds of journalists have lost jobs .... many outspoken Web logs, or blogs, have sprung up.
  • Nepal arrests 138 anti-king protesters; 3 soldiers killed Peninsula On-line dragged away by security forces and loaded into police vans .... Maoist rebels killed three soldiers in eastern Nepal after kidnapping them while they were on their way home on leave ..... The three men, who were not carrying any weapons, were attacked with stones, knives and then shot dead in the Maoist stronghold of Ramechhap ..... The guerrillas have vowed to step up attacks on government forces
  • Absolute monarchy to absolute democracy Asia Times Online In order to stop a complete unraveling of the Nepali future, political parties backed by civil society must wrest the state back from the palace and military administration.... the regime change conducted by King Gyanendra was an attempt to bring back authoritarian rule on the pretext of tackling the Maoist insurgency ...... The democratic state is more than capable of confronting the insurgency, as long as the palace and army do not play spoilsport. ..... King Gyanendra's takeover has its origins in a 1960 deep freeze that does not countenance the current socio-political reality ...... it is clear that the royal proclamation was not a knee-jerk action but something thought of months in advance with the help of willing military commanders ..... the longer term plan would be to do away with the 1990 constitution and develop another document which redirects substantial power back to the monarchy. ..... Thereafter, an election would be conducted where a conservative force is made to emerge in order to sabotage the secular system of parliamentary governance...... Gyanendra would be attempting to bring back "guided democracy" .....sycophants and quislings from the early Panchayat era are emerging from the slurry ..... through an interim government put in place at the initiative of the political parties, with or without the palace in agreement. ..... Article 27 (3) of the 1990 constitution, which enjoins the monarch to "preserve and protect" that supreme law, has been used instead to destroy the letter and spirit of that document. ..... clandestine rebel radio broadcasts now fill the resulting vacuum with their vicious propaganda. ...... the advances achieved by print and electronic media over a dozen years of unfettered freedom are being rapidly eroded, and the domino effect on society and economy will be significant ..... The Nepali army can only evolve into a disciplined and professional fighting force if it is kept out of public affairs and brought within full control of parliament...... shifted the attention of the state apparatus from counter-insurgency to the suppression of democratic institutions ...... a means to cynically rally support for an active monarchy. What the king detested were obviously not the individual political personalities, but the very process of pluralism they represented. ....... made difficult by timid leadership, inter-party wrangling as well as confusion over priorities at this instance - whether to go for an all-out fight for the republic or save the rights guaranteed by the 1990 constitution first ...... a future constitutional monarchy can only be ceremonial, without even the residuary powers he prefers to read into the 1990 constitution ...... willful misinterpretation of its various provisions - such as Article 27 on protecting the constitution, or Article 127 on removing "impediments" in its implementation ....... the royal move has accelerated state-weakening trends set in motion by the rebellion ...... development activity is at standstill ...... New Delhi is now more a player in Nepali affairs than at any time in the past five decades. ...... the police force sidelined and sullen ...... The continuous need to raise money through extortion, the lowered motivation of fighters unable to make spectacular attacks on army and police garrisons, and the loss of political control over increasingly militarized cadre are other reasons that the Maobadi are likely over time to collapse under the weight of their own contradictions. ....... unless there is an unprecedented collapse of the insurgency unrelated to the royal takeover, the population is in for a long haul ....... the extended period required for a victory-through-arms will simply entrench the military ....... it is unrealistic to expect more support than this from the outside. The battle for restoration of democracy must now gather steam within Nepal...... Since an extended royal rule is obviously not a possibility, one can make out the contours of a royal plan to build a new political terrain where pro-palace political forces are made to emerge. Loyal royalists would be nurtured so as to support monarchical activism well into the future......... the royalist and Maobadi mind sets are not variables that one can rely on ...... chart an independent course. Only the political parties of the suspended third parliament ..... referendum, election-to-parliament, election-to-constituent assembly, or a roundtable conference of all concerned parties, including the rebels. ....... ensuring the RNA's allegiance to civilian government; instituting a restrictive definition of constitutional monarchy that defines a ceremonial role for the king; removing the "Hindu" appellation from the description of the state; and transitioning to a federal system of governancean interim government under the aegis of the mainstream political parties ..... the political parties must present the palace with a fait accompli in the form of a fully-formed interim government .......If King Gyanendra will not loosen his grip on the state, the state will have to pry it from him.
  • Nepal - Nursing the Pinion .... the policies of those three governments vis-à-vis the ongoing civil war in the Himalayan nation must share considerable blame for the present crisis ...... More than 12,000 U.S. M-16s, 5,000 Belgium FLN sub-machine guns, and some 20,000 rifles from India have filled the arms coffers of the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) since 2001. Britain has added helicopters armed with machine guns and rockets. The size of the RNA has grown from 50,000 to 73,000 and is due to reach 80,000 next year. If one counts the police, Royalist forces now number 138,000. While the insurgent forces are small--4,000 core soldiers and about 15,000 supporters--virtually no independent observers believe the central government can defeat them, because the roots of the war are in the social and economic poverty of the nation..... the majority of deaths have come at the hands of government forces ...... Back in early December, The Economist was predicting a coup and provided a virtual blueprint for what happened on Feb. 1. Citing the arming and training of the RNA by India and the U.S., the editors wrote: This (the foreign military aid) helps contain the Maoist threat. But it also bolsters those in the king's camp who think that a military victory is possible and might be easier if the trappings of democracy were jettisoned. The information minister, seen as the king's man in the cabinet, has dropped hints of a more 'authoritarian' government. Many human-rights activists and politicians in Kathmandu expect the king and the army to assume more direct power and, blaming the war, suspend many civil liberties. ....... a statement made last year by former U.S. Ambassador Michael Malinowski that the CPNM "literally have to be bent back to the table." The Bush administration sees the Nepal insurgency as another domino in its international war on terrorism, arguing that the country could become a "failed state" and hence a haven for terrorists. The CPNM has been placed on the State Department's "Watch List," along with Al-Qaida, Abu Sayyaf, and Hezbollah....... there are suspicions in the region that American involvement is also part of an overall U.S. plan to ring China ...... India has stepped up counter-insurgency operations against what it calls "Naxalites" (India's term for Maoist or communist insurgents) in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh, and Andhra Pradesh....... the groups don't share a common ideology, political program, or even goals ....... India recently arrested Mohan Vaidya in Darjeeling, West Bengal , the number three person in the CPNM ...... The Maoists have even been building fortified trenches on the border to repel such an invasion, although it is a very unlikely scenario....... Some Scandinavian nations have already proposed UN intervention ..... It is a step the Maoists favor, but which the U.S. and the Indians oppose. The former do so because of the Bush administration's reflexive hostility to the world body; the Indians because they fear external mediation might be used to address their own insurgent movements and the ongoing crisis in Kashmir ....... These countries have intervened in Nepal 's civil war for reasons having to do with their own internal affairs, foreign policy strategies, and political ideologies, not because any of them are overly concerned with the welfare of the Nepalese.
  • Pakistan team in Nepal for talks on arms and aid Times of India Pakistan is emerging as one of the royal regime's closest allies ....Pakistan had pledged $5 million in economic aid to Nepal in soft credits and loans
  • Nepal-Pakistan business talks after 10 yrs Khalsa News Network
  • Journalists Rally in Nepal to End Censorship Voice of America
  • Nepal: The King’s Gambit World Press Review The royal government has reacted with defiance saying that Nepal doesn’t need help and can go it alone. Ministers have expressed outrage that the international community is not helping in its fight against “terrorism.” “America has one standard for itself in its fight against terror and another for the rest; India coddles Bhutan’s autocrat king but lectures us on democracy.” King Gyanendra is gambling that given the choice between himself and the Maoists, the international community will ultimately have no choice but to support him. The question is: who will blink first? But two months on, if there have been any major victories against the Maoists, the army is not boasting about them. In fact the security forces have been busy putting down pro-democracy demonstrations by political parties, keeping politicians in detention, enforcing censorship, and intimidating the media. .... very few people support either republicanism or absolute monarchy, and most want the king to remain a constitutional monarch ...... In a meeting with the American ambassador last month, the king is said to have asked for 100 days to lift the emergency. His time is nearly up. ..... The king has opened himself up on three fronts with his takeover: the Maoists, the political parties, and the international community...... It is doubtful that China will jeopardize its growing economic ties and geopolitical rapprochement with India and play tug-o-war over Nepal.....
  • Nepalese police break up anti-king demonstrations Baltimore Sun They arrived in a public bus and quickly pulled out party flags and chanted anti-government slogans, surprising police and blocking traffic for a few minute .... the first time since King Gyanendra's Feb. 1 takeover and suspension of civil liberties that protesters have been able to demonstrate so close to the main government offices....
  • India to double security at Nepal, Bhutan borders Pakistan Times, Pakistan India currently has 25,000 paramilitary members guarding the two borders including provincial police units .... India has hiked the SSB’s annual spending by 47 percent to 5.32 billion rupees (115 million dollars)..... In late 2003 at India’s urging, the Bhutanese army launched an operation to evict separatist rebels, fighting for independence in India’s northeast, from their territory. India honored Bhutan’s King Jigme Singye Wangchuck for his role in evicting the rebels by making him the chief guest at the 2005 Republic Day parade.
  • India to double security at Nepal, Bhutan borders to stem rebel ... China Daily Nepal and Pakistan Tuesday started talks for establishing a free trade area (FTA) between the two countries
  • Nepal, Pakistan start Trade talks Xinhua, China stop the flow of rebels into the country
March 27
  • Rein on Indian firm for king kin Calcutta Telegraph Nepal’s decision to prevent an Indian telecom joint venture from getting new subscribers appears to be aimed at helping a close relative of King Gyanendra to get a foothold in the local telecom market..... the Nepalese move appears to be aimed at favouring a close relative of the king, who is to launch his own telecommunication services in the kingdom
  • Patrolling along Nepal border to be increased: Patil New Kerala Nepal’s Army has said that it would step up its offensive against the Maoist guerrillas to force them back into peace talks after the coup left the kingdom in its worst ever political turmoil.... Gyanendra’s appointed cabinet has drafted a strategy focusing on corruption and poverty, it has announced no strategy for peace with Maoists
  • Nepal's Economy Turns More FragileVoice of America The trekkers are a lifeline for about 75,000 mountain guides and porters, who work for a few months every year in the climbing season ..... Tourism contributes as much as three percent to Nepal's gross domestic product. ..... shrinking foreign aid ..... Foreign donors contribute more than two-thirds of the funds for development activity in the country.... .. poverty has intensified in the past two decades in the country where per-capita income is $230 a year
  • Top News ; Maoists kill six in Nepal: Keralanext The guerrillas tortured to death three soldiers of the Royal Nepalese Army after abducting them from a bus bound for eastern Nepal ...... The government had claimed an improvement in the security situation since King Gyanendra assumed absolute power Feb 1
  • Kathmandu-Lhasa direct bus services from May 1 Gorkhapatra Sajha Yatayat will be running the bus service from Nepal while a private transport company of Tibet will be doing the same from Tibet. ...... The 840 kilometer long Kathmandu-Lhasa bus travel will take two days while the one-way fare is said to be around 50 to 70 dollars. ...... service to be available nine months a year ..... direct air service between Kathmandu and Lhasa is available for only six months a year ....... bus service is also expected to support promotion of economic tourism in Tibet specially by the Nepali Buddhists
  • UN to review Nepal peace mission rolePeninsula On-line, Qatar
  • Indian Policy on Nepal in Quandary as China Consolidates TiesSouth Asia Tribune, VA Nepal is considering taking military aid from China and on the other, Indian Naxalites have begun logistic and moral support to Nepalese Maoist rebels ...... effigies of Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister were burnt by pro-Gyanendra elements ...... Jyoti Prasad Adhikari, Press and Culture Officer of the Royal Nepal Embassy at New Delhi told the South Asia Tribune: “I can’t say with authority on the issue of military aid from China, but every country has a minimum requirement of security. However, Vice President of the Council of Ministers, Kritinidhi Bista has already commented on it.” ...... Bista had indicated on March 20, 2005 that Nepal might sign a deal with China for the supply of arms and ammunition for the Royal Nepal Army (RNA). ....... “China is a sincere neighbor, which always wanted stability and prosperity in Nepal. China has become a major power to be reckoned with. ....... Soon after India’s stalling of military aid, King Gyanendra closed down two Tibetan refugee camps. He also closed down Dalai Lama’s office in Kathmandu to send positive signals to China. ....... the image of Indian political leaders is gradually being tarnished. The Nepali underground leaders have also failed to form any common platform to spearhead political agitation in Nepal from India....... Due to External Ministry’s failure to form any definite policy and basically pursuing a reactive ‘wait and watch’ policy ...... Naxalites support Maoists, and Indian communists support Pakistani communists ...... India could impose blockade against Nepal if it seeks military aid from China as it did in 1989 when Nepal had imported arms from China ..... in some quarters it is believed that this time China would protect Nepal if India imposes a blockade ...... Former Nepali Prime Minister Marichman Singh has reportedly said that India has been playing foul game with the tiny Himalayan kingdom for a long period and there are thousands of people in Nepal who are on its pay-roll, and these people are being utilized in the anti-Monarchy agitations....... Naxalites are supplying arms to Maoist forces in Nepal ....... 17 battalions have been deployed along the nearly 1,800 kilometers long Indo-Nepal border. In the wake of Naxalites logistic support to Maoists, 32 additional battalions will soon be deployed ....... “Awaam ke paas agar awaami fauj nahin hai to uske paas kuch nahin hai” (If people do not have People’s Army, then they have nothing). ....... Bhattarai is said to be hiding in the Indian State of Bihar. He and his wife Hishila Yami have been expelled from the party over an invitation from King Gyanendra for peace talks........ It is said that Bhattarai is in favor of a dialogue with the Monarchy whereas Prachand is opposing it. In this regard, according to an anonymous source, a Naxalite leader, namely Vibhash Mondal has secretly moved to Nepal to hold talks on this issue.

  1. From The Base Camp Of Rebels The village, Pravakar told us, was considered as the ‘base camp’ for Maoists operating in this region ..... There were no ambushes, no armed cadres, no nothing...... the closer of Mobile service (especially the pre-paid one) have a huge impact on Maoist communications and the smooth running of their organization in places like Chitwan .... Maoist sangathan (organizational network and functioning) was “pre-paid sangathan" ..... There are two municipalities and 36 villages in Chitwan where nearly four hundred thousand people live. And not a single village has been unaffected by Maoists...... They come over here in the evening, according to a local who didn’t want to be identified, and go back to jungle in the night..... saw several wall paintings with pro-Maoists and anti-King slogans .... was a new painting on the wall ..... Chitwan is considered as a 76th district of Nepal (where there are 75 districts including Chitwan). “Many people from different parts of country come here and live
  2. Walking Through The Gate Of Maoism .... we walked through a newly constructed gate of bamboo sticks wrapped with a red cloth that was full of names of various comrades who were either killed in the war or were in jail ..... “But information about fight taking place definitely comes in to us. That’s not coming in to us these days. So I think there are no fights at all.” Why? ..... A local told me that these days Maoists of all parts of country are gathering in to the eastern region for their conference ..... It seems, without having to fight, cadres are involved in publicity and extortion campaign. It also seems, but not confirmed, that they are campaigning against each others’ camp: Prachanda Vs Baburam.
  3. I Report, You Decide, Were They Terrorists? .... families of those boys have now agreed to accept the corpse of students only after authorities agreed in written form that they were in fact killed by shooting but not in fighting as it was claimed earlier by the authorities.
  4. Prachanda's Father: "Prachanda has not been a good family man." I saw deep pain and agony burning in to his eyes ...... Mukti Raj goes to a nearby temple daily, spends about four hours in the holy place chanting slokas from Mahabharat and Ramayan, and singing bhajans....... His son, Prachanda, the ‘great’ for some and ’satan’ for others, has been challenging the rulers at Kathmandu, capital of the nation of Nepal, from secret hideouts for the last decade ...... I have heard no news from his ever since he went underground ..... ‘hasn’t contacted’ his home ...... he started the revolution in Nepal in the beginning of 1996 after he buried his mother who died a year earlier from blood cancer ..... Some years later, his wife followed him to live the underground life..... “Raja sabai ka bhale bhayeka chhan .... Khai heru, ke garda rahechhan. Desh ko bhalo hune, janata ko heet hune kaam gare bhane ta thikai ho, natra…” .... younger son of Mukti Raj has become a family man ..... “He is doing well, in the UK. He has been a good boy. I wish he had stayed with me. I am all alone.” ...... He didn’t seem to be supporting or protesting what his son is doing in Nepal. But I could read his eyes that were clearly telling that he wants his son to be successful....... Prachanda’s younger brother is currently doing PhD in forestry in a UK university. ...... Why the dad is so happy with the younger sibling? “He sends money frequently,” dad responded instantly, “and tells me, ‘Spend whatever amount you need for your medical expenses. I am here to take care of you’.” ....... The daddy has only one wish that his younger son was here with him to help in daily routine, to accompany in his lonely life. Mukti Raj has become alone in his life since his wife left this world in 1995...... “My grand daughter (in fact his brothers grand daughter) lives with me,” he said. She works as staff nurse in Bharatpur Medical College, a nearby educational institution. “So,” he continued, “sometime I cook, sometime she cooks.” ...... “Oh..him?” shouted the father with love in his heart, “He has taken everything that belonged to him. He sold them all. Now, nothing is here that belongs to him. He sold his property. This house is registered under his brother’s name.” Well, the dad is really not angry with his son........ “Babu, Party ma foot bhayo bhanchan. Ke ho sachhai? Aba ke hola ta?” ["Son, people say that there has been fraction within the (Maoist) Party. Really? What will happen next?"] ...... 70 year old Mukti Raj hasn’t been well for the last three years. Stomach ach and back problems give him constant pain. He has visited Kathmandu- Teaching Hospital and also to Dr Ashok Baskota, country’s top bone related disease specialists. He was also admitted in a local hospital. No one has been able to cure this man...... Well, at one point, Mukti Raj told about the recent visit of security personals in his house. “A month or so ago,” he said, patting once again on his bare thigh, “they (army) came in my house.” He wasn’t there. They politely requested to allow them to search the hosue. They did their duty and went back. “But they haven’t tortured or misbehaved with me [as you might have thought so],” Mukti Raj said....... emigrated from his original place in Pokhara in 1962 in Shiv Nagar VDC. There, Prachanda was directly admitted on third grade. In Pokhara, Prachanda learned alphabets, according to his daddy, in home. In school in Shiv Nagar, he was promoted from class 3 to 5. He passed SLC in 2nd division and went to Patan Multiple College, Patan. He came back to his hometown for further studies in Agriculture. After finishing intermediate degree, Prachanda briefly taught in a primary shcool in Gurkha district ......
  5. Meeting Prachanda's Father ..... happens to be the father of the person who is now shaking Nepal as a whole, and making Nepalese seriously think about their future ..... after 40 minutes the official routine of Curfew starts. Chitwan is not Kathmandu; I came to know this fact today. People here are living strange kind of life. Guys at this cyber cafe just let me enter here for 20 mins to type these words
  6. Organizing Arrest-Free Rally Until then the mediapersons didn’t know where the rally was happening ..... after they arrived, around two dozens activists gathered, took out flags from their pockets and starting moving towards Naradevi, west of Bangemuda, chanting pro-democracy slogans ..... The activists rallied in the 200m long road before the leader of it ordered to ‘disperse’ and all the participants took out the flags from sticks, put it into their pockets and disappeared in the various sides

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