Suu Kyi, Rakhi Sawant dominate Nepal’s headlines

November 14th, 2010 - 2:42 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, Nov 14 (IANS) As Myanmar’s main opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest after over seven years, Nepal hailed the gesture, remembering with pride its long association with the pro-democracy movement spearheaded by her father in the 1930s.

Along with the 65-year-old Nobel laureate, who is a leader of the National League for Democracy party, another woman dominated the headlines in the Nepali media Sunday - controversial Indian starlet and reality show host Rakhi Sawant.

While images of a smiling Suu Kyi waving to her supporters, after her house arrest was lifted, appeared on the front page of most dailies and dominated the TV channels Sunday, the entertainment pages were splashed with news of Rakhi facing the prospect of arrest after a young man who took part in her TV show, “Rakhi ka Insaaf”, committed suicide, allegedly after being humiliated by her.

“Rakhi Sawant in legal trouble”, said the Kathmandu Post. “Rakhi’s justice bites her,” reported the Himalayan Times, and both carried photographs of the starlet.

Suu Kyi’s release by the country’s ruling junta Saturday was of course front page. Nepal has been one of the most vocal advocates of her release.

Purushottam Basnet, a veteran leader of the Nepali Congress (NC), the oldest party in Nepal and the biggest till the rise of the Maoists in the 2008 elections, reminisced: “Nepal’s association with the socialist and pro-democracy movement in Burma goes way back in the past.”

“The NC had supported the socialist movement started by Suu Kyi’s father, Gen Aung San, and at most of its meetings and conferences, had been urging the Myanmar government to release Suu Kyi.”

The veteran leader also remembered a long visit to Nepal by Suu Kyi and her husband, Michael Aris.

“Suu Kyi had some work at the UN and stayed in Nepal for over five months,” he said. “She said that she could understand snatches of Nepali and the Newari language.”

The stay resulted in a book by Suu Kyi on Nepal published in 1985 as part of a series, “Let’s visit”.

Nepal’s first elected prime minister B.P. Koirala was close to Suu Kyi’s father and mother Khin Kyi, who in 1960 was Burma’s ambassador to India as well as to Nepal. Khin Kyi had also visited Nepal to present her credentials.

The republic’s name was changed to Myanmar in 1989 by the junta government.

In 2006, after overthrowing the army-backed regime of King Gyanendra, Nepal saw the restoration of democracy when the king was forced to reinstate the parliament dissolved due to his machinations.

The reinstated parliament, calling Suu Kyi a symbol of Asian democracy, became the first house in the world to table a proposal calling for her release.

The Nepali Congress’ trade union hosted a conference of world trade unions in Kathmandu that reinstated the call and sought action against the companies working in Myanmar with the support of the military junta.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in Politics |