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Parliament Secretariat probes two lawmakers who attended Tibet forum in Latvia

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

May 14, 2019-

The Parliament Secretariat has launched an investigation into the participation of two members of the House of Representatives in an event organised by the International Network of Parliamentarians on Tibet, saying attending the forum is against Nepal’s One-China policy.

Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara on Tuesday inquired Ekwal Miya, a lawmaker from the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal, if he had participated in the programme held in the Latvian capital Riga earlier this month. As Pradip Yadav, another lawmaker who had accompanied Miya, was absent in the House, Mahara said he has not spoken with him yet. Officials said Miya did not give a clear answer to Mahara’s query. 

“The Speaker has started an investigation to establish if their participation was intentional or accidental,” Dilli Malla, press advisor to the Speaker, told the Post in an interview on Tuesday.

Two officials at the secretariat said Mahara came to know about their participation only after the Post published a story on Tuesday, in which it reported that Miya and Yadav participated in the programme in their personal capacity. Both lawmakers had not taken permission from the Speaker—a requirement for a formal visit—but had informed the secretariat about their trip.

The officials also told the Post that representatives from the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu had called authorities at the secretariat and expressed their “serious concern” over the lawmakers’ participation in the Tibet forum.

“The Chinese have taken the issue very seriously,” said a senior official at the secretariat, seeking anonymity because he was not authorised to talk to the media.

The Post made attempts to reach the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu but did not receive a response.

Late on Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry in a statement said it was unaware of the lawmakers’ trip and it continues to support One-China policy.

“Nepal firmly stands on its One-China policy and does not allow any activity contrary to it on its soil,” the statement said.

Along with the Parliament Secretariat, the respective parties of both lawmakers have also started their own investigation into the issue. Both the members of the Lower House had gone to the European nation without the consent from whips of their party. The lawmakers are required to inform their whips when they have to take a leave of absence from parliamentary meetings. Laxman Lal Karna, the whip of the Janata party, said he was unaware about Miya’s visit. “The issue has become serious now,” he told the Post.

Uma Shankar Argariya, the whip of the newly formed Samajbadi Party, too said he had no clue about Yadav’s participation in the programme that basically supports the Free Tibet campaign. 

Speaking to the Post on Tuesday, Yadav said they were deceived by the organisers. 

“They [organisers] said it was an international conference of the lawmakers but actually it wasn’t that,” he told the Post. “We were shocked when the programme began and we immediately left the venue.”

In its declaration following the conclusion of the convention, the Central Tibetan Administration says it is thankful for the participation of those Members of Parliament “who came to Riga despite having been pressured by the Government of the People’s Republic of China not to attend the forum.”

The convention was held to express solidarity with the Tibetan people in a non-violent struggle for their rights, including their right to self-determination.

According to the Central Tibetan Administration’s website, the convention was attended by over 100 international participants, including 25 lawmakers from Australia, New Zealand, France, Romania, Canada, Czech Republic, Lithuania, India, Nepal, Chile, Latvia, the United Kingdom, and Scotland.

Published: 14-05-2019 21:45

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