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Nepal PM Prachanda likely to visit India ahead of China

Nepal PM Prachanda likely to  visit India ahead of China
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The Maoist chief, who was elected by lawmakers to the top post for the second time earlier this month, had rubbed India the wrong way when he chose China as his first destination after taking over as the premier in 2008 and attended the Beijing Olympics that year.

Prachanda’s predecessor, KP Sharma Oli too visited India as his first official foreign destination. But the run up to his visit was surrounded by intense speculation that the Communist leader might visit China ahead of India.

Oli, viewed by many as pro-China, visited India in February, when the agitation by Madhesis —inhabitants of the southern plains who share strong cultural and family bonds with Indians —over Nepal’s new Constitution was at its peak. The protesters had blocked trade transit points with India, creating a huge shortage of essential goods and fuel in the landlocked Nepal. 

The usual practice of new prime ministers in Nepal is to visit to India, ahead of China. Prachanda’s China trip in 2008 was the only departure from that practice.

It is learnt that he will visit India ahead of China this time, sources said. The development comes as Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Bimlendra Nidhi begins his two-day visit to India as Prachanda’s special envoy on Thursday.  His visit is aimed at preparing ground for Prachanda’s forthcoming visit to India, foreign ministry sources said. 

Nidhi is expected to discuss the possible visit by President Pranab Mukherjee to Nepal and the proposed visit by Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari to India, they said.  The visit is also aimed at normalising and improving Nepal’s relations with India, which was at an all-time low. 

Nepal to give Rs 1 mn to those killed during Madhesi protests
Nepal’s new government on Thursday announced a compensation of Rs 1 million each to families of 52 people, including 11 security personnel, who were killed during the Madhesis’ protests over the new Constitution.

The Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Prachanda decided to provide the compensation to 41 civilians and 11 security personnel, who were killed in the months-long anti-Constitution protests, said the minister for environment Jaya Dev Joshi. At least 50 people were killed during the six months-long protests in southern Nepal districts last year following the promulgation of the new Constitution.

Earlier this month, the Cabinet had decided that Nepali Rs 1 million will be given to the families of those killed in the protests. It also decided to provide free medical treatment to those injured in the agitation.

Meanwhile, the government on Thursday formed a seven-member probe committee led by former Supreme Court justice Girish Chandra Lal to investigate into violent incidents occurred during the protests.

Prime Minister and CPN Maoist Centre Chairaman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” and coalition partner Nepali Congress had recently signed a pact with the agitating United Democratic Madhesi Front and other ethnic groups which agreed to provide compensation to families of the 
Madhesi unrest and form a commission to probe into the violent incidents during the protest. The Madhesi parties had led the six months-long agitation.

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