Sunday, April 29, 2007

White Paper: A Major Diaspora Milestone

A White Paper: Some Perspectives of North American Nepali Diaspora on Terai Conflicts

We, the individual members of Nepali Diaspora in North America, have been very supportive of the recent democratic movement in Nepal. It is our firm belief that democratic governance based on the rule of law and the embodiment of the principles of inclusion, equality, accountability, transparency, and responsibility is the best route for empowering Nepali people. We view the formation of the interim Government and preparation for the Constituent Assembly elections as welcome steps towards consolidating the democratic process in the country.

We, the concerned members of Nepali Diaspora, however, are deeply troubled by the recent developments in the Terai, and dissatisfied with the handling of these developments by the Government. The deadly incidents in Nepalganj, Lahan, Gaur and many other places in the Terai demonstrate failure of the Government to engage the leaders of Madhesh movement towards resolution of the Terai issue. Continuation of Madheshi and other ethnic movements are not conducive to conduct CA elections in time.

We believe the current situation arose from some major missteps in the transition process. The hastily promulgated interim constitution did not fully reflect the aspirations of the people. It failed to include the grievances of Madheshi, Janajati, Dalit, Women, and other traditionally marginalized ethnic communities. For example, the composition of the recently formed interim Government also does not reflect the proportional inclusiveness - a promise contained in Prime Minister G P Koirala’s second address to the nation after the Madhesh movement.

We have great hopes for a peaceful and democratic Nepal. Grieved by the continued violence, strikes and political stalemate on the Madhesh issues, the members of Nepali Diaspora have collectively realized that the Government of Nepal, contemporary Nepali political and civic society leaderships and mainstream media should pay an urgent attention to the problem and the major stakeholders need to implement certain effective measures in order to break the cycle of violence and consolidate the peace process. With the goal of building a new and just Nepal, we issue this White Paper and make the following urgent recommendations:

To the Government of Nepal

1. The autocratic governments of the past systematically discriminated against Madheshi, Janjati, Dalit and Women at social, political and administrative levels. Unfortunately, many of those practices were not corrected even during democratic regimes that followed Jana-Andolan I. Democracy that has emerged from Jan Andolan II must end all such discriminatory practices immediately, in law and in practice.

2. An impartial commission should be formed immediately to probe various incidents that took place in the Terai over the last few months. The findings of the commission formed to investigate into the Nepalganj incidents should be made public. Those responsible for violence and improper handling of the situation in Nepalganj, Gaur, Lahan, and elsewhere should be punished.

3. We acknowledge the contribution of Home Minister K. P. Sitaula for the peace process. However, his administration failed to responsibly handle the Madhesh movement. We believe that Mr. Sitaula’s resignation, at this point, will not only help heal the hurt feelings of the Madheshi citizens of Nepal but also create conducive environment for dialogue with leaders of Madhesh movement.

4. We welcome the decision of the interim Government to form a new talk team headed by Minister Ram Chandra Poudel. We strongly urge the talk team to use all the formal and informal channels to facilitate dialogue with agitating and rebel groups. The interim Government should clearly delegate all necessary power to the talk team so that the agitating groups could be assured that the Government is serious in resolving all issues.

5. The Election Commission has made it clear that the Constituent Assembly elections cannot be held by June 20. The Government should achieve a political consensus to defer the Constitution Assembly polls for a few months and take this opportunity to create an environment for a free, fair, and inclusive election by seeking a viable solution through a dialogue with the agitating groups.

To the Interim Parliament

1. Members of Diaspora living in North America realize that mere constitutional declaration of equality and of the principle of non-discrimination does not change the real situation. Practical changes require specific legal provisions and defined authorities to enforce those provisions. We urge the Parliament to immediately pass anti-discriminatory laws and create an independent commission to investigate any allegations of discrimination against any ethnic groups in public employments (such as in civil, police and military services).

2. The proposed election bills should ensure constitutional guarantees for an inclusive constituent assembly.

To the Madheshi People’s Right Forum (MPRF)

1. The MPRF should publicly denounce violence and vandalism and show a mature political leadership with sufficient flexibilities to negotiate with the Government. They should be alert not to allow infiltration of miscreants into their movement.

2. The MPRF should restrain its cadres from attacking public and private property and common citizens during its protests and should take responsibility when such attacks occur.

To the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M)

1. The CPN (M) should immediately stop all acts of extortion, intimidation and violence and should adhere to the commitments made in the Comprehensive Peace Treaty.

2. The CPN (M) should not interfere with peaceful programs and activities of other political parties and organizations. They should allow the Government to take charge of any law and order problems.

To the United Nation (UN), Diplomatic Missions and other International organizations

1. The UN and other diplomatic missions should encourage and facilitate dialogue between the Government of Nepal and agitating groups as well as armed rebels of the Terai, relating to their legitimate demands for equality, inclusiveness, fair representation and human rights.

2. We believe that addressing these issues is an integral part of the establishment of sustainable democracy in Nepal and, thus, urge the UN and diplomatic missions to help the stakeholders of Nepal to achieve this goal.

Lastly, the list of the signatories of the White Paper shall be maintained by Mr. Lalit Jha, and can be obtained through an e-mail request at

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Chitralekha Yadav And Friends

There was an invite in my inbox from ambassador Madhuji for Tuesday evening. Paramendraji, will you come? I replied back saying I am honored he asked me. So I showed up at his fancy Upper East Side residence Tuesday evening. I was the first to show.

It was to be an elaborate evening. The visiting Nepali dignitaries showed. Most of the politically active Nepali leaders in the city had been invited. I missed Anil Shahi though. He just so happens to be the staunchest republican in the city I know. Karma Gyalden Sherpa and his GFIPN comrades were also conspicuous by their absence.

I was a nice guy. I went for orange juice. No fancy drinks for me. Later on there was Desi dinner, and dessert. Lalmohan, yoghurt, icecream. I had a second serving of yoghurt. The ambassador's wife insisted I also take a second serving of icecream, so I did. I have met the couple at many a Nepali event. They are the ex officio chief guests at most events.

The first evening I was not able to much break ice with Chitralekha Yadav, neither with Arjun Narsingh KC. Maybe it was jet lag on their part. But I knew I had a morning event at the Asia Society and an evening program in Jackson Heights the following day. I had time. The following morning I was able to break ice with both. I mean, I did have a conversation with her the first evening, but I think she was trying to make herself available to many across the room, and not just to the fellow Madhesi. She was being inclusive.

The following morning I had her laughing by calling Sanjaya Parajuli "Siraha ko Pahariya." Both are from Siraha, both have Nepal Students' Union backgrounds.

At the Upper East Side gathering I had elaborate conversations with the Home Secretary Umesh Mainali and the former Speaker Daman Nath Dhungana.

"Bhagat bhaneko tapain nai ho? Tapain ko email ai rakhya hunchha ta!" Damanji said. (So you are Bhagat? I keep getting emails from you.)

UML leader Bhim Rawal said something similar. "I recognized you immediately," he said. "I don't know how you got my email address."

Bureaucrat Mohan Banjade also had a mouthful for my blog the following morning. "Your blog has made all the difference, especially to us bureaucrats. We download it all the time."

When I was on the road I used to download Foreign Affairs articles. My free nights and weekends did not cover days. So I would log in, download and log out fast I could.

Ambassador Madhu Raman Acharya introduced me to "my former boss" Prakash Sharan Mahat who called me "the man to watch" a few different times. Mahat has been foreign minister before. I found him to be very engaging and impressive. And he has a Gmail account. It tells me a lot about a person when he has a Gmail account. Mahat was educated in the west, just like his brother the Finance Minister Ram Sharan Mahat, like I was. But I have stayed back. They went home.

I launched a major tease game with Pramod Sitaula. We had had a heated discussion right after the Madhesi Kranti. Now we were playful. I have started calling him the "Chure Bhawar Kranti Ko Neta."

At the Asia Society event the following morning, I was at a front table, and I took cat naps through all speeches except that of Chitralekha Yadav. I went to bed late, and woke up too early, excited to meet the leaders again.

I was reading through the bios of all the leaders. I was so very impressed. They are well educated people with impressive resumes. The country is in good hands, I kept thinking. When I shared that impression with someone later in the evening, the rebuttal was, "If you are so impressed with these leaders, imagine how impressed you will be with Prachanda!"

I really liked the thrust Prakash Sharan Mahat gave to the democracy movement in Bhutan. We got to help rescue that country. It is right there in our backyard. We have to give all possible moral and logistical support.

I took a ton of pictures at the evening event in Jackson Heights. It was a basement location at Yak. All spoke well, but Chitralekha Yadav was outstanding. She was rightly the last speaker. My favorite part was when I got to ask her a question.

"You should be Nepal's president. Should we unite the two Congress factions, or should we break them up further and form a new party? What should we do to make you president?"

Chitralekha Yadav And Friends: Photos 3
Chitralekha Yadav And Friends: Photos 2
Chitralekha Yadav And Friends: Photos 1

Sahana Pradhan, Sarita Giri, Chitra Lekha Yadav, Pratibha Rana
Interim Speaker: Chitra Lekha Yadav
Chitralekha Yadav: Speaker

In The News

Deuba blames Maoists for CA polls deferral; Nepal for 8-party meet on monarchy NepalNews
PM intensifies diplomatic meetings
Poudel feels eight parties lack confidence
MJF is now a political party The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MFJ), a semi-political group which has been carrying out agitations in Terai, was registered with the Election Commission (EC) as a political party Thursday. A delegation of the MJF filed application at the EC for party registration along with required number signatures. Chaired by Upendra Yadav, the MJF has some former leaders of major political parties like the Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) as its leaders.
Refugee resettlement in US by January next year
JTMM (Jwala) kills civilian in Siraha
MJF protests ‘murder’ of its activist in Janakpur The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) called a shutdown strike in Janakpur on Thursday to protest the death of a person during confrontation with the police Wednesday. MJF said the deceased Padan Dev Thakur, 18, from Bharatpur VDC was its activist and he was killed in police firing. Thakur was killed when police opened fire in 'self defence' when the agitating members of the Chure Bhawar Ekta Samaj began attacking the vehicles used for a wedding procession at Bharatput along the East-west Highway. ..... Around a dozen other agitators were injured in the scuffle.
MJF bandh continues to trouble Terai region
India will support republic in Nepal: Yechuri
Koirala meets with Deuba The Madhesi MPs have said that fresh census should held and constituencies re-delineated based on that ahead of CA polls.

Australia to resettle 5000 Bhutanese refugees in Nepal, Nepal
Nepal hydel project gets fresh start with ADB loan, India
Nancy Powell to succeed Moriarty as US envoy to Nepal Malaysia Sun, Malaysia Powell has earlier served as US Ambassador to Pakistan, Ghana and Uganda.

Govt ready to hold dialogue with Madhesis, ethnic groups' Kantipur Stating that NC President Girija Prasad Koirala has already called for republicanism, Minister Poudel made it clear that NC is not in favour of continuing with the king
MPRF to contend in CA polls its newly designed – red, green and white striped with a single star in the middle -- party flag.
MPRF, LMM clash in Kapilvastu, two injured Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (LMM) .... The scuffle broke out when MPRF cadres opened their shops defying the two-day Kapilvastu banda announced by LMM. ...... During the clash the MPRF cadres vandalized the LMM office and set the furniture inside ablaze. .... The LMM had announced a two-day strike in Kapilvastu from today, demanding a federal setup. ..... Meanwhile, transport services in eastern Terai remained shut today as well due to the indefinite strike announced by the Chure-Bhawar Ekta Samaj. ....... the closure of the Terai stretch of the Mahendra Highway and Tribhuvan Path. ..... a separate Chure-Bhawar autonomous region including the Char Kose Jhadi area.
ँराजा मुख्य उल्लंघनकर्ता’
बंगलादेशमा १२ वर्ष थुनिएका नेपाली रिहा
फोरमद्वारा वार्ता टोली
एमाले-माओवादी कार्यगत एकता पहल छलफलमा एमाले महासचिव माधवकुमार नेपाल, अमृत बोहरा, भरतमोहन अधिकारी, वामदेव गौतम र विष्णु पौडेल तथा माओवादी अध्यक्ष प्रचण्ड, मोहन वैद्य -किरण), दीनानाथ शर्मा र वर्षान पुन सहभागी थिए । छलफलका लागि प्रचण्ड पहिलोपटक एमाले कार्यालयमा पुगेका हुन् । ...... मन्त्रिपरिषद्मा एक दलको बहुमतको सरकारको छनक आएको छ भन्नेमा दुवै पक्षको समान धारणा थियो
नौ दलद्वारा दर्ता निवेदन
अधिकारका लागि जुटे महिला

Chitralekha Yadav And Friends: Photos 3

Chitralekha Yadav And Friends: Photos 2
Chitralekha Yadav And Friends: Photos 1

Sahana Pradhan, Sarita Giri, Chitra Lekha Yadav, Pratibha Rana
Interim Speaker: Chitra Lekha Yadav
Chitralekha Yadav: Speaker