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Under pressure from Speaker and parties, lawmakers say sorry for attending Tibet convention in Europe

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

May 20, 2019-

Two members of the House of Representatives, who were embroiled in controversy for their participation in World Parliamentarian Convention on Tibet, said on Monday they were unaware of the motive of the event and that they are filled with remorse for attending it.

Ekwal Miya and Pradeep Yadav, lawmakers from the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal and the Samajwadi Party Nepal, respectively, had participated in the convention organised in Riga of Latvia from May 7 to 10. The event was aimed at garnering support to the Free Tibet movement.

Organising a press meet in the Capital on Monday, the two members of the Lower House said they were kept in the dark about the objective of the event and that they were told it was just an international gathering of lawmakers.

“We are regretful to have participated in the programme unknowingly,” both the lawmakers said in a joint statement at the press meet. “We were on a personal visit to Turkey, Switzerland and Latvia, which coincided with the event.”

After the Post reported about the two lawmakers’ visit to Riga to participate in the Tibet convention, Chinese Embassy officials on May 14 had called the authorities at the Parliament Secretariat and expressed their “serious concern” over the lawmakers’ participation in the Tibet forum.

The Parliament Secretariat had then launched an investigation into the two lawmakers’ visit to Riga, just as government officials expressed ignorance about the entire incident.

Speaker Mahara too had sought verbal clarification from both the lawmakers for their controversial participation.

“The two lawmakers decided to call the press meet and make their position clear after the Speaker and leadership of their respective parties directed them to do so,” a senior official at the Parliament Secretariat told the Post on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.

At the press meet, Miya and Yadav said they wanted to reiterate their full commitment to the government’s One-China policy and the foreign policy of Nepal guided by the spirit of the country’s constitution.

The lawmakers said they have also assured Speaker Mahara that they would be careful in the future.

“Their clarification shows they didn’t expect their participation would invite such a huge criticism,” said Dilli Malla, press adviser to Speaker Mahara. “The title of the convention clearly states it is related to Tibet; their claim that they ‘did not know’ the theme of the event does not hold water. They, however, did not show solidarity to the event—neither in writing nor verbally—to the organisers.”

The Samajwadi Party last week issued a statement saying the party was unaware of Yadav’s participation and it was investigating into the matter.

The convention concluded with a declaration that the Central Tibetan Administration 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 also expressed solidarity with the Tibetan people in their 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.

“As they have expressed regret for their participation saying it was an unintentional move,” said Malla, “the issue is over now.”

 

Published: 21-05-2019 06:30

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