Tuesday October 23, 2018
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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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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)