This is a two part report proceeding initially with details of external local events according to areas of thematic relevance for the UN RCO. The second part is a summary of internal UN RCO activities including advocacy on TJ issues, information related to the UNPFN as well as updates regarding the UNDAF and humanitarian response issues.
The month, although relatively quiet as a result of Dashain and Tihar saw a number of significant events indicating the nature of the days to come. Those opposing secularism have been increasingly active, most notably with a former Home Minister and current senior NC leader declaring a religion and cow protection army with the participation of former Nepal Police officers in the Mid Western districts. However, the extent of support and organization still remains unclear. Similarly, the RPP-N and other Hindu based organizations have been organizing events to voice their opposition to secularism.
The recent announcement by the NC proposing a 6 or 7 state model of federalism has received considerable criticism from various quarters particularly from Madhesi and Tharu parties who stand to lose the most under this proposal. As was expected, the UCPN-M led 22- party alliance initiated its protest programs advocating identity based federalism with various mass meetings to gain ideological and organizational support. It appears likely that protest programs by all opposing, or advocating for identity based federalism will increase after Tihar (November).
CK Raut continues to be held in detention under charges of sedition after failing to meet the 50,000 Nrs ($500) bail requirement to secure his conditional release. Many see his failing to meet bail as a strategy to keep his issue in the public eye. Protests regarding his arrest and detention continued throughout the month across the Tarai though subsided through the festival period. It is widely believed that protests will pick up again at the end of Tihar. In a separate issue, an individual was killed by the APF in Bara during a demonstration related to an infrastructure issue. There were attempts to link the incident to Raut’s detention by his supporters citing excessive use of force and continued suppression of the Madhes by the state. The memorial program of the victim was attended by senior political leaders including Prachanda though many see this as an opportunistic attempt to garner support from Madhesis.
Discrimination and inclusion continues to be an issue with locals in Kaski objecting to the activities of the local third gender community. Landlessness has again been highlighted with the recently formed Landless Problems Resolution Committee proceeding with its mandate. However, many, including the NC object to the Committee’s working modality citing a lack of political transparency. Other issues include continued political interference in school management committee selection and in rule of law. Monthly Report - October 2014 UN Resident Coordinator’s Office, Nepal