Maoists make public appearance
With King Gyanendra's 16-month absolute rule coming to an end and a pro-democracy government taking over, security forces have lifted their stranglehold on the media while wanted Maoist leaders are making public appearances after three years of being underground.
The website of the Maoists and websites sympathetic to the rebel cause or critical of the royalist government that were blocked by the government since 2003 became accessible again this week, after the King was forced to reinstate the Parliament on April 24.
During the King's rule, the official media -- including the state-run Nepal Television, Radio Nepal, national news agency and two dailies -- had blacked out the seven-party opposition alliance and the Maoist guerrillas were referred to as "terrorists".
However, from Monday, when it became clear the royal reign was coming to an end, the state media lifted the blackout on the parties and began calling the rebels the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist).
On Friday, when Parliament met after four years, two Maoist leaders attended a mass rally in the capital, a stone's throw away from the army barracks.
Lekhnath Neupane, leader of the Maoists' underground student union, and Shalik Ram Jamarkattel, who heads the trade union wing, have been wanted men since 2003, when talks broke down between the government and the rebels. The latter were then declared terrorists.
Even the state media showed the two rebel leaders, marking a sea change in less than a week.
With newly appointed Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala having pledged on the first day of parliament that his government would hold talks with the rebels and declare a ceasefire, the rebels are suddenly not being hunted down any more.
There is even talk of their jailed leaders being freed in the near future.
Baburam Bhattarai, one of the front-ranking rebel leaders, recently said that his party would hold talks with the government if the latter agreed on a new constitution, lifted the terrorist tag and freed jailed Maoists in both Nepal and India.
Influential Indian Left leader Sitaram Yechuri, who attended the opening session on Friday at the invitation of Koirala, was reported as saying that his Communist Party of India-Marxist would pressure New Delhi into releasing the Nepali Maoists in Indian prisons.
Two top Maoist leaders, Mohan Vaidya and Chandra Prakash Gajurel, are among the rebels held in Indian prisons.
Enter your email to get our daily newsletter in your inbox
- Giving two weeks to the government to come back with its response, the bench then formally recorded in its order that one of the issues that has caught its attention is “uncontrolled and unscreened viewing of films” on Amazon Prime Video and other OTT platforms.
- The roughly 20,000 centres being used for the vaccine drive at the moment are hospitals, private as well as public, while many primary and secondary health centres at present are kept out of the programme.
- The external affairs ministry, which too rejected Freedom House’s report, also took exception to the depiction of Jammu and Kashmir in the map used in the document.
- A home ministry spokesperson said these rules prepared by the Foreigners’ Division were part of a brochure issued on November 15, 2019. The rules were consolidated and notified on Thursday.
- After the allegations on Jarkiholi, there were unverified reports of several similar videos and other sex scandals against other cabinet ministers.
- India is a signatory to the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
- On the other hand, the DMK’s stalemate continued with its main and long standing ally, the Congress, on seat sharing.
- The person said it was imperative that the photographs are removed from certificates distributed in the poll bound states, adding that the system can continue in other states.
- Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla, former President Pratibha Patil, economist Amartya Sen, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, spiritual leader Baba Ramdev, chief ministers of states and senior political leaders are among those included in the panel.
- According to Indian agencies, the JeI has maintained that J&K is a disputed territory.
- Interestingly, the election of the six YSRC members comes at a time when a resolution adopted by the Jagan Mohan Reddy government in the state assembly in January 2020, seeking abolition of the legislative council, is still pending with the Union home ministry.
- When the matter came up before a bench of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy on Friday, the bench adjourned it to April 7 as it had no time for a full fledged hearing.
- Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan also held a review meeting on Friday to discuss with the divisional commissioners the steps being taken to contain the spread of the infection.
- There is a cost difference of about 25-30 per cent in containers made in India and abroad.
- After an agreement last month on pulling back frontline troops along with armoured vehicles and artillery from strategic heights around Pangong Lake, the two sides have been unable to make progress on disengagement at other friction points such as Depsang, Hot Springs and Gogra.