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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Palace aide's memoir bares China skeletons in Nepal cupboard

January 14, 2011

2011-01-12
http://www.sify.com/news/palace-aide-s-memoir-bares-china-skeletons-in-nepal-cupboard-news-international-lbmpakggagd.html


Kathmandu, Jan 12 (IANS) The controversial memoir of a former top palace
aide of Nepal, that has dragged India into dispute and besmirched the
images of the former royals, also bares Chinese skeletons in Nepal's
cupboard. It contends that Beijing sought to create bad blood between
Nepal and India and pressured for the deployment of the army to curb the
flight of Tibetan refugees.

Gen. Bibek Kumar Shah rose to be the military secretary of the royal
palace from a former aide de camp of king Birendra.

His tenure saw the king as well as nine more royals die in a bloodbath
in the palace. After Birendra's brother Gyanendra ascended the throne,
Shah was asked to resign and was refused further audience with the king.

The disgraced general's recently released memoir, 'Maile dekheko durbar'
- The court as I saw it - created controversy even before it was
officially released. A section of Nepal's media highlighted his
allegation that India had trained Nepal's Maoist guerrillas during the
10-year insurgency to demolish monarchy in Nepal.

The allegation was denied as baseless by both the Indian government and
the Maoists, who are now the largest party in Nepal's parliament.

What has gone unremarked is the adverse image of Nepal's northern
neighbour China that the memoir paints, willy-nilly.

Though he was frequently dined by the then Chinese ambassador to Nepal
Wu Congyong and he exhibited a pro-China stance, Shah's 'diary'
boomerangs on Beijing with its explosive entries.

Shah writes that during the growing Maoist insurgency in Nepal, Wu met
the then Nepali prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, and was 'understood
to have clarified that Nepal's Maoist Party (then a banned terrorist
organisation) moved as per the Indian agenda and has no relation with
China'.

According to Shah, the Chinese envoy also said the Maoists were
deliberately misusing Chinese leader Mao Zedong's name to create a
misconception about their links with China at the behest of India.

'According to the information given by the Chinese ambassador, there is
an unofficial agreement between the Maoists and India's intelligence
agency RAW to end monarchy in Nepal,' the memoir says.

During his tenure, Wu, supported by Shah, lobbied vigorously for the
establishment of a commercial bank, which would have been a joint
venture between China and Nepal's army, with the Army Welfare Fund being
used for capital.

Shah advised the king the bank could be used to pay pension to the
Gorkha soldiers formerly employed in the Indian and British armies and
the pension camps run in Nepal by both the armies could be shut down.

Shah showed a deep animosity towards the Indian Army pension camps -
that besides disbursing pension also provide medical treatment and other
welfare schemes to veteran soldiers and their families - saying they
were a threat to Nepal's national security, like the Indian consulate in
southern Nepal.

The commercial bank between the army and China was an incredible
proposal that would have been undoubtedly rejected by India, if not
Britain as well. Shah's lobbying did not yield any result finally though
he managed to get the finance ministry approve of 20 percent foreign
investment in such a venture.

Wu also reportedly told the palace official that Tibetans were causing
trouble to Chinese police along the Tibet-Nepal border, escaping to
Nepal and indulging in anti-China activities there.

'The UN (refugee welfare agency) in Nepal is seeking to grant refugee
status to such people,' the Chinese envoy reportedly said. 'It's not
right and can harm Nepal-China ties. All such (Tibetan) people should be
registered as criminals and deported to China.'

The Chinese ambassador is also reported as having met senior Nepal
Police officials and suggested 'there should be good relations between
Nepal Police, Chinese police and the Chinese embassy' and frequent
exchange of information.

More than a decade after the reported meeting, whistleblower WikiLeaks
published a document last month that said China was paying Nepal's
police to arrest fleeing Tibetan refugees and hand them over to the
Chinese.

The Chinese envoy also asked the palace to transfer the then home
secretary of Nepal, Tika Dutt Niraula, and suggested that Nepal deploy
its army to crack down on fleeing Tibetans and strengthen the army for
that purpose.

According to Shah's memoir, China also sought to have Nepal's Army
confer the same honour on the Chinese Army chief that it does on the
Indian Army chief.

India and Nepal regard each other's army chiefs as honorary generals of
their own armies, an honour that enhances the ties between the two
neighbours and China.

However, the proposal has not yet been accepted by the government of Nepal.

(Sudeshna Sarkar can be contacted at sudeshna.s@ians.in)
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