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A queer divide

Pratyush Nath Upreti

Recent news from Pokhara, where Parajuli Marg was declared a ‘Chhakka Prohibited Area”—with permission from the Kaski District Administration Office—have yet again brought to light the acceptance of sexual minorities in our society and showed that discrimination by the state continues.

In the case of Sunil Babu Pant & Others vs Nepal Government, the Supreme Court of Nepal made a historic decision, ordering the government to recognise a ‘third gender’ and protect the rights of sexual and gender minorities. Certainly the 2007 verdict gave the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community immense confidence to establish their identity in society. But despite legal recognition, they still suffer from societal discrimination and stigma.

A few weeks ago, I came upon an unread Facebook message from a Nepal-born Australian citizen, who commented on my previous contribution to The Kathmandu Post titled ‘Criminal Love’ (January 7). The ‘gentleman’ …

A queer divide | Opinion | Oped

If LGBTI people are third gender then who is first and second gender? Is male first and female second gender? Isn’t this another form of discrimination? Or, if ‘male or female’ would be established as first gender, who is second gender? And again, isn’t it discrimination to recognise the ‘homosexual group’ as third gender? What kind of equality is this supposed to be?
A queer divide | Opinion | Oped

Academica – Industry: Learning from each other

As a student of Intellectual Property Law, I have often came cross scholars criticizing industry being more influential in International IP negotiation, ignoring the prospects of creating balanced IP regime between developing and developed country which ultimately boost global IP regime. Academia and industry have their own perspectives on IP but some form of collaboration would certainly lead to a sustainable intellectual property regime.

On 17th October 2014, I had an opportunity to attend the lecture of Prof. Meir Pugatch, one in the series of expert lectures held in the IPKM programme. It was a great experience for me to hear from an industry person and academic, on how industry and academics can learn from each other in order to improve IP. For me, being from the least-developing country Nepal, where intellectual property rights are treated as neglected stepchildren and where an IP-centric industry as well as IP academics are lacking, it is very fascinating to hear how, in his e…

JUSTICE DENIED

Pratyush Nath Upreti

On September 22, Nanda Prasad Adhikari, who had been on a hunger strike for more than 300 days demanding justice for his son who was killed during the Maoist insurgency, passed away. Once the news of his demise became public, there was flood of sympathy on Facebook and Twitter. Following this, most so-called human rights activists were preoccupied giving interviews and posting their comments on the incident online. Still, politicians and the state did not provide an immediate reaction to the episode. Although, in medical terms, Adhikari died because of his ill health, in reality, he had been lying on his death bed for a long time. So who are we to blame for his death—Nanda Prasad himself, the state, or civil society?

TRC and politicians

It has been over seven years since Janaandolan II. During this period, six different governments have been formed with the same political parties and politicians who were part of the Janaandolan. But when it comes to addressing i…

Justice denied | Opinion | Oped

Once the news of his demise became public, there was flood of sympathy on Facebook and Twitter. Following this, most so-called human rights activists were preoccupied giving interviews and posting their comments on the incident online. Still, politicians and the state did not provide an immediate reaction to the episode. Although, in medical terms, Adhikari died because of his ill health, in reality, he had been lying on his death bed for a long time. So who are we to blame for his death—Nanda Prasad himself, the state, or civil society?  

Nanda Prasad’s convinces me that I am from a country with no human values. In addition to the politicians, media and civil society, we as individual citizens also share the blame. Our support for causes is limited to liking pictures on Facebook. Even those who supported Adhikari did so out of sympathy rather than for the cause of justice. As citizens, had we been concerned about our duties, we would have fought this battle with the Adhikaris together…
ESSAY ON INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS IN NEPAL

Towards an Asian century of prosperity - The Hindu

"Chinese Dragon and the Indian Elephant" As two important forces in a world that moves towards multipolarity, we need to become global partners having strategic coordination. According to Prime Minister Modi, China and India are “two bodies, one spirit.” I appreciate this comment. Despite their distinctive features, the “Chinese Dragon” and the “Indian Elephant” both cherish peace, equity and justice. We need to work together to carry forward the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence (the Panchsheel), make the international order more fair and reasonable, and improve the mechanism and rules of international governance, so as to make them better respond to the trend of the times and meet the common needs of the international community.
Towards an Asian century of prosperity - The Hindu

CYBER DEMOCRACY

In a previous contribution to The Post, titled ‘Cybercrime without cyber-rules’ (May 25), I had raised the issue of an inadequate cyber law regime in Nepal. Then after, we have witnessed a series of arrests under cyber laws, from the saga of Home Minister Bamdev Gautam to the controversial arrest of one Abdul Rahman. Most arrests have been under Section 47 of the Electronic Transaction Act for commenting and posting on social sites. Hence, after Rahman’s arrest, voices were raised by civil society concerning freedom of speech on the Internet.

Speech and the internet

Ever since the arrival of the internet in Nepal over a decade ago, demand and access has been increasing. In recent years, internet has become part of daily life for many. But the internet has also troubled many people, with increasing incidents of cyber crimes. Data from Nepal Police’s Crime Investigation Department, shows that in 2011-12, there were a total of nine cyber crime offences; in 2012-13, offence increased to …

Cyber democracy | Opinion | Oped

"Cases of cyber crimes have been increasing rapidly in Nepal. Due to a lack of awareness about the nature of the offence and existing legal measures, victims are reluctant to seek redress. But the decision on the Abdul Rahman case will surely invite a flood of cases against cyber offences. The judgment stands on merit and the court’s observations are welcome and much appreciated. However, it is true that the government should be concerned about technological advancement and its impacts on society. Still, a blanket restriction of freedom of speech on the internet is not permissible at all." Cyber democracy | Opinion | Oped

Cyber democracy | Opinion | Oped

"Cases of cyber crimes have been increasing rapidly in Nepal. Due to a lack of awareness about the nature of the offence and existing legal measures, victims are reluctant to seek redress. But the decision on the Abdul Rahman case will surely invite a flood of cases against cyber offences. The judgment stands on merit and the court’s observations are welcome and much appreciated. However, it is true that the government should be concerned about technological advancement and its impacts on society. Still, a blanket restriction of freedom of speech on the internet is not permissible at all." Cyber democracy | Opinion | Oped

Thank you, Narendra Bhai! But No Thanks!! | NewSpotLight Nepal News Magazine

"No, Narendra Bhai, I am not thanking you for the billion dollar soft credit your have extended to Nepal without it having even been asked for. Given that Loktantra here quickly morphed into an all-party Loot-tantra and has now naturally progressed into a Don-tantra, easy money in the hands of a kleptocracy will not do any good to the people of Nepal. Indeed, given the likelihood of its misuse by the current dispensationbrought into existence by your own spook-led Raj via the 12-pont Delhi deal in November 2005, future generations of Nepalis might judge this to be intravenous feeding of Loot-tantra and may have to invoke the Doctrine of Odious Debts, something enshrined into international law by the US against Spain after taking over Cuba at the end of the 19th Century."

Thank you, Narendra Bhai! But No Thanks!! | NewSpotLight Nepal News Magazine

By Dipak Gyawali

Judge and appoint | Opinion | Oped

If we could take pointers from India’s legal system, it would be contextual and more practical. Even after going through such an enormous change in appointment history, India has still not introduced Parliamentary hearings and there is no representation of the parliament in the new mechanism to appoint the judges in India. The structure of the appointment authority is not of primary importance. What is more important is how this body goes through a better process of appointments. The apex body ought to create committees for the formation of a roster. Another committee could investigate and finalise a suitable name for the shortlist for the appointment of judges. The apex body can only choose names from this list that has been finalised by the sub-committees. Only then will there be transparency and better selection of judges.
Judge and appoint | Opinion | Oped

A moral foundation for foreign policy - The Hindu

In 1946, Nehru told the U.N. that India sought its place in the “diplomatic sun.” India was not a major military nor economic power. But it was also not merely a moral voice, a cry in the wilderness. It would use its prestige to build a large coalition on behalf of “world peace and the welfare of mankind.”
A moral foundation for foreign policy - The Hindu

SSRN Email on My Paper

Dear Pratyush Nath Upreti:

Your paper, "GENETIC & ENVIRONMENTAL INFLUENCES ON CRIMINAL BEHAVIOUR", was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for: AARN: Human Biology (Topic).

As of 27 July 2014, your paper has been downloaded 119 times. You may view the abstract and download statistics at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2188834.

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Your paper may be included in future Top Ten lists for other networks or eJournals. If so, you will receive additi…

A BURNING ISSUE

Two recent burn cases—of Rihana Sheikh and Chanda Salmani—have received serious attention in the media and have prompted civil society to raise their voices against such kinds of violence. Rihana, a victim of her own husband, has returned home after a 45-day treatment at Bir Hospital. Chanda, who was set on fire along with her three minor children by her brother-in-law, not only suffers from serious burn injuries but also went into trauma due to the demise of her two minor children. She too has returned home after a long stay at the Teaching Hospital.

Increasing violence

Like with Rihana and Chanda, every other day, there are news reports of violence against women. Although such violence is not new to our society, in recent years, the rate of incidence, or reporting, has increased rapidly. According to the police’s Crime Investigation Department, in between the fiscal years 2011/12 and 2012/13, the number of rape cases increased from 555 to 677. Similarly, polygamy increased from 2…

A burning issue | Opinion | Oped

But in the end, what does the victim get? Should the culprit’s imprisonment alone be cause for joy? Our penal system does not have provisions to hold perpetrators accountable to cover all the medical expenses of the victim. Particularly in burn cases, treatment can go on for years with general surgery to plastic surgery. In such a scenario, who is responsible for covering medical expenses? Is it the state’s duty or the victim’s right to demand medical assistance from the perpetrator? 
A burning issue | Opinion | Oped

TEMPLE AND STATE

Pratyush Nath Upreti

In a previous contribution to The Post, titled ‘Unanswered questions’ (March 1, 2014), I had raised five questions regarding the way of life under secularism in Nepal. With the recent election results in India, where the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) National Democratic Alliance (NDA) secured a majority on a scale not seen in an Indian election since 1984, another question has arisen: will the BJP-led government under Narenda Modi help reinstate Nepal as a Hindu country? Although analysts like Kanak Mani Dixit have rejected this possibility, there is yet some speculation among the intelligentsia.

Parties and secularism

Prior to the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal’s (RPP-N) convention, party chief Kamal Thapa had hinted that they would first advocate for a Hindu nation, then on reinstating the monarchy. However, during the convention RPP-N identified itself as a pro-Hindu, pro-monarchy party and depicted the CPN-UML as “opportunist”, the Nepali Congress as “di…

EDUCATING INMATES

Pratyush Nath Upreti & Asmita Dhital

Freedom is the end at which the concept of the common good seems to culminate. It is believed that a person can express their thoughts in a free society in a constructive manner and make democracy strong. For us, education is a weapon that can free a person from the prison of ignorance. Last Saturday, when the School Leaving Certificate (SLC) results were published, a headline on a leading English daily read ‘Boys fare better than girls’, highlighting the male pass percentage of 49.43 against 38.27 for girls. This headline alone asserts that we continue to live in unequal societies where females are behind in every sector of society and education is no exception. But such headings, though bonafide, also serve to impress on the population an image of the female as les capable than males.

Passing the SLC

No doubt, meaningful education has not reached every corner of the country but when we talk of inequality, there is a group that is extremely …

CYBERCRIME WITHOUT CYBER-RULES

Pratyush Nath Upreti

In a welfare state, citizens have access to electricity, water, roads, education and health. Since citizens pay for these amenities through taxes, they expect services from the state in times of need. Increasingly, with the ubiquity of the internet, access to the web is also being considered a right. Although this scenario does not exist in the Nepali context, considering the potential of the internet to bring changes to societies and economies, the question of internet access as a basic right could bear merit. As per a World Bank report, there were 499,000 internet users in Nepal in 2008. These numbers have certainly increased. According to the Nepal Telecom authority, internet penetration had reached 28.92 percent in Nepal as of November 2013.

However, along with the spread of the internet, a new avenue for crime has also evolved. A worldwide nuisance already, cybercrimes in Nepal are rising as the Internet becomes more commonplace. The Nepal Police’s Crime Inv…

EVIL ON THE LOOSE

EVIL ON THE LOOSE

Pratyush Nath Upreti

February 14 is considered to be the biggest festival for lovers, but last Valentine's Day will be remembered for the barbaric act of a spurned suitor, Om Prakash Mehta, who threw acid on a 17-year-old girl. Many such gruesome and brutal acid attacks happen in Nepal, but they are not reported in the media and often remain unheard. This incident highlights two important things. First, the growing trend of youth not tolerating rejection by their lovers. Second, it gives us a preview of the social status of women in our society.

Among incidents of gender violence, acid attacks are the cruellest act of violence against women, as the victim suffers the severe impact of an attack that will remain for the rest of her life. Acid attacks are one of the most common forms of sexual violence in the world, but it's more prevalent in Southeast Asia. As far as Nepal is concerned, there is no concrete and reliable data about acid attacks. In most cases, t…

Mockery Of Justice?

Pratyush Nath Upreti

A month before the second round of Constituent Assembly election, the Nepalese civil society members were heavily supporting the outcry of an Adhikari couple, on a fasting over several months, showing their protest of the government, which was reluctant to provide the couple with the post-conflict justice. Again, the news of the fast-unto-death of the Adhikari couple is flooding the media. It has become a topic of peer discussions. The Adhikari couple are demanding proper investigation, from the time of the Bhattarai government, into the killing of their eighteen years old son Krishna Prasad Adhikari nine years ago. The hunger strike caught the eyes of the media and civil society, which have showed great concerns. Yet, the voices of the Adhikari couple are still going unheard. Recently, their hunger strike entered the100th day and then crossed it.

Transitional Justice

Nepal is in a transitional phase. Conflict cases like Adhikari couple's are yet to be settl…

Unanswered Questions

Pratyush Nath Upreti

Secularism is a political ideology with a set of normative claims as to the relation between the state and religion. My understanding of secularism is based on two premises. First, political secularism means the state has no religion at all. Second, social secularism denotes religion entering into the domain of the individual private sphere from the public sphere so no one can interfere in it.

Nepal was declared a Hindu kingdom by the 1964 Constitution and the Panchayat system further demonstrated Nepal as a Hindu kingdom at the global level and created a nationalist feeling. This scenario continued more or less. Subsequently, however, pro-secularism voices were often heard from the Maoists. On February 4, 1996, Baburam Bhattarai and Pampha Bhusal submitted a 40-point memorandum to then Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, which include the suspension of Nepal as a Hindu state and declaring it secular. Since the insurgency, secularism has been a political agenda of …

The Creative Integration of Ex-Combatants in Nepal

As Nepal begins to re-build after its Maoist insurgency, Pratyush N. Upreti comments on the efforts of the ex-combatants to re-integrate into society. ♦

On February 13th, 1996, Maoists launched an insurgency by attacking rural police posts across the mid-western and central regions of Nepal. Before then, who had ever thought that Nepal would turn into a secular republic country? Did anyone ever imagine the easy demise of the monarchy?

At the time many people did not believe in the Maoist ideology, and the few that did believed in the ideology but not the approach. There was also a group of people who may or may not had believed in Maoist ideology but wanted to change in Nepalese society by uprooting the monarchy and feudalism. With a vision to bring in a New Nepal, they followed the footsteps of Maoist leader’s. These groups of people are known as ex-combatants, who stayed away from home, family and friends, compromising study, pleasure, and accepting wounds, blood and bullets. Afte…
MIND GAINS
Pratyush Nath Upreti

Speaking at a memorial service for Nelson Mandela on Dec 10, 2013, South African President Jacob Zuma said, “There is no one like Madiba. He was one of a kind.” Indeed the South African president’s statement about the world’s greatest liberator who contributed so much to strengthening the values of human rights is very significant. Mandela is an inspiration for all mankind. Unfortunately, a controversy has arisen over the ownership and unauthorised use of the name Mandela since his death.

Nelson Mandela’s image, name and quotations have been registered under the proprietorship of the Nelson Mandela Foundation as per South African trademark laws. They are registered under several classes including jewellery, clothing, books and other products. Furthermore, other proprietors of the Mandela brand include the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University and the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. Infringement and unauthorised …
CRIMINAL LOVE
Pratyush Nath Upreti

Recently, I received an email from an Indian friend saying, “I just became a criminal". This incident happened a day after International Human Rights Day, when the Supreme Court (SC) of India, in Suresh Kumar vs Naz Foundation, upheld a law dating back to the colonial era that criminalised homosexuality.
In 2009, the Delhi High Court declared Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalised consensual homosexual acts between adults, to be in violation of constitutional provisions. It opined that criminalisation “of homosexuality condemns in perpetuity a sizable section of society and force them to live their lives in the shadow of harassment, exploitation, humiliation, cruel and degrading treatments at the hands of the law enforcement machinery."

Society and morality

The judgment was overwhelmingly welcomed. However, the said decision was challenged at the SC, prompting the recent decision that upheld the illegality of homosex…