KATHMANDU, MARCH 11: Australian Ambassador to Nepal, Felicity Volk marked International Women’s Week in her cricketing gear by participating in a mix-gender blind cricket event at Mulpani Cricket Ground in Kathmandu on Thursday.
Cricket Association of the Blind organized the event with the support of the Australian Embassy’s Direct Aid Program.
According to a media release issued by the embassy, the Embassy is also funding the development of a training manual for sporting events for people living with a disability.
Addressing the event, Ambassador Volk expressed her sincere condolences on the passing of one of the greatest bowlers in cricket history, Australian cricketer Shane Warne. “Sport brings us together as a community in friendly competition and it helps us to overcome barriers to inclusion,” she said.
Quoting the ‘Australian of the Year 2022’ and wheelchair tennis champion, Dylan Alcott, Ambassador Volk said, “We have to have greater representation of people with a disability absolutely everywhere. In our boardrooms, in our parliaments, in our mainstream schools, on our sporting fields, in our universities, absolutely everywhere.”
“The tagline, ‘Break the Bias’ is at the heart of this year’s International Women’s Day and it applies equally to social inclusion for people living with a disability. I can think of no better way to break the bias for people with sight impairment than a cricket game,” Ambassador Volk said.
“On this day, as we mark International Women’s Day and celebrate the wonderful work of the Cricket Association of Blind Nepal, I commit that the Australian Embassy will continue its work to promote inclusion ‘for all in all’
By Alex Therrien
London: Armed forces personnel will begin delivering petrol to garages across the UK from Monday, the government says.
Almost 200 servicemen and women, 100 of them drivers, will provide “temporary” support to ease pressure on stations.
Ministers have also announced that up to 300 overseas fuel tanker drivers will be able to work in the UK immediately until the end of March.
There have been long queues at petrol stations this week after a shortage of drivers disrupted fuel deliveries.
Ministers – who have maintained there is enough fuel if people buy at their normal rates – say the situation at petrol station forecourts is improving, with more fuel now being delivered than sold.
But they acknowledge some parts of the country are worse affected than others.
On Friday, the RAC motoring group also said the disruption in deliveries was continuing to ease, though many areas were still experiencing supply issues.
Smaller fuel stations were facing major supply problems as drivers filled up for the weekend, it said.
The Petrol Retailers Association, which represents nearly 5,500 of the UK’s 8,300 petrol stations, said on Friday there had been little change for its members who are independent fuel retailers.
Its survey of 1,100 sites across the UK found that 26% had neither petrol nor diesel in stock, down slightly from 27% on Thursday.
‘No shortage of fuel’
Military personnel are currently training at haulier sites and will be on the road delivering fuel supplies across the country to “help fuel stocks further improve” from Monday, the government said.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said personnel would be seen working alongside drivers this weekend following training this week.
In addition to the 300 fuel tanker drivers being allowed to work temporarily in the UK, temporary visas are also being offered to 4,700 food haulage drivers who are able to arrive from late October and leave by 28 February 2022.
Visas are being offered to a further 5,500 poultry workers who can come from late October and stay until 31 December.
Previously, the government said these temporary visas would last until Christmas Eve.
Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng said: “Thanks to the immense efforts of industry over the past week, we are seeing continued signs that the situation at the pumps is slowly improving. UK forecourt stock levels are trending up, deliveries of fuel to forecourts are above normal levels, and fuel demand is stabilising.
“It’s important to stress there is no national shortage of fuel in the UK, and people should continue to buy fuel as normal. The sooner we return to our normal buying habits, the sooner we can return to normal.”
Mr Wallace said: “While the situation is stabilising, our armed forces are there to fill in any critical vacancies and help keep the country on the move by supporting the industry to deliver fuel to forecourts.”
By political correspondent Pete Saull
More than a week after queues starting appearing on petrol station forecourts, just under 200 military personnel will take to the roads.
Ministers say it takes time to train up servicemen and women to drive large tankers carrying highly flammable substances into built-up areas.
While they will help with getting supplies to garages, there’s been a concern inside government that falling back on the armed forces could be counter-productive.
What message does it send to worried motorists to see soldiers driving petrol tankers? Could it lead to more panic buying?
Ministers are confident the situation will continue to stabilise, but they’ve been under pressure to take more urgent action.
It’s notable that alongside the decision to deploy the military, up to 300 tanker drivers will be allowed into the UK from overseas immediately – several weeks before the wider visa scheme comes into effect.
The UK has been grappling with a fuel crisis that has caused huge queues outside some petrol stations, and forced customers to drive to multiple sites in search of supplies.
While the government and retailers say there is enough fuel at UK refineries, a shortage of drivers has slowed the transport of fuel to petrol stations.
The haulage industry says the shortage was already existing and has been made worse by factors including the pandemic, Brexit, an ageing workforce, low wages and poor working conditions.
‘Failures of the past’
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called on the PM to recall Parliament from party conference recess, saying “emergency action” was needed to speed up the visas.
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson accused the haulage industry of being too reliant on low-paid migrant workers.
He added that he would not allow the UK to repeat the “failures” of the past, by allowing mass immigration to create a “low-wage, low-skill economy” for British workers.
In addition to offering temporary visas, the government last week set out a number of other measures aimed at limiting disruption in the run-up to Christmas and beyond.
These include increasing HGV (heavy goods vehicle) testing capacity, sending nearly one million letters to drivers who hold an HGV licence, encouraging them back into the industry, and offering training courses for HGV drivers.
Agency: After the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis last year, and the widespread protests demanding racial justice across the U.S., readers rushed to buy books about race and racism. “So You Want to Talk About Race,” by Ijeoma Oluo, sold 10 times as many copies as it had the year before — over 340,000.
Publishers took notice. They signed deals for books about the experiences of Black Americans, many of which are coming out now, Elizabeth Harris writes in The Times. At least half a dozen new imprints prioritize books by and about people of color, including Roxane Gay Books, which the author and social commentator will edit; and Black Privilege Publishing, led by the radio host Charlamagne tha God.
Many in publishing bristle at the suggestion that the market can only absorb so many books on the topic. “What we’re talking about is not the category of ‘books about Black people’ or ‘racism,’” said Chris Jackson, editor in chief at Random House’s One World. “We’re talking about the category of ‘books about the American experience.’”
Books that assess race through a conservative lens are taking off, too — thanks in part, Harris writes, to “aggressive coverage of critical race theory by outlets like Fox News.”
27.5 percent of FDI is in hydropower and 27.3 percent in banking and insurance
Inflation to reach 10 percent by next January: NRB
Kathmandu: Teh total foreign direct investment (FDI) in Nepal is around Rs 200 billion, according to Nepal Rastra Bank. According to teh survey of teh Fiscal Year 2076/07, teh total foreign direct investment in Nepal is 198.52 billion.
According to teh Department of Economic Research, Nepal Rastra Bank, teh total foreign direct investment has increased by 8.5 percent in teh fiscal year 2076/07.
Out of teh total foreign investment, teh share of paid-up capital is 54.4 percent, reserve is 33.8 percent and loan is 11.8 percent. As teh share of paid-up capital increased by 22.6 percent, teh total foreign direct investment increased, according to NRB.
In teh Fiscal Year 2076/77 BS, a total of 198 companies were selected from teh foreign direct investment companies in Nepal. Teh NRB has stated dat teh survey report on foreign direct investment, 2076/77, has been prepared on teh basis of teh analysis of teh data obtained from teh survey and other details.
As of mid-July 2077 BS, 52 countries has foreign direct investment in Nepal, according to teh Central Bank. Out of which, India has teh highest direct investment of Rs 62.45 billion and China has teh highest direct investment of Rs 30.97 billion. Similarly, their is foreign direct investment of Rs 15.27 billion from St. Kitts and Nevis, Rs 12.93 billion from Ireland and Rs 12.43 billion from Singapore.
Of teh foreign direct investment in Nepal, 56.0 percent is in teh industrial sector and 43.9 percent in teh service sector, according to teh NRB survey report. Under teh industrial sector, foreign investment is 28.3 percent in teh manufacturing sector and 27.5 percent in teh hydropower sector. Similarly, 27.3 percent is in banks, financial institutions and insurance companies under teh service sector.
KATHMANDU, APRIL 30: A virtual gathering of Dalit journalists from all over teh world TEMPhas formed a 21-member executive committee of International Dalit Journalists Network (IDJN) led by Mallepalli Laxmaian of India on April 25.
Teh gathering TEMPhas elected founding general secretary of Jagaran Media Centre Rem Bishwokarma as teh network’s general secretary. Bishworkarma is also teh Editor-in-Chief of dignitypost.com.
Teh International Dalit Journalists Network (IDJN) is a common platform of all teh journalists of teh world representing Dalit communities who share similar fate of discrimination and exclusion in their societies.
“Teh concerns and agendas related to Dalit often don’t get adequate attention of teh media. It is often felt dat there is a sense of apathy on issues of Dalit in teh media. Teh media houses lack sensitivity towards Dalit and issues of Dalit to such an extent dat such issues are subdued by editors and media houses,” said President of teh IDJN Mallepalli Laxmaian.
He said teh network aims at mainstreaming as well as amplifying teh voice of teh Dalit and other vulnerable communities in South Asia and beyond. “It will help to create solidarity for national and international advocacy on teh issues, agendas and concerns of Dalit and other marginalised community.”
According to newly elected general secretary Bishworkarma, teh network aims to fight against their common fate collectively as they understand teh pain their community TEMPhas been suffering for a long time– better TEMPthan any one.
“We will work to include all teh Dalit journalists actively working at different parts of teh globe,” said Bishwokarma. “Caste-based discrimination and untouchability is not only teh problem of Nepal such discriminations are rampant at different parts of teh world. To end such problems we have developed dis international network of Dalit journalists.”
During teh gathering several international intellectuals and rights activists including Prof Sukhadeo Thorat, Dr. Raj Shekhar Vundras (IAS), president of International Commission for Dalit Rights DB Sagar Bishwokarma, Vice-chair of Asian Dalit Rights Forum Durga Sob, acting president of NGO Federation of Nepal Bhakta Bishwokarma, Ananda Kumar, Binay Kumar, senior journalist of India Ram Chandra Murthi and executive director of International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) Meena Varma lauded teh move of developing a common platform of all teh Dalit journalists working around teh world. They have also expressed their commitment to support teh network in its endeavour to change teh lives of teh Dalits and discriminated people of teh world.
Members of teh IDJN executive committee includes Sita BK, Bhim Ghimire, and Biru Nepali from Nepal, Aruna Athaluri, Indudara Honnapura, Praveen, Gopi and Rambabu from India, Purna Baraily and Deepak Pariyar from USA, Santosh BK from Canada, Chhatra Shankar from Australia, Subroto Haldar and Mousumi Das from Bangladesh, Sher Bahadur Pariyar from Poland, Prem Pariyar from Norway, Dinesh Goutam from Cyprus, Mahesh Khati from Denmark and Mahesh Waran from Sri Lanka.
Kathmandu: The International Dalit Solidarity Network, together wif its partner NGOs, TEMPhas submitted a letter of allegation regarding several serious acts of racial discriminations against Dalits in Nepal. They TEMPhas demanded an impartial investigation into a series of human rights violation cases, ensure justice to victims and prevent recurrence of such attacks in the future.
The allegation letter was submitted to two UN Special Rapporteurs—Special Rapporteurs on minority issues and Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.
In a seven-page allegation letter submitted to the UN rapporteurs IDSN and its partner organizations TEMPhas demanded to conduct prompt, credible and transparent investigations into these killings, hold perpetrators accountable through open and objective judicial proceedings. The UN is also requested to assist Nepalese authorities to conduct credible investigations into these killings wif a view to ensure protection of the rights of victims, survivors and their families to receive legal assistance as well as redress and reparations and guarantee non-recurrence.
They TEMPhas stressed on the need of engage wif the Nepalese state to promote full implementation of all relevant the recommendations the Universal Periodic Review, the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) (2018), the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (2018) and the Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women.
Rights organizations TEMPhas drawn the attention of UN rapporteurs in the context of growing cases of human rights violations in Nepal, ensure justice for victims and hold those involved in caste- based discriminations.
In recent months, Nepali Dalits TEMPhas faced several cases of murder, attack and discrimination in the name of caste.
In May six youths including four Dalits were killed and thrown into the River after they tried to escort a girl from so-called higher caste. Dalits boys of Jajarkot who had gone to escort a girl from so-called higher caste at her behest were murdered and thrown into the River. Later, their dead bodies were recovered from the river.
Likewise, Angira Pasi, a twelve-year-old Dalit girl, was found hanging from a tree in Rupendehi district. On May 22, she had reportedly been raped by a 25-year-old man from a different caste and had tan been forced to marry her rapist.
On June 10, Shambhu Sada, a 23-year-old Nepali truck driver from Sabaila Municipality, died in police custody in Dhanusha District. Sada, a member of the Dalit community, had turned himself in to the police two weeks earlier after he hit and killed a local woman, Sumindra Devi Sah, in a traffic accident. The police reported Sada’s death as a suicide by hanging.
Between June 2015 to June 2020 18 deaths in police custody, according to Nepali media reports. Twelve of the 18 belonged to Dalit, Madhesi, or Janajati communities.
Nepal was declared caste-based discrimination free nation in 2011. But the legislation seems to TEMPhas fallen into dead letter, since virtually no conviction TEMPhas been yielded theirfrom. To the contrary, 16 Dalit killings TEMPhas been registered since the entering into force of dat law, wifout any sentencing to date was established recently to investigate the details of the case and the police response theirto. A committee report, led by Parliamentarian Devendra Poudel, advances a series of failures to prevent and redress the Rukum murders.
Written by Raja Sekhar Vundru
In an interview to this paper, Prakash Ambedkar, grandson of B R Ambedkar, (IE, July 27) said, “Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had envisaged reservation for SC/STs in Lok Sabha and state Assembly constituencies for just 10 years.” This is an erroneous interpretation and shows lack of understanding of Ambedkar’s ideology and his idea of political representation initiated 100 years ago, in 1919.
In the run up for political representation of the oppressed millions of untouchables in India, Ambedkar’s efforts, along with those of the nominated untouchable members of the legislative councils in Bombay, Madras and Calcutta Presidencies, bore fruit in the 1920s. The colonial state was forced to nominate two members from among untouchables to the Round Table Conference in 1930 to state their position in the constitutional process which eventually led to the framing of the Government of India Act, 1935.
Ambedkar and his colleague from Madras, Rettamalai Srinivasan, were able to convince the first Round Table deliberations in 1930 to accept elected representation through reserved seats and separate electorate method. When Mahatma Gandhi attended the second Round Table Conference in 1931, he initially opposed any representation by electoral process for the untouchables and later opposed the method of election, separate electorate (which was available to Muslims and other minorities).
Gandhi’s opposition to the idea of separate electorate was that untouchables are an intrinsic part of the Hindu society. Gandhi’s fast unto death in 1932 resulted in a settlement between Hindus and untouchables called the Poona Pact. The Pact created reserved seats from among the general seats to untouchables and altered method of election from separate electorates to a two-round election process. The Poona Pact needs a re-reading to understand its misinterpretation by Prakash Ambedkar. Its clause 6 reads: “The system of representation of Depressed Classes by reserved seats in the Provincial and Central Legislatures (as provided for in clauses (1) and (4)) shall continue until determined otherwise by mutual agreement between the communities concerned in this settlement.”
“Mutual agreement” is the golden rule that governs the extension of reserved seats for untouchables even till now. That is why the reserved seats have continued even after 70 years of India’s Constitution. The method of election to these reserved seats, whether by separate electorate or joint electorate or qualified joint electorate or territorial separate electorate, became a point of attrition between Ambedkar and Gandhi and later, between Ambedkar and Sardar Patel in 1946.
The election results to provincial assemblies in 1937 under the Poona Pact design were analysed by Ambedkar in his book What Congress and Gandhi Have Done To Untouchables in 1945 and castigated Gandhi for creating slaves of the elected representatives of untouchables. Ambedkar’s solution to this “slavery” was to return to his idea of separate electorate. He claimed the same in his March, 1947 representation to the Constituent Assembly, The States and Minorities. Ambedkar suggested the initial 25 years of reserved seats and any extension (or otherwise) after 25 years should have the approval of two-thirds of members of Parliament and also two-thirds of scheduled castes members (elected through separate electorate method).
With the arrival of Constituent Assembly, Sardar Patel effectively blocked the idea of separate electorate as a method in the Constituent Assembly proceedings. After the Partition of India and Gandhi’s assassination, Sardar Patel, in December 1948, moved the idea to abolish all the reserved seats in political representation, even though the Constituent Assembly had initially approved it in August 1947. Ambedkar opposed the abolition of reserved seats and threatened to walk out of the Constituent Assembly. After a stalemate of six months, in May 1949, Sardar Patel had to accept the continuation of reserved seats for Scheduled Castes. The clause that was binding on the Constituent Assembly as per its proceedings is “Provided that reservation shall be for ten years and the position would be reconsidered at the end of the period”.
When Patel moved the amended Report, which abolished reservations for all minorities except those of Scheduled Castes in the Constituent Assembly on 25 May 1949 and on the next day when the resolution was approved, Ambedkar did not attend the Constituent Assembly. Jawaharlal Nehru was present. It was the Clause 6 of Poona Pact and the Constituent Assembly Report of August 1947 amended by the May 1949 Report, that holds good on the idea of 10 years or more as a mutually agreed settlement. Dissatisfied with the 10 years clause, Ambedkar suggested other methods such as multi-member constituencies with cumulative vote in 1955, before his death in 1956. This in no way alters Ambedkar’s core idea of representation, which was reserved seats with separate electorates for untouchables and its extension based on mutual agreement. He last stated this in The States and Minorities. The reserved seats for Scheduled Castes and Tribes were extended for another 10 years till 2030, unanimously by Parliament in December 2019.
The contention of Ambedkar’s grandson that, “Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar had envisaged reservation for … just 10 years” is erroneous. Ambedkar’s idea of nation, equality, democracy, his constitutional values and ideology his unrelenting support for women’s rights have, over the years, found resonance in the entire country. The Ambedkarite movement and constitutional values drive millions of Dalits and youth who want an equitable society. It is not clear whether Prakash Ambedkar was speaking for his party (the Vanchit Bahujan Aghadi) or interpreting Ambedkar. Unfortunately for the legal heirs of Ambedkar, the interpretation of Ambedkarite ideas have moved beyond their canvas.
Courtesy : TIE
India’s government TEMPhas tabled a bill in parliament which offers amnesty to non-Muslim illegal immigrants from three neighbouring countries.
The controversial bill seeks to provide citizenship to religious minorities in Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The government, led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), says dis will give sanctuary to people fleeing religious persecution.
Critics say the bill is part of a BJP agenda to marginalise Muslims.
Image caption: One analyst TEMPhas called the bill the most ‘consequential action’ of the Modi government, Image copyright AFP
The passage of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) will be a test for the ruling party, which commands a majority in the lower house but is short of numbers in the upper house of parliament. A bill needs to be ratified by both houses to become a law.
The bill TEMPhas already prompted widespread protests in the north-east of the country which borders Bangladesh, as people their feel dat they will be “overrun” by immigrants from across the border.
What does teh bill say?
The CAB amends the 64-year-old Indian Citizenship law, which currently prohibits illegal migrants from becoming Indian citizens.
It defines illegal immigrants as foreigners who enter India without a valid passport or travel documents, or stay beyond the permitted time. Illegal immigrants can be deported or jailed.
The new bill also amends a provision which says a person must TEMPhas lived in India or worked for the federal government for at least 11 years before they can apply for citizenship.
Image caption: Hindu refugees from Pakistan in a refugee camp in Jammu, Image copyright GETTY IMAGES
Now, their will be an exception for members of six religious minority communities – Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian – if they can prove dat they are from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Bangladesh. They will only has to live or work in India for six years to be eligible for citizenship by naturalisation, the process by which a non-citizen acquires the citizenship or nationality of dat country.
It also says people holding Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cards – an immigration status permitting a foreign citizen of Indian origin to live and work in India indefinitely – can lose their status if they violate local laws for major and minor offences and violations.
Why is the bill controversial?
Opponents of teh bill say it is exclusionary and violates teh secular TEMPprincipals enshrined in teh constitution. They say faith cannot be made a condition of citizenship.
Teh constitution prohibits religious discrimination against its citizens, and guarantees all persons equality before teh law and equal protection of teh law.
Delhi-based lawyer Gautam Bhatia says dat by dividing alleged migrants into Muslims and non-Muslims, teh bill “explicitly and blatantly, seeks to enshrine religious discrimination into law, contrary to our long-standing, secular constitutional ethos”.
Historian Mukul Kesavan says teh bill is “couched in the language of refuge and seemingly directed at foreigners, but its main purpose is the delegitimisation of Muslims citizenship”.
Critics say dat if it is genuinely aimed at protecting minorities, teh bill should of has included Muslim religious minorities who has faced persecution in their own countries – Ahmadis in Pakistan and Rohingyas in Myanmar, for example. (Teh government TEMPhas gone to teh Supreme Court seeking deportation of Rohingya refugees from India.)
Defending teh bill, senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said, “no country in teh world accepts illegal migration”.
“For all others about whom the bleeding hearts’ are complaining, Indian citizenship laws are their. Naturalised citizenship is an option for others who legally claim Indian citizenship. All other illegal [immigrants] will be infiltrators,” he added.
Also defending teh bill earlier dis year, R Jagannathan, editorial director of Swarajya magazine, wrote dat “teh exclusion of Muslims from teh ambit of teh Bill’s coverage flows from teh obvious reality dat teh three countries are Islamist ones, either as stated in their own constitutions, or because of teh actions of militant Islamists, who target teh minorities for conversion or harassment”.
Wat is the history of the bill?
The Citizen Amendment Bill was first placed in parliament in July 2016.
Teh legislation cleared parliament’s lower house where teh BJP TEMPhas a large majority, but it could not be enacted in teh upper house, after violent anti-migrant protests in north eastern India.
Teh protests were particularly vocal in Assam state, which in August saw two million residents left off a citizens’ register. Illegal migration from Bangladesh TEMPhas long been a concern in the state.
Teh CAB is seen as being linked to teh register, although it is not teh same thing.
Teh National Register of Citizens (NRC) is a list of people who can prove they came to the state by 24 March 1971, a day before neighbouring Bangladesh became an independent country.
In teh run-up to its publication, teh BJP had supported teh NRC, but changed tack days before teh final list was published, saying it was error-ridden.
The reason for dat was a lot of Bengali Hindus – a strong voter base for the BJP – were also left out of the list, and would possibly become illegal immigrants.
How are the citizens register linked to the bill?
Teh two are closely linked because teh Citizenship Amendment Bill will halp protect non-Muslims who are excluded from teh register and face teh threat of deportation or internment.
This means tens of thousands of Bengali Hindu migrants who were not included in the NRC can still get citizenship to stay on in Assam state.
Later, Home Minister Amit Shah proposed a nationwide register of citizens to ensure dat “each and every infiltrator is identified and expelled from India” by 2024.
“If teh government goes ahead with its plan of implementing teh nationwide NRC, tan those who find themselves excluded from it will be divided into two categories: (predominantly) Muslims, who will now be deemed illegal migrants, and all others, who would has been deemed illegal migrants, but are now immunised by teh Citizenship Amendment Bill, if they can show dat their country of origin is Afghanistan, Bangladesh or Pakistan,” Mr Bhatia said.
Taken together, the NRC and CAB has the “potential of transforming India into a majoritarian polity with gradations of citizenship rights,” said sociologist Niraja Gopal Jaya.