Vol 9 - No. 4


SOUTH ASIA: NEPAL                                                                                                                       News Briefs


       (Afghanistan and Myanmar in the 
         map are not members of SAARC)

Is Nepal becoming a Breeding Ground for Tibetan Revolt?


The fluid political environment in the country seems to be providing an opportunity not only for various internal interest groups but also for Tibetan refugees, who are fighting for 'free Tibet' for last 50 years.

The latest wave of agitation against Chinese rule in Tibet is planned alongside the celebration of 74th birth anniversary of the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan religious leader who operates his 'government-in-exile' from Dharmashala, northern India. Besides worldwide protests, Nepal has been the most strategic point for Tibetan movement as country borders Tibet while China wants Nepal to prevent the demonstrations of Tibetan exiles in Kathmandu and prevent them from sneaking into Tibet and involve in the 'Free Tibet' movement there.

Tibetans celebrate Lama's birthday Monday across the world, including Nepal. Fearing demonstrations or rallies, government has tightened the security in areas where the Chinese diplomatic offices and Tibetan settlements are located in Kathmandu. The local authorities outside the Kathmandu are also maintaining vigil against the possible protests of Tibetans.

Last year, Tibetans had staged a series of demonstrations in front of the Chinese embassy in Baluwatar and the Chinese visa office in Kamalpokharai.

Nepal has been adhering to one-China policy ever since the Chinese takeover of Tibet some five decades back, but the fear of Nepali soil being used against China has simply grown. Tibetans have chosen Mustang as a strategic place to fight against China because of it being nearest point to some Tibetan towns. Additionally Mustang, with people having close cultural and lingual relations with Tibet, was where Khampa revolt originated in 1950s which was swiftly crushed by the then Royal Nepal Army. Since last year, the Tibetans have intensified their attack against the Chinese establishment, but all have so far been in vain.

Separate visits by envoys of the US and other western countries to Mustang in recent months were ringing bells of preparation being underway in that remote district by the Tibetans to challenge the Chinese rule in Tibet. The subsequent visit of the Chinese envoy to the same district and the donation of money to a local school are being construed as an attempt to take the locals into confidence against any anti-China activities. It is yet to see if plays out.

Media reports suggest that Tibetan leaders have traveled from India to Marpha camp in that district. The top leaders to lead Tibetans in Mustang include chairman of Tibetan Youth Congress Tshewang Rinzin, general secretary of Tibetan Women Association Tshering Yangzom. Refugees from Kathmandu and Pokhara have accompanied them. A new phase of movement would possibly be announced if not larger demonstrations around this time. In the meantime, the government has instructed the local authorities in those remote districts to boost security.

Besides Mustang, Tibetans are known to be planning demonstrations in Jomsom and other locations bordering Tibet. Very recently, police had arrested nearly three dozen Tibetans from Sindhupachok who were trying to enter Tibet for demonstrations.

China has repeatedly expressed concern over the increasing anti-China activities in Nepal even as the Nepal government has been reiterating its commitments to quell such movements. After a formal meeting between the Dalai Lama and some Nepali parliamentarians in Dharmashala last week, China said it was seriously concerned. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal is learnt to have warned those six lawmakers who met Lama, but it is not yet clear whether they are in any way supporting the Tibetans' movement.

The six lawmakers led by Madhesi Janadhikar Forum leader B.P Yadav traveled to Dharmashala to meet the Tibetan religious leader, apparently without government notice. Following the disclosure of the meeting, the foreign ministry said the meeting was politically incorrect and urged the political parties to abide by the government's official position of 'One China' policy. The ministry has warned of action to anyone involving in anti-China agitation. The Kathmandu Post quotes foreign relation experts terming the meeting as 'serious blunder'. The lawmakers seem to have ignored the warnings.

Despite the fact that most political parties and diplomacy experts object to anti-China activities in Nepal, incidents have shown that Tibetan refugees are increasingly using Nepali soil against China, taking advantage of the deepening political instability here. This will surely jeopardise Nepal-China relations in the long run and invite a vicious diplomatic conflict in Nepal. Such a situation won't be in Nepal's interest. 

[Source: NepalNews.com]


News Briefs


Maoists to table 'no confidence' motion if compromise does not emerge by October 7: The chairman of the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (Unified CPN-Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, on September 23, said that his party would table a 'no confidence' motion in the Parliament against the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML)-led Government, if there was no agreement to 'rectify' the President's move of reinstating the then Army Chief sacked by the then Maoist-led Government. Speaking to reporters at Tansen in Palpa District, Dahal said the Unified CPN-Maoist would try to reach an understanding with the CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress till October 7, but it would go for a no confidence motion if the talks failed.

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal rejected the Unified CPN-Maoist proposal for parliamentary debate on the President’s move to reinstate the Army Chief sacked by the then Maoist-led Government. Addressing a function organised by the US chapter of the National Federation of Indigenous Nationalities in New York, Nepal said the Constitution has restricted such debates. Nepal News, September 24-26, 2009.

Prachanda threatens Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML to accept 45-point demand: Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda, the chairman of Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (Unified CPN-Maoist) on September 11 issued a threat to the Nepali Congress and the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) to accept their 45-point demand, or else brace for a new movement. "This is not the third people’s movement," he said, "This is just a trailer of a historical struggle, which is in the offing." Prachanda made this statement while addressing a public meeting organised by the Newa State Committee of the party’s United National People’s Movement (UNPM). The Himalayan Times, September 12, 2009.

Government and Maoists agree to discharge disqualified PLA combatants: After a two-month deadlock, the Government and the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (Unified CPN-Maoist), on September 10, reached an agreement to resume the process of discharging disqualified People’s Liberation Army (PLA) combatants from the camps. As per the agreement, the process of releasing the combatants could start shortly after the Dashain (religious) festival. The agreement was reached in the presence of Representatives from the United Nations Mission in Nepal, the United Nations Development Fund, the Norwegian Ambassador, and political party representatives. Due to lack of cooperation from the combatants, the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction had to stop the process on the very day it reached the camps to release 4,008 disqualified PLA members on July 17. The Government had targeted the completion of the process by early November. However, the Maoists did not provide support to the Government mission. Nepal News, September 11, 2009.

Process of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants to be completed within the next six months: The Special Committee for Supervision, Integration and Rehabilitation of Maoist combatants decided on September 1, 2009, to complete the process of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants within the next six months. "We have decided to extend the tenure of the Technical Committee under the Special Committee for the next three months effective from today," Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat told reporters in Singhadurbar after the meeting, adding, "Beginning Monday, the Committee will complete its work within six months." Ekantipur online, September 2, 2009.

[South Asia Intelligent Review]



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