CPN-M in no mood to contest polls: Big III
PRAKASH ACHARYA KATHMANDU: Concluding that the Mohan Baidhya-led CPN-Maoist will not join the election process, the three major political parties — UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML — are now focused on bringing the Upendra Yadav-led Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal on board the poll process. They did not, however, formally announce that door for talks with the CPN-M was closed. Three major political parties have concluded that the Baidhya-led party would not participate in the CA elections due to two reasons. Firstly, the CPN-Maoist has ideological differences with other parties on CA’s ability to draft new constitution.
Secondly, the party has sensed that it will not be able to win seats under the-first-past-the-post system. “That is why the CPN-M has demanded a fully proportional system,” a UCPN-M leader said, seeking anonymity. NC General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula said a fully proportional system was against democratic principles and favoured one party’s supremacy. To counter the CA, the Baidhya group has proposed holding a round table conference of all parties that will draft a new constitution to be endorsed by the people-elected representatives. Even before the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led CPN-M returned to peace process and took part in the CA polls in 2008, the Baidhya group had opposed the CA election proposed by Baburam Bhattarai and Dahal. “As they do not see any prospect of their winning seats in the elections and don’t have any ground to justify their split with the UCPN-M, I do not think they will take part in the election,” the UCPN-M leader said.
Moreover, the CPN-M is a divided house, as one of the sections wants to join the elections while the other has been insisting on the people’s revolt, said the leader. Meanwhile, a meeting of the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML held today concluded that they would now try to make Yadav-led MJF-N join the poll process, as the possibility of striking a deal with the Baidhya group is slim. “We discussed the issues raised by Yadav’s party. The party has two major concerns — increasing at least five FPTP seats in Tarai to match the 50.29 per cent population in the region and increasing the seats of proportional representation system to match the 58:42 ratio for PR and FPTP,” said UML leader Agni Kharel. HLPC will try to conclude the talks process with the agitating parties within a couple of days, said UCPN-M leader and HLPC member Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
CA polls now may lead to conflict: Baidya
KATHMANDU, AUG 12 – CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidya on Sunday reiterated that his party is ready to participate in the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections if the current political course is altered but warned that the polls, if held under the existing circumstances, might lead to another conflict.
“Even the four parties admit that the 25-point presidential decree was a mistake. It should be scrapped to create an environment conducive for the elections,” said Baidya in a programme organised by the Federal Socialist Party in Kathmandu on Sunday. He stressed that the four parties must not shy away from agreement to continue dialogue with the poll-opposing parties. He said the roundtable conference should open the way for the formation of another government and said there should be some agreement in the contentious issues of the constitution writing process.
Baidya also accused some political forces of hatching a plot to make the negotiation unsuccessful. “Some leaders are claiming that some unforeseen accident would occur if the election doesn’t take place in November 19. There should be an all-party agreement to make the election a success,” Baidya said. He appealed all the poll-opposing forces, especially the Ashok Rai-led party, to hold the anti-polls protest together. Addressing the programme, civil society members urged all parties to give up their ego and personal ambitions to make the proposed roundtable conference a success. They stressed that there is no other way to end the current political deadlock except the election. ‘
“Everyone should compromise for a breakthrough. Baidya and all the poll-opposing forces should participate in the elections. Election is the prime need of the time,” said Daman Nath Dhungana, a civil society leader. Malla K Sundar, another civil society leader, said the political parties should be clear about their agendas before the conference. He said the conference should include non-political groups like the civil society, Dalits, Muslim, Janajatis and others. “The conference should hold an open discussion on issues raised by the past movements and existing agendas associated with inclusion, identity and election,” he said. Bhoj Raj Pokherl, former chief election commissioner, said the election held by sidelining some parties cannot produce meaningful outcome.
He cautioned the political parties that the election should not be a cause of another conflict. Sundar Mani Dixit said the four parties should also be ready to shift the poll date for few days to bring the dissident groups on board. Political analyst CK Lal cautioned that such talks may even lead to unexpected results at times. FSPN leaders, including Chairman Ashok Rai and General Secretary Rajendra Shrestha, hinted that the party might collaborate with other dissident parties, including the CPN-Maoist, after completing of its ongoing protest.
Organizers fear riots at crime scenes
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The Ten Point Coalition warns if the neighborhood tensions don’t change there could be a riot at the next IMPD crime scene. An organizer of the coalition says there have been three recent crime scenes where the crowds have gotten out of control. On Saturday night, a man is found shot to death, and another hurt. Last Thursday, a man died after investigators say he may have swallowed drugs. And last month, a 16-year-old was killed by gunfire. “Each of these scenes we were on the verge of a riot,” explains Reverend Charles Harrison of the Ten Point Coalition. “It’s not going away, it’s getting worse and worse.”
Reverend Harrison says the recent crime scenes have become so volatile, the group has sent its rapid response team, which is a group of 15 to 25 people that help monitor the crowds. Reverend Harrison says from what the coalition has witnessed, he’s worried the violence is now targeting police. “I seen someone with a chair ready to throw the chair at the police officers who were on the other side of the tape. That’s when I ran to the scene and asked the individual to please put the chair down and this is not the way to resolve their frustrations,” explains Reverend Harrison.
He says the tensions are coming from some in the black community who feel disrespected by white police officers. While police are trying to do their jobs the crowds become unruly. He says the way to solve the uproar is to listen. “It’s warm, it’s volatile out there. There’s a lot of anger, hostility, and if we’re not careful we may have one of these scenes where you have police shooting at individuals in crowd and people in the crowd shooting at police and that’s just going to be disastrous,” says Reverend Harrison. Reverend Harrison says there needs to be dialogue between the black community and IMPD.
CBU students run amok
POLICE in Kitwe have arrested 16 Copperbelt University (CBU) students who were among other students who fought running battles with the police on Saturday night over accommodation crisis at the Riverside campus. Police in riot gear fired tear gas canisters to disperse the students who caused damage to the institution’s building. The students were prevented from causing damage to public property by police who pushed them back from Jambo Drive where they usually cause damage to vehicles. Kitwe district police commanding officer Fred Mulenga, who was found at the scene after midnight, refused to comment and referred all queries to Copperbelt police commissioner Mary Tembo.
And Ms Tembo said the students blocked Jambo and Nkana East roads with logs, forcing other road users to find alternative routes for fear of being caught up in the fracas which lasted several hours. “The students burnt logs on the road. They were throwing stones and blocked the two roads with huge logs but we dispersed them. In the morning, we were surprised that some students organised themselves and booked buses and went into town. That is where we arrested the 16,” Ms Tembo said. She warned the students against taking the law into their own hands. And Copperbelt University Students Union president Oscar Mbewe said the riot was allegedly caused by management, which directed security officers at the institution to check whether students were squatting.
Workers stick to guns‚ industrial closure continues
BIRGUNJ: As many as 11 industries located in the Pathlaiya-Birgunj industrial corridor have remained shut due to worker unions’ agitation for the past one week. The industries of the region came to a grinding halt when the unions went of strike demanding hike in salary at the same scale for workers at all levels.
Due to the agitation, Hulas Steel and Hanuman Metal belonging to Golchha Organisation, and spinning and textile industries of Triveni Group have become totally dysfunctional. Workers have just signed their official attendance and returned home everyday for a week saying that their demands remain unaddressed. Earlier, the government had agreed to increase the salary of low-paid workers by Rs 1,800 from this fiscal, but the agitating groups have been demanding salary hike at all levels at the same scale. The workers, in association with the joint trade union coordination committee, had demanded that the letter issued by the Labour Department be scrapped. The letter states that the decision on salary increment will be applicable only in the case of workers who are paid less than Rs 8,000 per month.
Min Prasad Apagain, coordinator of Federation of All Nepal Trade Union Bhojpura said, “The salary increased by the government should be paid to workers at all levels and the letter issued by the labour department must be scrapped unconditionally at the earliest.” He also warned of continued strike until their demands were addressed. FNCCI Birgunj chapter has been making attempts to hold dialogue, but in vain. The agitating workers union had set talks for today, but it didn’t happen. They have agreed to hold talks on Monday. Ganga Basnet, the coordinator of Federation of All Nepal Trade Union (Revolutionary) Bhojpura said, “The next round of talks have been set for Monday.” Due to industrial closure, the country has been incurring a loss of millions of rupees every day.
Air pollution causes protests in Iran’s Zanjan city
Iran’s Zanjan city residents protested against tens of zinc and lead factories, which are source of air pollution in the city. Hundreds of Iranian Zanjan city residents gathered in front of Governor’s office to protest air pollution caused by zinc and lead factories in the city, particularly a factory, which employs more than 500 workers, Fars news agency reported. Protests particularly have targeted a lead factory located in 15 kilometers of Zanjan city. Reportedly, the protesters requested either to halt the factory’s activity or change its location to somewhere else. People believe that the air polluted with zinc and lead is the cause of high number of cancer patient in the city.
One of the signs held by protesters read: “I want to live.” Protesters chanted: “We do not want air filled with lead and zinc, we want fresh air.” According to the reports, Zanjan Province’s Governor and Supreme leader’s representative in Zanjan walked out to the people and asked them to stop protesting. Zanjan Province’s Governor has promised to cease the operation of zinc and lead factories. It should be recalled that, for the now more than 70 zinc and lead factories are active in Zanjan. It is not the only city of Iran suffering from the air pollution. This problem in the big cities of Iran has reached an alarming level, though it has become a chronic problem over the past few years.