Nepali Times

CIAA’s vengeful Act

Friday, April 22nd, 2016
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kanak

The Federation of Nepalese Journalists (Himalmedia Chapter) has issued the following statement strongly condemning the detention of co-publisher Kanak Mani Dixit on 22 April:

Himalmedia co-publisher Kanak Mani Dixit was detained on Friday afternoon from near his office in Patan Dhoka in Kathmandu on the direct orders of the Chairman of the Commission to Investigate the Abuse of Authority (CIAA).

There are several indications that this was a deliberately vengeful act by the Chairman against Mr Dixit:

  1. He was detained on Friday just before the courts closed to prevent being freed on bai
  2. He is locked up in a common jail cell for petty criminals at Gaushala Police Circle
  3. He was put in the cell despite having elevated blood pressure of 190/90
  4. He has been kept in a jail cell and not the CIAA’s own detention centre

Mr Dixit had been critical in his regular columns about the appointment of Mr Lok Man Singh Karki to head the CIAA three years ago, for which the high-level Rayamajhi Commission had accused him of being involved as Chief Secretary in crackdowns on pro-democracy protesters in the last days of King Gyanendra rule exactly 10 years ago. Mr Dixit and other pro-democracy activists had also been detained for two weeks by the royal regime at that time.

Mr Dixit was mentioned in a list put out by the CIAA in November of individuals it said were ‘under investigation for amassing disproportionate wealth’. Earlier this month, he was asked to present himself at the CIAA to which Mr Dixit had replied on Wednesday that the CIAA didn’t have jurisdiction to issue such an order, and that it went against the spirit of a Supreme Court decision in November that questioning the basis on which the accusations of financial irregularities were made against him.

We condemn this action taken by the CIAA against a journalist, a pro-democracy and human rights activist. He is being detained in inhuman conditions, and we demand an immediate end to his physical and psychological harassment. Mr Dixit should be released unconditionally forthwith.

Federation of Nepalese Journalists (Himalmedia Chapter)

 


CIAA detains Dixit

Friday, April 22nd, 2016
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kanakThe Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) arrested journalist Kanak Mani Dixit from Patan Dhoka on Friday.

A team of police sent by the CIAA arrested Dixit, co-publisher of Himalmedia and also the Chair of Sajha Yatayat on the charge of ‘misappropriation of money’.

The CIAA had been investigating a corruption case against Dixit. In its arrest warrant, the CIAA said ‘his explanation was not satisfactory’. The letter further stated: ‘Since you (Kanak Mani Dixit) need to be investigated on the accusation that you had amassed disproportionate wealth you are required to accompany the police. Otherwise, they will take you by force.”

Before taken into custody, Dixit told journalists: “I was arrested by the Gyanendra regime at the same spot, now CIAA Chair Lok Man Singh Karki is arresting me in this so-called democracy.”


Ambassadors at large

Thursday, April 21st, 2016
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From the Nepali Press

Editorial in Kantipur, 21 April

For the past three years, ambassadorial appointments have been delayed due to political wrangling. This week, the cabinet finally recommended 21 envoys to head Nepali diplomatic missions around the world.  But that brings more criticism than cheer.

Out of the 21 nominees, eight are career diplomats and the rest are individuals close to the ruling parties. The remaining quota for Oman has been reserved for Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Loktantrik.

It’s a long standing tradition in Nepal to fill half the diplomatic positions with political appointees regardless of qualification or capability. The political appointees are more often than not still politically active. The same trend has been repeated — another lost opportunity.

An ambassador represents the entire country. As a diplomat, the ambassador plays an important role in the relations between two countries. There are many examples where political appointees have gone against diplomatic norms to serve the party agenda.

On the other hand, in the absence of a parliamentary committee, it will still take some time before the envoys can assume office. In order to avoid further delays, it is imperative that the parliament introduce bylaws and form the committee.

The government has also appointed an envoy for Austria where Nepal doesn’t have a resident mission. At a time when voices are being raised to close down unnecessary embassies, this move cannot be justified. In the past Nepal’s embassy was opened in Canada after the Girija Prasad Koirala-led government appointed an ambassador to Canada. The government should stop opening embassies just to create jobs for party cadre. Instead it should focus on managing the present embassies properly and closing embassies that are not needed.


Muslim-Hindu amity

Wednesday, April 20th, 2016
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Hindu muslim

From the Nepali Press

Gani Ansari in BBC Nepali Service, 11 April

I am a Muslim. He is a Hindu. Nearly 25 years ago, when our society was more conservative than it is today, our grandmothers tied the knot of life-long friendship, referred to as miteri saino in Nepal, between us.

At that time, neither I nor he knew the difference between Islam and Hinduism. It was not my choice to be a Muslim, nor was it his choice to be a Hindu. We grew up together, and we still celebrate our friendship free of any religious prejudices. But when I read or hear about sectarian violence, I wonder why people following separate religions cannot be friends like us.

I and my friend, Ram Narayan Gupta, looked somewhat similar when we were children. That was why our grandmothers made us friends. We always valued our friendship beyond religion.

I came to Kathmandu for higher education, but I still visit my friend in the village at least twice a year to celebrate Eid and Holi. Some Hindus do not drink water touched by their Muslim neighbours. Some Muslims do not drink water in Hindu households. But Ram Narayan and me eat together, without fearing religious consequences. My Eid is joyless without my Hindu friend. His Holi is joyless without me, a Muslim. He always cooks halal meat whenever I visit him.

A few months ago, my friend invited me to his marriage ceremony. I took leave from my office to attend his wedding in Bisrampur of Parsa district. I reached home, dropped my bags, and went to my friend’s house. He had bought me a sherwani, his relatives wanted to apply henna on my hand. I felt shy, but they insisted. And I had to comply.

The next day, I accompanied my friend to bring home his bride. I sat next to him right  through all the Hindu rituals. The priest chanted Hindu mantras for hours, which was different to my culture. In Muslim society, the Maulana needs no more than a few minutes to complete the ritual of marriage.

It is not just marriage that sets us apart from Hindus. We bury our dead, they cremate theirs. We need to take bath before participating in last rites, they take bath only after taking part in funeral. Allah is the only god to us, the Hindus have countless gods. In spite of these differences, we have been friends over the last two decades. Our inter-religious friendship flourished because we always respected each other’s faith. The azan’s call blaring out of the loud speaker of our mosque never disturbed him. The ringing bells at their temples never irritated me.

We have learnt to value our interfaith friendship and religious harmony from our parents. Even now, when the Hindus in our village organise a religious yagya, we Muslims always contribute. When we build a mosque, they are ready to help us. But I feel Nepali society’s traditional harmony is now being divided by caste, ethnicity and religious groups. If we cannot nip it in the bud, we will regret losing our historical religious coexistence.


Nepal names new envoys

Tuesday, April 19th, 2016
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Nepal on Tuesday chose new ambassadors to 21 countries. A cabinet meeting recommended the names of new ambassadors, mostly chosen by the ruling parties and the rest from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Former Foreign Affairs Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey, a leader of the ruling UML, has been chosen as Nepal’s new ambassador to China. Nepal is trying to strengthen its trade ties with China after the recent Indian blockade, and the UML-led government seems to have chosen a high-profile candidate to explore new frontiers of partnership with the northern neighbour.

The government has also recommended new ambassadors to major labour destination countries for Nepali migrant workers, including Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and UAE.

Here is the list of new ambassadors.

 

From UML

Mahendra Pandey, China

Narad Bharadwaj, Sri Lanka

Shiva Maya Thumbahamphe, Israel

Ali Akhtar Mikraji, Saudi Arabia

Khadka KC, Japan

From UCPN (M)

Yubanath Lamshal, Denmark

Lakki Sherpa, Australia

Padam Sundas, Bahrain
Mahendra Singh, Qatar

From RPP-Nepal

Niranjan Thapa, Russia

Khagendra Basnet

Bharat Rayamajhi

From the MoFA

Tara Prakash Pokharel, Brasil
Ramesh Khanal, Germany

Prakash Subedi, Austria
Lok Bahadur Thapa, Belgium

Sewa Lamsal, Pakistan

Jhabindra Aryal, Egypt

Rishikesh Ghimire, Myanmar

Durga Bahadur Chhetri, Britain

 

 


Deuba goes to Delhi

Monday, April 18th, 2016
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One month after being elected as the Nepali Congress president and one week after becoming the party’s parliamentary leader, three-time Prime Minister Sher Bahdur Deuba flew to New Delhi on Monday.

Deuba, accompanied only by his personal secretary, reached New Delhi to look after his wife, Arzoo Rana Deuba who had reached India last week for a surgery. Deuba has downplayed his India visit, saying ‘it is apolitical’ but NC sources say he will meet some Indian leaders while in New Delhi for six days.

Deuba is known as a veteran political coup-maker with a reputation for toppling incumbents, and he is visiting India at a time when speculation is rife that the main opposition is trying to topple the UML-Maoist-RPP (N) coalition government. Deuba’s aides have publicly claimed that the KP Oli government will not unveil the next budget plan in mid July.

NC leader Khum Bahadur Khadka, who backed Deuba to become the party president, is also in New Delhi. Khadka has been leading a campaign to restore Nepal as a Hindu state within the NC, which has officially embraced secularism after the 2006 Democracy Movement.

The fact that Deuba and Khadka have reached New Delhi at the same time has added to speculation in Kathmandu that India is backing Madhesi parties not for readjustment of federal boundaries but for restoration of the erstwhile Hindu state.

Before flying to New Delhi, Deuba also met top Madhesi leaders and promised to address their grievances. After a hiatus of two months, Madhesi parties are preparing to launch a new agitation to exert pressure on the big parties, including Deuba’s NC, to amend the constitution.


Trekking is child’s play

Sunday, April 17th, 2016
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YUWEI LIEW

Rosie and Freddie Mundell are among the youngest people in the world who can say they’ve been to both sides of Mt Everest. The young trekkers along with their parents had trekked to the northern Base Camp on the Tibetan side two years ago when they were just seven and five.

This month, the family returned to the base of world’s highest mountain from the Nepal side and even made it up to Camp I at 5,943m. Parents Neil and Polly Mundell say their goal was not to make or break any records.

“It was just the right time for us to make this trip,” said Polly. “Both of us have plenty of high-altitude experience, and we had a brilliant expedition team, which is why we felt safe bringing the kids up to Base Camp.”

A penchant for scaling heights certainly seems to run in the family. The couple met in Ecuador while climbing Mt Cotopaxi and although their attempt to summit it was unsuccessful, the pair hit it off from there. Rosie and Freddie are clearly following their parents’ footsteps when it comes to their love for the mountains.

From the children’s point of view, the hardest part of the journey wasn’t the physical demands or the altitude. “The scariest part was the flight to Lukla,” said Rosie. “The plane just kept shaking and shaking.”

The parents said their children handled the trek remarkably well, attributing their success to the preparation they had undergone. “We brought the kids up to Wales to do a lot of walking before we came over, and we made sure to teach them about earthquake safety,” said Neil. “The first night we were here, we simulated an earthquake drill and got them to go the corners of the room with strong structural support.”

Polly also stressed the importance of addressing the children’s fears beforehand.

“Because we had these conversations about earthquakes, they’re not going to be as scared as they would be if something happens that they don’t fully understand or expect.”

Polly and Neil also hope the trip would allay any concerns of their friends that Nepal was unsafe to visit after the earthquake, and know many who had cancelled their Nepal treks.  They say trekking tourism is the best way to help Nepal recover.

While weighing the risks of visiting Nepal a year after the earthquake, Neil, a geologist, explained that there was actually a lower risk of a big earthquake occurring again so soon.

“Once the tectonic tension is released after a big earthquake, you’ll get aftershocks of smaller and smaller sizes. So the chances of having a second big earthquake are actually slimmer,” he explained. But the couple acknowledged that while life has its risks, they would not be stopped by their fear of the unknown.

“We were very conscious of the reality of an earthquake. With Nepal’s geological position, I think it’s inevitable,” said Polly. “But it’s like terrorism. You can’t let these things scare you or put you off.”


 

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