The Statesman – Manjeev Singh Puri new Indian envoy to Nepal

Kathmandu, 2 March 2017. India has proposed the name of Manjeev Singh Puri as its next ambassador to Nepal, with the term of senior Indian diplomat Ranjit Rae coming to an end, a media report said.

Puri is the incumbent Indian Ambassador to the European Union, Belgium and Luxembourg.

An official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Kathmandu confirmed that Puri’s name was sent to MoFA on Tuesday and the process for sending the agreement for his appointment would begin very soon, The Himalayan Times reported.

Outgoing Indian Ambassador Rae, whose term ended on Tuesday, had informed Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ of New Delhi’s decision during his farewell call on Wednesday, the daily said quoting sources.

Chargé d’affaires at the Kathmandu-based Indian Embassy, Vinay Kumar, refused to comment on the issue, the daily said.

I met the Ambassador at an event in Leuven University and had a pleasant conversation with him, but a Modi appointee can of course not be easily trusted

Read his biography at the link below

http://www.indembassy.be/pages.php?id=45

http://www.thestatesman.com/india/manjeev-singh-puri-new-indian-envoy-to-nepal-1488451341.html

The Hindu – Jammu & Kashmir: Before Zaira, there were sports champions and IAS topper

But just a week later, a picture with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti made her a villain overnight

Peerzada Ashiq

Srinagar, 22 January 2017. On January 12, Dangal actor Zaira Wasim, 16, posted a message on Facebook, “I have also cleared [Class 10 exams]. Don’t know how!”. She was greeted with a torrent of congratulatory messages, with no trolling.

But just a week later, a picture with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti made her a villain overnight.

The disenchanted and alienated population of Kashmir, besides religious extremists, suddenly saw Ms. Wasim as a target for their anger over the prolonged curfew and death of over 90 civilians in the unrest in the summer of 2016. It was easy and just a click away.

The young actor is not the first person to struggle to come to terms with this unpredictable behaviour.

From 27-year-old cricketer Pervaiz Rasool, who has played for India, to IAS topper Shah Faesal and eight-year-old kick-boxing wizard Tajamul Islam, who has been trained by the Army, there has been an attempt by a sizeable number to use such achievers as targets for their their disenchantment with the State and to score a political point.

Several people set on fire a calendar featuring young Tajamul recently. Cricketer Rasool is often confronted with a barrage of questions on the nature of politics.

‘Getting mixed up’

Mr. Faesal, whose house resounded with firecrackers burst by the local people to celebrate his success in the IAS examinations in 2010, said, “My feat was celebrated again and again.

However, of late, people’s achievements get mixed up with local politics. There is a vocal minority that undermines peoples’ achievements and questions whether to celebrate it.”

Lampooned online often for his political views, Mr. Faesal said, “I have thousands of followers on social media with whom I engage through my posts … In Zaira’s case, many people rallied behind her.

So, it’s a new beginning where people have started celebrating success. Earlier, there was an overriding thought of the State sponsoring the talent. The paradigm is shifting.”

Gowhar Geelani, a columnist and political commentator, blames the narratives emanating from mainland India for reactions here.

“We stood for our young achievers in every field. We stood for pellet-hit Insha and others who died in 2016 … But we refuse to be part of the crafty grand narratives and hollow ‘surgical strikes’ of the Indian liberal class that only wake up when it suits them,” Mr. Geelani said.

Separatist leaders like Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq have maintained a distance from the controversy, only saying “We have nothing to do with it”

Focus on Mehbooba

Hameeda Nayeem, a Professor of English at Kashmir University and wife of Hurriyat leader Nayeem Khan, sees no role of separatists in the Zaira controversy.

“The media is grossly misrepresenting the case. Nobody is against Zaira acting. Some youngsters have shown displeasure with her meeting the CM, who is using any opportunity to bolster her own position after what happened in 2016,” said Ms. Nayeem.

“The Zaira episode is symbolic of how the Indian apparatus sees every little Kashmiri endeavour, be it in education, entertainment or sports, as a tool to be used to show how Kashmiris are “integrating”.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/Before-Zaira-there-were-sports-champs-and-IAS-topper/article17075635.ece

The Hindu – Pakistan fomenting trouble in Punjab: Ravneet Singh

New Delhi, 10 August 2016. Congress member Ravneet Singh on Wednesday expressed concern in Lok Sabha alleging Pakistan-sponsored attempts to foment trouble in Punjab as also to drive out Sikhs from the Kashmir Valley as was done to pandits some 25 years back.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour, Ravneet Singh said after forcing Kashmiri pandits out of the Valley, Sikhs were being increasingly targeted.

In Punjab, the state government is a “panicky” lot following the recent attack on an RSS leader and has sought more paramilitary forces as there appears to be an attempt to create trouble in the state which had once witnessed militancy, he said.

Mr. Singh wanted the Intelligence Bureau to be more alert in view of the designs of forces from across the border and government should order strict vigil on the situation.

Raising another issue, Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the situation in the Kashmir valley as members were concerned over the way things were developing there.

He wanted the Speaker to direct the Prime Minister to apprise the House of the situation there as he has broken his silence outside Parliament.

Yogi Adityanath (BJP) wanted the NIA to investigate the growing activities relating to circulation of counterfeit currency and smuggling of drugs and arms along the borders with Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

Several other members also raised issues of urgent public importance during the Zero Hour.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/pakistan-fomenting-trouble-in-punjab-ravneet-singh/article8968584.ece

Human Rights Without Frontiers International – Nepalese Christian jailed over religious conversion

Handing out bibles and involving children in prayer services is a typical example of the arrogance of some of the followers of the Abrahamic faiths. But putting people in jail because of it is equally wrong. If these ‘Christians’ have taken children against the will of their family or by making false promises, that is a crime and the perpetrators should be punished accordingly. On the other side of the equation, I feel that the controversial anti-conversion laws might be inspired by Hindu arrogance of the Sangh Parivar type.
Man in Blue

UCA News, 22 July 2016. A Christian social worker who cares for orphans has been jailed in Nepal while waiting to be tried over charges related to human trafficking and controversial religious conversion laws.

Social worker Chinimaya Blown was accused by police of collecting Hindu children from remote areas of the Himalayan nation to put in her children’s home and then forcing them to take part in Christian prayer services.

A conviction for evangelizing in Nepal can result in five years jail time and a 50,000-rupee (US$470) fine.

The children’s home has 14 children aged between 5-13. Blown previously ran a children’s home in Dhankuta, eastern Nepal, but was unable to renew that home’s permit so she brought the orphans to a new home in the country’s capital.

Blown, who is currently being held in a Kathmandu jail, also faces charges related to human trafficking for placing the children in the home.

“Religion inspires us to provide refuge to the poor and orphans, but injustice has been done to these Christians by our judicial system,” said B P Khanal, General Secretary of Janajagaran Party Nepal, a Christian political party.

“The sad thing is, the authorities have not been able to see the good deeds of Chinimaya Blown,” said Khanal.

Hari Tamang, who is a pastor of the Jerusalem Antioch Church has also been charged but freed on bail after spending 25 days in police custody. Both were arrested on June 24.

Pastor Tanka Subedi, co-chairperson of the Nepal Christian Society, said that all orphanages run by Christians provide children with Bibles and teach them how to say prayers.

“This has nothing to do with conversion. Children do not become Christian or baptized until they are fully adult. By that time they will decide which religion to follow,” Subedi said.

These social workers are just trying to help the needy, he added.

Meanwhile in a separate case, Bharatpur police have arrested another Christian couple for running children’s home without proper documents and for distributing Bibles to the children.

The family was providing food, accommodation and education to eight poor children. During a search of the home, police found a copy of the Bible that belonged to the husband, Pratik Sunar, say sources. Sunar’s wife was freed after objections from locals but he remains in police custody.

Hindu-majority Nepal released its new constitution in September. The constitution declares that Nepal is a secular state. However, lawmakers are debating a contentious bill, yet to be made law, proposing five years of imprisonment and a penalty of 50,000 rupees for anyone found guilty of converting a person from one religion to another.

http://www.ucanews.com/news/nepalese-christian-jailed-over-religious-conversion/76652

The Hindustan Times – Nepal’s sudden change in plans suggests bad blood with India

Utpal Parashar

Kathmandu, 7 May 2016. The Nepal government’s sudden decision to cancel President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s visit to India and recall its ambassador from New Delhi on Friday is likely to impact bilateral ties.

The move came just a day after Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s government was nearly toppled by coalition partner Maoists with support from the Nepali Congress, the main opposition.

“Naturally, cancellation of Bhandari’s visit at the 11th hour amid insinuations in Kathmandu that New Delhi could have been responsible for the move to oust Oli, will result in ties getting affected,” Lok Raj Baral, a former Nepali ambassador to India, said.

Bhandari’s five-day visit was on an invitation by President Pranab Mukherjee. She was scheduled to hold high-level discussions, sign three agreements and also visit the Kumbh Mela in Ujjain, beginning on Monday.

Nepal’s foreign ministry told Indian ambassador to Nepal, Ranjit Rae, the visit was cancelled due to a lack of preparations on their side, and also because the country’s budget session is underway.

“Since the move to remove him came after recent visits to New Delhi by Nepali Congress president Sher Bahadur Deuba and Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Oli may have concluded India is responsible,” Baral said.

Nepal’s ambassador to India, Deep Kumar Upadhyay, was appointed by Oli’s predecessor Sushil Koirala. The Nepali Congress leader was ordered back when he called the prime minister to express displeasure over Bhandari’s visit being cancelled.

Foreign ministry officials, on the condition of anonymity, told journalists that the ambassador was recalled for non-cooperation and alleged involvement in Oli’s ouster.

Senior journalist Kunda Dixit, publisher and editor of Nepali Times, feels the government’s moves shows Oli’s brinkmanship in handling relations with their southern neighbour.

“After what we went through during the five-month long border blockade, it was logical to de-escalate tensions between both nations, but the government’s decisions have made it worse,” Dixit said.

Apart from trying to snub India, “rivalry and distrust” between Nepali Congress and Oli’s Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) also played a role in the developments, some experts said.

Nepal-India ties had soared to new heights in 2014 following two visits by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. But they nosedived last year during the five-month long border blockade imposed by Madhesis in protest against the new constitution.

The blockade resulted in severe scarcity of goods especially fuel from September last year to February, leading to deep resentment in the government.

Though Oli and several ministers accused India of imposing the blockade to support the Madhesis, New Delhi denied playing any role in the matter.

http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/nepal-s-sudden-change-in-plans-indicates-bad-blood-with-india/story-9ebSJmXLSk9UWwbhcFh5vI.html