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India voices concerns over Nepal violence, urges flexibility

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New Delhi: As Nepal prepares to enact a new constitution, India has voiced concerns over the ongoing protests and strife in several parts of the country and urged flexibility by the political parties and a dialogue to arrive at a durable and resilient document.

photo credit: yahoo.com
photo credit: yahoo.com

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, in a statement, said: “Horrific violence has once again shaken Nepal’s soul. Whether the victims are Nepali citizens or government officials, the blood spilt in all the incidents was Nepalese. When Nepal is yet to come out of the tragedy of the earthquake, these developments would hurt any humanitarian country in the world.”

On Monday, Nepal’s lawmakers voted against an amendment in the draft of the new constitution to declare the Himalayan nation a Hindu state, triggering protests in Kathmandu.

Sushma Swaraj said that India urges “continuing flexibility on the part of all the political forces so that any outstanding issues are addressed through dialogue and widest possible agreement, in an atmosphere free from violence. A Constitution, which is fully owned by and accommodates the aspirations of all regions and sections of the Nepalese society, will lay a durable foundation for a peaceful and prosperous Nepal and will become the focal point for Nepal’s bright future”.

“Nepal’s political parties, organizations and intellectuals have always displayed maturity and foresight in times of crises. It is only with their continued leadership and wisdom that Nepal can overcome its current difficulties. A durable and resilient Constitution is necessary to build a modern Nepal. We hope that Nepal’s leaders will leave no stone unturned in their efforts.”

She said India is “committed to further strengthening its close and cordial relations with the government and people of Nepal and will continue to provide all support and assistance, in accordance with the aspirations of the people of Nepal for peace, stability and socio-economic development”.

Southern Nepal has been witnessing violence since the major political parties struck a breakthrough deal on August 15 to divide the country into seven provinces. The protests have resulted in clashes between demonstrators and police, leading to deaths.

The three main political parties Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the UCPN-Maoist have a combined strength of 475 seats in the Constituent Assembly, which is more than the two thirds of the votes (399) required to endorse the new Constitution.

Out of total of 598 valid members of the 601-member Constituent Assembly, only 538 are taking part in the Constitution voting process as 60 members of Madhesi parties are boycotting the sitting.

The Madhesi parties are protesting against the seven province model proposed by the major political parties.

(IANS)

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Fear of Leprosy Resurgence in Nepal

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper

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Leprosy, Wikimedia

Health officials in Nepal fear leprosy resurgence in the country with prevalence rate reaching 0.94 per cent in 2018.

Leprosy-free status was given to the Himalayan nation after it declared elimination of the disease in 2009. However, that status could be lost if prevalence rate reaches one per cent of total population, Kathmandu Post reported on Thursday.

Experts already fear that this marks the resurgence of the disease in Nepal. The percentage could be more, an official said, as the current given figures have been derived just from preliminary data.

The Leprosy Control and Disability (LCD) section of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of Department of Health Services said that the prevalence rate was 0.92 and 0.89 in 2017 and 2016, respectively, the news report said.

“It will be a great setback for the country if it loses the status,” said Rabindra Baskota, a doctor and chief of the LCD section.

Incubation period of leprosy varies from one to 20 years and diagnosis of more patients could help stop the further spread of the disease, according to him.

An amputated leg, claw toes and claw hands of leprosy patient Gopal Bag are seen at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital. Kolkata. VOA

“It will take only a couple of years to reach one percent if this upward trend continues,” he added.

The prevalence rate is over one per cent in various districts of the Tarai region, Baskota said, adding that the country had received the leprosy eliminated status, after reducing its prevalence rate by 0.77 per cent, in 2009.

Sishir Silwal, a focal person for the leprosy control programme in Gulmi district, said regular review meetings for leprosy, which should be held every four months, has not been held for the last eight months.

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Kathmandu Post quoted Bibek Kumar Lal, Director at EDCD, as saying that there is a severe crunch in manpower that hinders proper functioning.

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper.

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is transmitted through nasal secretion or from droplets from the mouth. It affects the skin, peripheral nerves and eyes, leading to disfigurement and nerve damage. The disease is curable with a multi-drug therapy. (IANS)