State Vandalism in Nepal

King Gyanendra would call his foreign tour that included his participation in the Asian-African Summit 2005 a successful one – mainly because the Indian Government did the U-turn about the military aid. At the summit, he reiterated his commitment to democracy and put forward some points supporting his February 1 coup that had definitely earned him some good fame.

But saying and doing are two different things and that can be entirely different: the King proved it.

On April 25, plain-cloth policemen vandalized the central office of the Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) or CPN (UML) – the second largest political party of the nation, when the party was mourning death of a leader – Sadhana Pradhan – the wife of first elected communist prime minister of the world Man Mohan Adhikari.

If you think this a party propaganda, read the statement from the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), whose chairman supported the King’s move in the international forum which drew much criticism. According to reports, Nayan Bahadur Khatri said after the inspection: “This is foolish act and we will take necessary action.”

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Municipal Election: For Covering Up the Death of Democracy

The King has announced that there would be municipal election in the country within a year. The Election Commission said they had already started updating voters’ list to fulfill the ‘wish of the King’. The political parties said they would not participate in the election unless there is democracy and freedom in the country.

So what’s next? I believe there will be municipal election soon – no problem if the parties choose to stay out (that will be even better for the King and there will be small parties willing to participate to benefit from the opportunity), no problem if the turnout is low, no problem whatsoever with the results. The King wants to show the world that he believes in the democracy and thus using the election (considered worldwide as a mean of exercising democratic power by the people) as a tool to deceive the international communities.

The result of municipal election is going to have no problem for the King because a) the elected body will have no power in the high level, and b) even if they try to do something like that the King has already implemented a plan to stop that by appointing his men as zonal-chiefs in 14 zones and regional chiefs in five development regions (Politically Nepal is divided into 5 Development Regions, 14 Zones and 75 districts).

So there can be nothing better for the King to show the world his ‘democratic commitment’ than by holding election. You will see how the authority will try to show the municipal election as a democratic process and the international media will be tried to utilize by feeding such information that this election is a first step to show the King’s commitment towards democracy.

And, since he has said the election within one year, the international communities would be forced to wait and see it for a year. And after election, the King would try to persuade them for continue stopped support for Nepal. But I believe the international communities should understand the situation – and believe that unless the King steps down and give away the executive powers to the people’s representatives, there will be no democracy in Nepal.

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AFC President’s Cup Football: For Nepal’s Pride

AFC LogoAFC President’s Cup is a football tournament that would be participated by national champion clubs of eight Asian nations that falls under category C of AFC’s classification. What eludes the clubs most is the prize money – US$ 50,000 for the winner and US $ 25,000 for the runners-up. The tournament originally planned in Nepal was nearly lost due to security and flood-light problems but a team of AFC after inspection okayed Nepal as the venue and Nepali football fans are eagerly awaiting for the event.

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Remembering 2 0 4 6 – C H A I T R A – 2 6

I was 11-year-old, studying in standard six. Since one of my uncles, Jagnath Acharya, was the Nepali Congress activist, I had heard about the meeting at Ganesh Man Singh’s residence and the announcement of People’s Movement. I didn’t know what it all meant – when I asked my father he told me with his childhood experience of 2007 that the political activists would take out rallies for democracy. “What will happen with democracy?” “You can vote, you can chose the prime minister and you can speak anything.”

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English!? .. Oh My God!

How difficult is English language? If you ask the students of private schools, they will say not very hard; students from public schools will give the different answer. English, a compulsory subject for School Leaving Certificate (SLC) examination has ended thousands of dreams of studying in campuses. Government has time and again introduced a few ideas and changed curriculum to make sure much more find the subject easier. I was a monitor of English Speaking and Listening Test that carries 20 marks in SLC today and all that was proved once again.

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Press: Support King or Die

It is what the King’s government is saying to the press. Like every undemocratic ruler, the King can’t tolerate any criticism and has said ‘there would be no state advertisement for the newspaper that does not support the nation and crown.’

This is a big blow of small newspaper, especially weeklies which are more vibrant in criticizing the government.’ Most of them run on small investment and don’t have sales or advertisement to support them fully. The government used to provide ads to them according to their classification performed by government agency. It was of a great support for them.

A weekly, Jana Astha, published a main story revealing the new circular by the government asking all the government offices not to provide ads to newspaper other than those run by state. They published the circular and it went wide – dailies and other paper carried the news. And minister for communication and information Tanka Dhakal had to speak about it (two weeks after the decision).

“We are seriously thinking of giving incentives to those media working for the nation and the crown, so we have stopped giving ads to the private media temporarily,” Dhakal said in a press conference.

All this comes after the media censorship that still prohibits newspaper to write freely.

And the authority is also following a double standard about news of the rebels – Maoists. The army Directorate of Public Relations is issuing daily dispatches about the death of the rebels and their surrenders, but are prohibiting media even to write a word not included in the dispatches. The authority in Pokhara summoned three reporters for reporting the torching to seven vehicles by the rebels (while the government, before the news was published, decided to compensate the vehicle owners).

This is a clear message by the King to the press: either support me or you will be left to die.

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Nepali Congress leader released from house arrest

Girija Prasad Koirala, Nepal’s most influential political leader and the chairman of Nepali Congress, has been released from house-arrest today, the best day in the whole year to release him because it’s an April Fool day and the Monarchy of Nepal wants to fool the world by reiterating its commitment to democracy (people’s will).

Koirala, who has been Nepal’s prime minister for three times, is being taken as the only leader capable of leading the movement against the King’s Feb 1 move despite his detiorated image, and his release would certainly boost the morale of those who have already taken to the roads. With Koirala, 258 other arrested political activists have also been released.

The release of Koirala is the King’s attempt to show India that he is true to his words – he had urged India to give him 100 days. And although India has welcomed his release, it is unlikely that they will be impressed by this. Lately, there has been a few articles in Indian newspaper indicating that Nepal has joined the anti-Indian group by enfriending Pakistan and China. That impression will do no good for the country.

India has also demanded release of other leaders, including the general secretary of Nepal Communist Party – United Marxist Lennist Madhav Kumar Nepal and to curb all the restrictions on fundamental rights.

“For Koirala, as for other top political leaders similarly penalised under the king’s state of emergency, house arrest has not only meant being confined at home. It also involved an almost total severance of communications such as phone lines and the cutting of their access to independent media.” – according to BBC, UK.

BBC added: “Others, however, remain confined or detained, including the leader of the country’s second biggest party, Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is reported to be in poor health. Strict media censorship means it is difficult to know how many detainees there are.”

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