Saturday, September 24, 2005

Madhav Nepal, Commander Of The Movement

Girija Koirala taking a three month leave is bad news. But looks like the police cracked his rib, and health comes first. He will continue to inspire no matter where he is. He does not have to be at the forefront. He is the Supreme Leader of the movement, regardless. Like Ganeshman Singh was in 1990. It is unfortunate that he is having to take time off. But it is more important for the movement for him to stay sound of health than to be at the forefront.

Who will the Congress decide on for Acting President? I think the answer is obvious: Ram Chandra Poudel. He was part of the Sher Bahadur Deuba, Shailaja Acharya, Ram Chandra Poudel troika. Deuba broke away to form his own party. Acharya is too into the monarchy and no longer a member of the central committee. I think Poudel will do just fine. He is articulate. He has been Speaker.

So far the movement has not had a formal leader. It is high time the seven party coalition decided on one. I think Madhav Nepal is the obvious choice. Let's face it, the Nepali Congress is no longer the largest party in the country after it split vertically, the UML is. And as the leader of that party, Nepal deserves to be anointed the commander of the movement and the interim prime minister in waiting.

The fears that the western powers might not like a communist at the helm are totally unfounded. First, he is more like the social democrats in Europe, more like Prakash Karat in India. His inspiration might be communist, but his party has firmly accepted multi-party democracy. And, besides, foreigners don't get to decide who leads Nepal.

Another thing that works in Madhav Nepal's favor is his practical stand on the House revival issue. He has looked at the issue from many angles and does not like it. If the king were to revive the House using Article 127, does he get to dismiss it at any time if he does not like what it is doing? And you don't organize street demonstrations to sway the Supreme Court. That is not how Supreme Courts work. More importantly, it is not possible to make peace with the Maoists by sticking to the 1990 constitution. So House revival only gets in the way. Madhav Nepal only realizes that. A Nepal leadership is needed also to simplify the seven party four point agenda. You move straight for an interim government.

And I would also vouch for Nepal's political skills. He has lead the UML for over a decade now. That is no mean feat. He knows how to play the game. And he has done a much better job on the internal democracy issues inside the UML than Girija has inside the Nepali Congress.

I think it is high time Madhav Nepal is formally anointed.

And the seven names are the interim cabinet in waiting: Madhav Nepal, Ram Chandra Poudel, Bharat Bimal Yadav, Gopal Man Shrestha, Narayan Man Bijukchhe, CP Mainali, Amik Sherchan.
Once you clear up these two things, all that remains doing is a 10-point political program, and then there is no stopping the movement.

The US, EU, India, China Need To Be Talking Constituent Assembly

Because that is what the legitimate seven parties are talking. Because that is the only solution. Unless these foreign powers come forth for a Constituent Assembly, they are not really taking a stand against the king's autocratic ways.

In The News
  • University teachers organise protest in Pokhara NepalNews
  • Maoists not a legitimate political force: US ...... would not see Maoist insurgents of Nepal as a legitimate political force unless they give up violence ....... there is a prevailing fear that if the Maoists win political power, they are likely to eliminate the other parties and form a totalitarian state...... the US was working with India and the UK to reconcile with political parties and lay the groundwork for national elections. He also expressed concern over the fact that the legitimate political parties in Nepal were not united in seeking a common stand against the Maoist insurgency or in determining how power should be shared with the King...... gave details of US military aid to the Nepalese government to combat Maoist insurgency. He urged the Royal Nepalese Army to respect human rights while investigating civilians suspected of supporting Maoist operations in the countryside....... Veena Siddharth, the Washington director of Human Rights Watch/Asia, however, dismissed the idea of a military solution to the insurgency. The only solution is steady pressure by the United States, India and the United Kingdom on the Nepalese authorities to seek a viable political solution with the Maoist rebels........
  • Maoists intensify ‘donation’ collection spree Maoist rebels have intensified ‘donation’ collection spree in various parts of the country ....... Maoists had asked all the school teachers in Chitwan district to provide ten percent of their Dashain allowance to the rebels compulsorily........ plans to raise over Rs two million from half a dozen VDCs in eastern Chitwan...... Maoists had fixed separate amounts as ‘donations’ from teachers, government employees and businessmen.
  • NHRC to monitor ceasefire, starts dialogue with political parties the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has started discussion with the leaders of political parties to transform the ceasefire into sustainable peace....... the role the commission can play to facilitate communication between the parties to the conflict....... The NHRC is planning to meet with the government and the Maoists to discuss the ways of restoring peace in the country after holding talks with the mainstream political parties and representatives of the civil society....... the NHRC has decided to send a team to monitor rights situation and the ceasefire in 10 districts, including Sindhuli, Rautahat, Parsa, Dailekh, and Gorkha....... will monitor the incidents of killings, abductions, tortures, displacing individuals and collecting donations
  • India to probe into Nepal fertilizer scam: Report The plan was to smuggle up to 20,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser from India through small checkpoints on the Bihar-Nepal border over the next two months and sell it at double the price in Nepal taking benefit from Indian subsidies...... In Delhi, the Ministry of External Affairs has contacted the Home, Finance and other related ministries regarding the scam....... the plan got foiled with the Commission to Investigate Abuse of Authority (CIAA) deciding to act on complaints by some rival fertiliser importers....... Home Minister Shahi said five days later that this was being done in his country’s interests to ensure smooth supply of fertiliser........ ‘‘The plan was also aimed at discouraging private fertiliser traders, who were making unnatural profits’’ ...... The estimate is that 30-35,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser are being smuggled into Nepal, which amounts to a loss of IRs 30 crore to the Indian exchequer........ The estimate is that 30-35,000 metric tonnes of fertiliser are being smuggled into Nepal, which amounts to a loss of IRs 30 crore to the Indian exchequer.
  • Publishers, Editors and Journalists protest PCN's classification of newspapers
  • Agitating parties considering to set deadline for House revival “If the House is not reinstated by then, we will move towards establishing a ‘democratic republic’ in the country” ....... bring the monarchy and mainstream political parties on a collision course leaving no room for reconciliation...... Krishna Khanal said last fifty years-- since the fall of the Rana regime—had shown that monarchy and democracy could not go together...... alleged the government of failing to respond positively towards the announcement of unilateral truce by the Maoist rebels.
  • Academics stage protests across the country Kantipur ..... Nepal Professors' Association (NPA), Pokhara branch, organized a protest rally in Pokhara, which passed through major thoroughfares before ending as a mass-meeting at Mahendrapul. ....... Tribhuvan University NPA, Dhankuta branch ...... academics in Bhairahawa also took out a protest rally..... Similar protest rallies were taken out in Ilam and Jhapa .... Bhadrapur Campus in Jhapa
  • Moriarty meets Nepal at the UML party office...... the meeting focused on the current political situation and the recent controversial remarks made by vice-chairman of the Council of Ministers Dr Tulsi Giri...... two also discussed about the unilateral truce announced by Maoists
  • 1000 teachers abducted in Baitadi Maoists have abducted at least 1000 teachers from almost all the schools of Baitadi district ........ teachers were forcibly taken away from the secondary and higher secondary schools of Kulab, Melauli, Sailoda, Titabai, Sarmali, Salena, Pipalbot, Jewalkatte, Rantoli and Rodidewal areas...... "The Maoists took the teachers asking them to join their campaign" ....... all of them were taken to Puchaudi ...... Some 2000 teachers are employed in 51 secondary and higher secondary, 53 lower secondary and over 350 primary schools in the whole district...... Just a few days ago, the rebels had abducted 2000 civilians, including teachers and students from Achaam district.
  • Koirala seeks acting president an acting president to take charge of the party during his three-month vacation...... was planning to go outside the country to take little respite from his hectic political routines and get his health checked...... Both Sushil Koirala, who rejected to remain as the party general secretary and Saileja Acharya, who recently resigned from CWC are said to be possible candidates for the post of acting president.
  • Parliamentary polls in 2 years The government headed by King Gyanendra is committed to holding municipal elections by April 2006, and parliamentary polls within two years, and would welcome international monitors for the same...... the king is trying to make the "Nepal-model" of democracy "meaningful, mature, cultured and refined" ....... While he addressed the UN Summit last week, hundreds of demonstrators from around over a dozen states of the US took out rallies and held a mass meeting in front of the Dag Hammarskjold Plaza, a stone's-throw away from the General Assembly hall, demanding that UN and world leaders discredit Nepal's present regime....... Pandey also renewed Nepal's appeal to UN member states to elect it to the UN Security Council.
  • Writer Denied Visa By British Embassy
  • 22 September COCAP Dispatch
  • Aandolan Jari Chha! DVD Now Available
  • 251 Tormenting Days Inside Barracks The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the government to provide Jitman Basnet, an innocent civilian who was tortured inside a barrack (without any apparent charges against him), Rs 50,000 as compensation. But fearing that he might again be subjected to torture, Jitman has left the country. A permanent resident of Goli V.D.C, Solukhombu, 30-year-old Jitman is the editor of a local paper called Sagarmatha Times.......... showers of kicks and punches fell on him. One security personnel talked to him very roughly, “Where are the Maoists? Who else do you know? Give us their names and addresses!” He had written an editorial about the Doramba incident in his paper; this was his only ‘crime’........ One team used to take his statement and another used to come and just beat him until he lost consciousness...... The winter had already set in Kathmandu. One security man used to come to him and order him to strip his clothes. Then Jitman used to be immersed in a drum having cold water in an up side down position. “I was upturned and immersed in the pond very much like that, I took in lots of water,” he remembered, “They also beat me with sticks many times. They used to shower kicks and punches on me and whipped me with whatever they could get; and that too by a group of seven or eight. I cried and yelled for mercy. But there was nobody to listen to my cry. They didn’t give me anything to eat that night. I was made to sleep on a bed that looked like a stretcher. But as my body pained so much; I later stopped feeling anything at all. The next day I couldn’t wake up.” Next morning also, the security personnel repeated the same thing. Not only did they stripped me naked and bashed me up, but they even threatened to kill me. “You will die in few moments,” they used to say. For the next three days they continued torturing him. Thereafter, telling him that “you didn’t help us with anything,” he was carried to a small room and told to sleep....... all the inmates who were blindfolded were forced to run to toilet every time they wanted to use it. Imprisoned in such a way that one couldn’t even make out if it is a day or night, Jitman said he remembered only uttering three words while he was inside the barrack – water, toilet, food....... 251 days. “I was blindfolded all the time, they didn’t allow me to pull it down” .... was taken to an unknown location by a van. “I was not even allowed to cough, I had to stay silent and keep my head down.”........To his amazement, he was told very respectfully, “You are innocent, you can go!” But this was not the end of it. Made to sign summon notices by the security personnel in different places even after this, it has been over eight months now that he has left this country.
  • The Case Of Krishna KC Krishna KC, former vice-chairman of the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal National Independent Students Union (ANNISU-R) ....... KC, whose whereabouts remained unknown since his arrest two years ago from Kathmandu, was taken to the court from the Maharajgunj-based Bhairab Nath Battalion of the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA)......... He was blindfolded while being brought to court premises....... Earlier, the government had told the court that security agencies didn’t arrest KC. Some 18 months ago, the court had closed a habeas corpus writ petition based on the government statements........ Then, KC’s wife Laxmi had filed a habeas corpus writ at the apex court after the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) reported that KC had been detained at the Bhairabnath Battalion........ there is a high drama going on at the court premises at the moment. KC is refusing to leave the court building fearing re-arrest while policemen are waiting outside to arrest him......... Police vans were parked just outside the apex court premises throughout this afternoon. Sources said Chief Justice Dilip Kumar Poudel called vice chairman Dr Tulsi Giri about police deployment..... an NHRC team recently said it met KC while in detention at one of the detention centers in the capital...... Talking to reporters after the court verdict, KC said his release was the victory of all. He thanked rights activists, lawyers and members of media for their cooperation in highlighting his case. He said he was tortured badly while in detention and that he wanted to visit a hospital even facing the prospect of re-arrest........
  • Support For Nepal's King Vanishing major parliamentary parties turn their backs on “constitutional monarchy” and prepare for a showdown against the king in alliance with the Maoist rebels....... Analysts say the countdown for the Republic of Nepal appears to have begun in earnest....... a three-month unilateral cease-fire on Sept. 3. The Maoist party spokesman, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, made it clear his party’s announcement was not aimed at opening negotiations with the king.......... also endorsed an interim government and elections to a constituent assembly as the only way to establish a “democratic republic” ........ Interestingly, the Indian government statement was silent regarding its previous emphasis on a “twin-pillar theory” designed to bring the monarchy and parliamentary parties together to fight the Maoist rebels......... U.S. response to Maoist cease-fire, however, was belated and guarded....... cautioned “not to expect too much from the truce,” adding that “the Maoists should show their commitment not only in words but in action.”........ did not reciprocate, saying the rebels cannot be trusted and that the cease-fire is only a ploy to regroup and rearm........ diplomats from Katmandu’s royal court failed to schedule a one-on-one meeting for King Gyanendra with President Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Mr. Annan........ the RNA is suffering from desertion, if not defections to the Maoist side, of 200 to 300 soldiers per month........ RNA suffers from a lack of ammunition...... The Bush administration, silent about the Maoist cease-fire without asking the king to reciprocate, informed the royal government through its embassy in Katmandu early this month that $5 million worth of military assistance to Nepal proposed for fiscal year 2005-06 will not be forthcoming......... unsubstantiated reports that the RNA is obtaining ammunition from the Israelis and has proposed a deal with China for $22.5 million worth of arms, ammunition and other military hardware — which if true, must have raised eyebrows in New Delhi and Washington........
  • Women And Teachers Hit The Streets ... the sister organizations of seven political parties’ alliance continued massive protests ...... Women demonstrators entered “prohibited zone” from Dillibazar to Bagbazar. A large number of policewomen were deployed, but were unable to stop the huge number of women demonstrators from crossing over to the “prohibited zone”. Subsequently, a large number of policemen were deployed who forcefully arrested demonstrators from the Ratna Park area....... At the same time, students of Padma Kanya (Girls’) College, Kathmandu, also started demonstrations shouting pro-democracy anti-monarchy slogans. A large number of policemen were mobilized around the college...... Dhyan Bir Rai, a COCAP volunteer, was manhandled three times by an assistant sub-inspector of police while he was collecting the names of the arrested demonstrators.
  • Greedy Girija, Who Will Be Acting President In NC? UWB Many thought he wanted to win the match so that he could delegate the power to one of his close aides (hanuman) who couldn’t have faced the election........ “I am going outside (foreign country) for three months. Till then I have to delegate my power. I have to transfer my responsibility to someone else. What is the procedure of such transfer?” ........ Koirala also didn’t suggest any names. He also didn’t name the country where he would be going for treatment. Party’s constitution has the provision with empowers the Central Working Committee to nominate an acting president for 6 months....... Both Sushil and Shailaja resigned from their respective post fearing the other might get the post of acting presidency.
  • An Expensive Morning Walk Mobile phones were not working properly from the very morning. Landlines were dead in some parts of the city. Traffic was a complete mess. Thousands of people faced difficulties going to their work places because traffic police diverted vehicles to different directions without prior notice. Many truckloads of people were ‘imported’ to Kathmandu from surrounding areas like Kavre. People in those trucks were hoisting national flag and shouting slogans like Hamro Raja Hamro Desh, Pran Bhanda Pyaro Chha (Our king and the country are dearer than our own lives). Why? Because Maharaj, the king, was on the streets of Patan for an unprecedented morning walk (10:00-13:00 NST)......... he shouldn’t have feared for his safety by bringing down all the telephone lines, disrupting traffic and making the road an army parade ground
  • Regressive Govt Proposing Aggresive Labor Law the regressive government, now almost secluded from every corner, and expects to cultivate the favor of business community which, of late, is drifting away from the clutches of the royal palace...... The proposal contains almost all the demands hitherto made by the business industrialist – rights to hire and fire, provisions to employ labor on contract basis, daily wage and piece wage basis, rights to hire foreign workers including managerial positions in FDI companies, provision to close the company anytime with three months notifications, provisions for creating labor supply agencies thereby shifting the responsibility to manage labor, creating of economic processing zones and special zones for exempting labor law......... Contrast to Karl Marx, King Gyanendra seems to have adopted a dictum, “workers of Nepal unite, and you have everything to lose”....this proposed amendment will help to bring closer together ever antagonistic Maoist affiliated trade unions and multiparty supporting trade unions to have joint effort to ditch, to borrow the words of Dr. Bhattarai in jungle, this Shah regime into the trash box of history – for once for all.

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