Nepali Times

Acid victims want justice

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015
Acid attack victim Sangita Magar

Chameli Magar (left) with daughter Sangita. Pic: Devaki Bista

The mother of the girl who got severe burn injuries in an acid attack early this week in Kathmandu has urged the police to arrest the culprit.

“When will they (the police) arrest him (the culprit)?” asks Chameli Magar, whose 16-year-old daughter Sangita is now undergoing treatment at Kathmandu Medical College (KMC).

“I want to see his (the culprit’s) face. I want to know why he destroyed my daughter’s life.”

In the wee hours of Sunday, an unidentified man threw acid at Sangita while she was waiting for her tuition class to begin in Jhonchhe, Kathmandu. Acid has burnt her face and hands.

Sima Basnet, 15, who was sitting next to Sangita in the same room, also got some burns. She is now undergoing treatment at Bir Hospital. Her condition is not as critical as Sangita’s.

According to Chameli, Sangita rushed home and fell on the ground shortly after being attacked with acid. “Before she fainted, she asked me not to spare the culprit,” says Chameli.

Two days after the incident, police has yet to find the perpetrator who threw acid on Sangita and Sima.

Sangita’s parents make a living by washing dishes. Chameli says she is too poor to bear the medical expenses for Sangita’s treatment but does not want to beg for money.

“My relatives, friends and neighbors gave me around Rs 50,000,” she says. “I spent all that money in just three days. I do not want to go around asking people for money.”

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged the police to identify and arrest the culprit at the earliest.

On Tuesday, school students carried out a rally demanding justice for Sangita and Sima.

Devaki Bista

Interview with Chameli Magar


Maoists revive YCL

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

211Hundreds of youths holding red flags and batons came out on the streets of Kathmandu on Tuesday.

They rallied protesters from different areas to throng the Exhibition Road of Kathmandu.

They were all wearing red caps, which had ‘YCL’ printed on them. The YCL stands for Young Communist League, the most notorious youth organisation of the UCPN (Maoist).

This is the first time the UCPN (M) has organised a rally of the YCL in the last few years. The YCL was dormant after it faced criticism for its violent activities.

The YCL rally took place just four days before what the UCPN (Maoist) says would be their biggest show of strength.

On 28 February, the UCPN (Maoist)-led alliance of opposition parties is organising a mass rally in Kathmandu to put pressure on the NC and the UML to write a new constitution through a consensus. The UCPN (M) has firmly instructed all their cadres to participate in the rally.

Addressing the YCL cadres, the UCPN (M) leader Janardan Sharma said: “Carrying batons is not our choice but compulsion. We felt the need to carry batons to write the new constitution as per the spirit of our past political movements.”

Sharma, who is also in-charge of mobilising volunteers, said the YCL will remain active unless the new constitution is written.

The ruling NC- UML and the opposition UCPN (Maosit)-Madhesi have not held talks after the Constituent Assembly (CA) initiated a vote on the contents of the new constitution.

Earlier, the opposition wanted the ruling coalition to halt the voting process for talks to resume. However, even after the CA Chair Subhas Nembang halted the voting process, talks have not resumed.

Both sides are now waiting for the 28 February rally. By bringing hundreds of thousands of people to Kathmandu on that day, the UCPN (Maoist) wants to prove that they have people’s support. On the other hand, a poor turnout will force the opposition to compromise on their stance.


To sing or to leave

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015


From the Nepali Press, Himal Khabarpatrika

19-year-old Somea Baraili became an overnight star when her duet Jaalma, with Kali Prasad Baskota for the upcoming movie Resham Filili, went viral on YouTube last month. Catchy lyrics and typical Nepali-way of singing have helped the song get over 900,000 views, and the official video of the song hasn’t even been released.

Baraili landed the gig when producer and actor of the movie, Vinay Shrestha, heard her singing at a restaurant. She had been singing since a young age and has not taken any professional singing lessons. It shows talent can be appreciated with or without formal training as evidenced by the singer.

She is ecstatic because of her new found fame but it has also put her in a dilemma. A first year undergraduate student, she had plans to go abroad to study before the singing opportunity landed on her lap. “Now that I am getting good offers for songs, I don’t know whether to go or not,” says Baraili.

Apart from Jaalma, other songs from the movie including the title song Resham Filili and let’s get lucky tonight have gathered much accolade.  The audience is eagerly waiting for the movie to be released 24 April only based on the popularity of the songs.

Read the original article 

Simara protest called off

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

After nearly a week of violent protests, life is returning to normalcy in Simara, the second biggest town of Bara district.

Unlike in the last two days, there were no clashes between police and protesters on Tuesday. Vehicles also started moving along the Birgunj-Pathalaiya road, which was blocked by protesters for the last few days.

The local residents of Simara had imposed an indefinite general strike since 20 February, protesting against the withdrawal of the government’s decision to establish branches of Land Revenue, Land Survey and Mapping Offices.

Late on Monday night, a struggle committee formed by the residents of Simara called off all types of protest programs. Bhola Adhikari, coordinator of the struggle committee, said they decided to call off their agitation as it was turning violent and was spiraling out of control.

At a press conference in Simara on Tuesday, Adhikari said, “We will keep fighting for our demands but in a peaceful way.” According to Adhikari, they will submit a memorandum to Prime Minister Sushil Koirala about their demands.

Local leaders of the NC, the UML, the MJF-Nepal and the RPP-Nepal have backed the struggle committee’s decision. However, the UCPN (Maoist) is against the decision, and has warned of continuing protest programs.

The locals of Simara were agitated after the government rolled back its decision to establish branches of Land Revenue, Land Survey and Mapping Offices there. The government was forced to take that decision after the residents of Kalaiya, the district headquarters of Bara, carried out violent protests for several days.

The residents of Kalaiya were opposed to the government’s decision. They believed that establishing Land Revenue, Land Survey and Mapping Offices in Simara would affect their economic activities.


Reluctant Madhes

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015


After the CA Chair Subhas Nembang, apparently under pressure from the ruling coalition, initiated a vote on the new constitution, the opposition alliance has been on the warpath. The Maoist-Madhesi parties have not withdrawn their protest programs even after Nembang halted the voting process.

The UCPN (M) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal has declared Kathmandu, Madhes and ethnic strongholds of the hills as three fronts of their future protests. But, the Maoist and Madhesi leaders know they need to spearhead a strong agitation in the Madhes if they want to put pressure on the ruling coalition.

Reduced to a third party after the second CA elections, the Maoists are trying to regain some strength through street protests. On the other hand, the Madhesi parties also want to restore their foothold in the Madhesi through a political movement.

In remote villages of the southern plains, the locals, however, seem reluctant for a stir anytime soon. “It is not easy to make people hit the streets,” says Kaushalendra Srivastav, a local in Nawalparasi district. Srivastav feels people are annoyed with divisions among political parties.

The Maoist-Madhesi parties are not the only political players in the Madhes. CK Raut, who was arrested on the charge of treason and later freed, has increased his political activities. Matrika Yadav, who formed his own party when CPN (M) became UCPN (M), is also active in the Madhes. After serving a one-year jail term on the charge of corruption, JP Gupta is spearheading his Tarai-Madhes National Campaign. There has also been a surge in activities of armed groups.

The political landscape of the Madhes is rapidly changing. But, the parties that claim to be champions of the cause of the Madhesi people seem oblivious.

The people of Madhes are frustrated with the prolonged political deadlock and politically-incorrect statements by the ruling party leaders, particularly UML Chief KP Oli, has further antagonised the locals. Separatists like CK Raut have made the best out of this political fallout.

The ruling NC-UML and the opposition Maoist-Madhesi apparently have differences over status of five districts of Madhes (Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari in the east and Kailali and Kanchanpur in the west) in the new federal set up.  While the ruling parties want these districts to be clubbed with hill provinces, the opposition parties want all the districts predominated by the Madhesi to remain as part of the southern provinces.

Chakradhar Pandey, a local MJF-Nepal leader in Kapilvastu, who played a key role in the Madhes movement, says if there is another movement in the Madhes, it will be directed not only against the ruling coalition but also the Madhesi parties. He says the Madhesi parties have failed to fight for the Madhesi people’s aspirations for autonomy and self-rule.

In the past, the parties paid a price for ignoring anger simmering in the Madhes. Girija Prasad Koirala failed to read the writing on the wall, which led to the Madhes movement in 2007. Similarly, Maoist aggression against Madhesi activists during the same period made them unpopular during the first CA elections. And, the electoral defeat of the Madhes-based parties in the second CA elections is a reminder that those who fail to live up to expectations of the people are punished accordingly.

It is not the first time the Madhesi people are demanding autonomy. In fact, it was first raised in the 1950s by Nepal Terai Congress, whose leaders fought alongside Nepali Congress (NC) veterans against the Rana oligarchy. In the 1980s, Gajendra Narayan Singh-led Sadbhawana Party had demanded autonomy of Madhes from hill administration but was snubbed by Kathmandu for being a ‘seperatist’ and ‘pro-Indian’.

Srivastav, who was a long time aide to Singh, believes attitude of the hill people towards the Madhesi people is at the root of the demand for a self rule in the Madhes. ‘People of Madhes want to be citizens of this country on their own terms, and if Kathmandu does not respect their desire, they will never be emotionally integrated in the national mainstream,’ says he.

Common people in the Madhes still believe that the parties will eventually find a peaceful solution to their problems. That is why they have deliberately refrained from reacting to opposition’s posturing against the ruling coalition. But, if the leaders in Kathmandu over-read their electoral mandate to disregard the agendas raised by the 2007 movement, there is now doubt the Madhesi people will rise again for a movement.

And, no now knows how far people will go this time around.

Read also:

Cracks in the Madhesi Front

A stir within


Simara simmers

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

8Tensions are running high in Simara, the second biggest town in Bara district, for more than a week now.

Outraged by the government’s move to roll back its own decision to establish branches of Land Revenue, Land Survey and Mapping Offices in Simara, the locals have called a general strike since 20 February.

The residents of Simara are clashing with police almost every day. Police have barricaded some sensitive areas but protestors are vandalizing government properties by entering into the restricted zone.

More than 25 people were injured in sporadic clashes that lasted for three hours between police and protestors on Monday. A protestor, identified by police as Bhola Thapa, lost one of his fingers during a clash. He has been airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment.

A day before, nearly two dozens of people were injured in the clashes. Protestors had even vandalized an ambulance carrying passengers.

Police on Monday stormed into a local FM radio office and damaged properties. Bara police Chief SP Lokendra Malla said police entered there as protestors were pelting stones from inside.

simara 3Earlier, the district headquarters of Bara, Kalaiya, was tense for several days. Locals in Kalaiya had protested against the government’s decision to establish Land Revenue, Land Survey and Mapping Offices in Simara.

After days of violent protests by the residents of Kalaiya, the government rolled back its decision, outraging the locals of Simara. Until Monday evening, the government has not taken any decision with regards to demands put forth by the locals of Simara.

The Simara folks say the government must implement its previous decision to establish branches of three public offices there. On the other hand, the locals of Kalaiya say they will again take to streets if the government gives in to demands by the locals of Simara.

Simara is a new town developed only after the construction of the East-West highway. With an airport in it and a highway nearby, Simara is rapidly overtaking Kalaiya as Bara’s biggest city.  Kalaiya is an older town and people residing there believe that their economic activities will be affected if more public offices are set up in Kalaiya.

By Shyam Gupta



Show of strength

Friday, February 20th, 2015

2G8A9414In a bid to increase their bargaining power while negotiating with the ruling NC-UML parties, the UCPN (M)-led alliance of 30 opposition parties is gearing up for what it says will be a decisive street agitation.

The UCPN (M) and its allies are leaving no stone unturned to stage a show of strength on 28 February. They are preparing to bring thousands of cadres to Kathmandu from across the country for a mass rally.

They say the 28 February rally will be culmination of a series of protest programs, which they have been carrying out after a panel was formed in the Constituent Assembly (CA) to hold a vote on the contents of the new constitution.

The UCPN (M) and the Madhesi Front had set a precondition that they would resume talks with the NC and the UML only after cancellation or suspension of the voting process in the CA.

However, talks are yet to restart even though the CA Chair Subhas Nembang has already suspended the voting process by postponing the CA session for an indefinite period.

It seems that the UCPN (M) and the Madhesi Front will resume talks only after proving relevance of their political agendas through the 28 rally. The NC and the UML are also waiting for this day, hoping that failure of the 28 February rally will further diminish the opposition’s bargaining power.

The UCPN (M)-led alliance has warned of taking actions against those of their cadres who will not turn up in their show of strength.

“All those who are affiliated to any of our 30 parties will have to necessarily come to Kathmandu,” said Prem Bahadur Singh, spokesperson for the alliance. “If they don’t, they will face actions from their respective parties. We have also asked our party members to come to Kathmandu from abroad.”

However, the UCPN (M) leader Top Bahadur Rayamajhi says participation in the 28 February rally is not compulsory and no action will be taken against those who do not participate.

However, a UCPN (M) leader told Nepali Times that those who will not participate in this protest program will lose their membership. “It’s a do or die situation for us,” said he.

Om Astha Rai