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View Full Version : What to make of this news?


RRainey
21st November 2008, 09:09 PM
Does it effect western tourists?

Kathmandu is hit by new violence
By Charles Haviland
BBC News, Kathmandu


Life in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu, has come to a halt during clashes involving protesters angered by the killing of two young men.
The bodies of the two youths were discovered this week, a month after they were kidnapped.
The killings have been blamed on the youth wing of the governing Maoist party. They deny responsibility.
Youths in the capital have been in running battles with the police and ended up being baton charged.
'Stop killing people'
One protester accused the Maoist's youth wing of "kidnapping people and killing them".
"Foreigners have to stop helping the Maoist government and have to force the Maoist government to stop killing people," he told the BBC.
The shutdown, known as a bandh, resulted in a much more politically charged atmosphere in the capital.
It was most fiercely enforced on the roads that would usually be the busiest.
At one key junction, linking the hill-ringed Kathmandu valley to the outside world, there was not a single vehicle to be seen.
All schools and most businesses were closed and the streets were instead roamed by large groups of young men and boys.
The closure is in reaction to the death of two youths, Nirmal Pant and Pushkar Dangol, whose bodies were found buried just outside the Kathmandu valley.
Eyewitnesses say they were kidnapped a month ago by members of the Young Communist League (YCL), the youth wing of the Maoist party which now leads the government after ending its decade-long insurrection.
Other incidents
Its leadership has denied involvement in the killings and points out that before the incident there were political clashes between youth wings of rival parties, which saw one Maoist activist killed.
"We didn't do it," the Maoist leader in Kathmandu, known as Comrade Sagar, told the BBC.
"The other parties accuse us, but they are the ones making trouble. Even since the peace agreement, dozens of our own young members have been killed around the country. And it could be that these two guys were killed in a scuffle between the other parties."
There have however been other incidents in the past year in which the former rebel party admitted to kidnappings and killings by its members.
In recent months other parties have sought to develop youth leagues to rival that of the Maoists, making the political atmosphere more volatile and, at times, violent.
The protests come as the Maoists' central committee is engaged in a heated debate about whether it can support the current parliamentary-style system which brought it to power.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/south_asia/7739136.stm

Published: 2008/11/20 16:10:00 GMT

BBC MMVIII

Escher
21st November 2008, 10:59 PM
I wouldn't be too concerned. Most of the old hands have been in Nepal over the last few years when it has been kicking off in one way or another. Revolution, strikes, riots and demonstrations - there has been quite a lot of that of the past few years. But every single one of us as far as I know have been perfectly safe and our trips have not been affected aside from having to have some contingency time when it hasn't been possible to travel due to a bandh.

The trouble is nearly always localised and easy to avoid. Stay away from large demonstrations (the police can be pretty heavy handed) and you'll be fine. I think the most anyone here has had to put up with is interesting encounters with maoists on occasions.

But still I think you will find general agreement that we have found our experiences in Nepal to be safe, and I actually feel much safer on the streets of Kathmandu than I would do at home out and about late at night.

yakshaver
22nd November 2008, 02:56 AM
I would not make much of this news.
Over the last few years there have been demonstrations, strikes (bandth) etc in Kathmandu. Appart from minor inconveniences (e.g. taxis not running to/from the airport for short periods), tourists have not been affected or targeted.

I don't think this is about to change.
Like Escher says, to me Kathmandu feels safer than some parts of big tourist cities like Rome or Paris.

Even when I was there during demonstrations. Generally these happen in certain areas, not in Thamel or other tourist frequented places.

The other interesing aspect is the way the media portrays the Nepali capital. I am sure this is not just my experience, but I was in Kathmandu during one of the more "florid" periods of the demonstrations in the past, and appart from seeing some trucks carrying demonstrators somewhere near Ring Road, nothing affected me. (This does not mean that the Nepali police were not quite "effective" in occasionally beating demonstrators, and hurndling them in trucks and carrying them outside Kathamandu, while the demostrators sang revolutionary songs - this was their method. But it did not affect tourist life, did not happen in the places where tourists venture usually). I was with four other friends taking them to all the usual places like Baktapur, Patan, Boudha, Swayambunath without problem.
Still, while reading the western media news about events in Kathmandu on the internet in the evening, I was given the impression that the whole of the city is ablaze with violence... of being in a totally different place. Once or twice I looked outside the window to make sure I am not hallucinating, and that I am indeed in Kathmandu...

webmaster
22nd November 2008, 08:15 AM
Everything is back to normal with traffic jams and racing motorcycles. The government caved in and met the demands of the protesters.

Bandhs (strikes in which every shop closes and traffic stays off the road) are the primary method that political and social groups use to convey their demands to the government. It looks horrible because they burn tyres in the road. Things are normally peaceful except when protesters stone cars that "violate" the bandh.

Only hassle for tourists is difficulty of getting to the airport, long distance buses are cancelled and most restaurants are closed. Hotels stay open and it's usually possible to eat in a hotel restaurant.

Suginami
22nd November 2008, 09:34 AM
its disappointing but I guess this kind of nonsense goes on all the time. Where a killing may be used to discredit another side and cause trouble. This could easily have been done by former military or police or former king associates wanting to cause mischief. For sure the conspiracy theories will be rife all over the city and the country. But like Y says just take it easy and work around it. Doesn't usually affect us too much.

Roll on K January 4

Boulia
25th November 2008, 12:59 AM
I have been travelling back to Australia so this has passed but here is what i saw being on the ground in KTM. As in the past these things are an inconvenience not a risk in my view. Last Thursday most (very few bikes only were on the road) traffic stopped. I walked out to the Immigration Office from Thamel and there were bricks, rubble and the remainder of a few tyres that were burnt on the road at some intersections and many police with those bamboo sticks on patrol and a few young people running off and on the roads to scare off traffic. 80% of Thamel shops closed but a lot started opening by 5-6pm. The Tourism board had a bus or two running to the airport but it was a mad scramble to get a seat from what i saw. Very few of the tourist only taxis ran which was a bit different to past strikes. The resolution came with govt talks and compensation offered to families.

lazy climber
26th November 2008, 05:34 AM
I have a daughter who is working in Banepa teaching school this year. She e-mailed us about this issue and said it messed up her "town" day to KTM. She later called and said things were calmed down. Her Mom really liked to hear this.

yakshaver
26th November 2008, 06:33 AM
I have a daughter who is working in Banepa teaching school this year. She e-mailed us about this issue and said it messed up her "town" day to KTM. She later called and said things were calmed down. Her Mom really liked to hear this.

Is your daughter at the Sheer Memorial Hospital priamary school, nursing school or some other one?

lazy climber
26th November 2008, 11:04 PM
She is at Scheer Memorial. She teaches at the grade school in the mornings and then works for the Hospital Administator in the Afternoons. She is a Biology/PreMed student but could not pass up an opportunity to take a year off from school and work in Nepal. She has already done 2 weeks of trekking in the Annapurna District, will be going to EBC in December and I am going over in April 09 for an Island Peak trek/climb that she will go on.

I am not sure how much work they are getting out of her with all this sight seeing?

yakshaver
27th November 2008, 04:13 AM
She is at Scheer Memorial. She teaches at the grade school in the mornings and then works for the Hospital Administator in the Afternoons. She is a Biology/PreMed student but could not pass up an opportunity to take a year off from school and work in Nepal. She has already done 2 weeks of trekking in the Annapurna District, will be going to EBC in December and I am going over in April 09 for an Island Peak trek/climb that she will go on.

I am not sure how much work they are getting out of her with all this sight seeing?

Sounds like she's having a ball. Sheer Memorial is doing some excellent work, expecially for those who can't afford medical care. I think I have visited it a couple of times.

Per
29th November 2008, 03:12 PM
Does it effect western tourists?

Yes !

The shutdown, known as a bandh, resulted in a much more politically charged atmosphere in the capital.
It was most fiercely enforced on the roads that would usually be the busiest.
At one key junction, linking the hill-ringed Kathmandu valley to the outside world, there was not a single vehicle to be seen.
All schools and most businesses were closed and the streets were instead roamed by large groups of young men and boys.

This kind of news usually translates into that as a foreigner you sit incapsulated in one of the tourist ghettos, while friendly Nepalese that depend on the tourist industry cater to your needs and denounce the protests and advice you not to go into the battle zones. Main drawback is that it makes travel extremely unpredictable and ocassionally impossible. You may have to stay put in Kathmandu or Pokhara or wherever until it is over, can take a day or two or three.

It should be noted that there are in a sense two Nepals, the Nepal that has roads, and the roadless Nepal. In the former disturbances can be very tangible. In the latter you will not notice, except for that some locals follow what goes on on the radio, and it is to this Nepal you want to go if you are going trekking.