The points missed by New York Times editorial

indexKathmandu May 12 (Nepal Foreign Affairs)–New York Times wrote an editorial on Nepal in which it claims Nepal’s government suffers from paranoia and is pursuing revenge politics. The editorial is full of wrong information from top to bottom. To substantiate revenge politics, it has presented two examples: first, the arrest of Kanak Mani Dixit; second, deportation of Rob Penner. First on Kanak Mani Dixit. Veteran journalist and rights activist Kanak Mani Dixit was arrested last month by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), which is a constitutional body. It is a known fact in Nepal CIAA chief commissioner Lok Man Singh Karki’s loyalties don’t lie with Prime Minister KP Oli and his government. Almost all top leaders of the ruling CPN-UML, the party of the prime minister, demanded immediate release of Dixit after he was arrested because there was no confusion in Nepal about Karki trying to settle personal score with Dixit. Dixit, at the time of Karki’s appointment three years ago, had correctly raised questions over the qualification of Karki to head the anti-corruption commission.

We share Dixit’s view here, as do the large number of Nepalese. On Rob Penner, Nepal’s Department of Immigration has said that he violated immigration laws. Media reports are only highlighting his critical tweets but miss the point that he was traced by police in Janakpur last December together with protesters who were attacking the convoy of Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari during her pilgrimage when the Madhes protests were at peak. What was he doing there with the protesters when they were pelting stones at Nepal president? Besides, Nepal’s Supreme Court, on May 10, has rejected the plea of an Interim Order by his lawyer.

To substantiate paranoia, the editorial cites two recent political actions of Prime Minister Oli vis-à-vis India: recall of Nepal’s ambassador to India; and cancellation of Nepal President Bidya Devi Bhandari’s proposed India visit. The government has clarified in parliament that the president’s visit was cancelled because of the lack of preparation by the Nepali side and also in view of the recent natural disaster in the “Kumbh Mela”, the president was scheduled to grace. Several people had died. Nepal’s ambassador to Delhi was recalled as the government and opposition divide in Nepal widened during a power struggle. The Ambassador was a former cabinet minister of the Main Opposition Nepali Congress party. Giving it any other colour not only contradicts the truth, but also stands to become the part of systematic misinformation.

We agree with the following questions raised by Nepali Times and ask New York Times: Where were the foreign media and a self-righteous international community when Nepal was reeling under a ruinous Indian economic blockade, the economic impact of which on the country was much more debilitating than the earthquake? Where were they when the Tarai was burning last August? Was there coverage of earthquake relief material being stuck at the border for five months? Who covered the shortage of aviation fuel and diesel that halted delivery of winterization kits for earthquake shelters?


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