Friday, July 4, 2008

Journalist's face covered with mask of maoism

Ashok Gurung from Refugee Rights Coordination Committee wrote an article in The Kathmandu Post, daily of Nepal where his exact quote was “But to my astonishment when I had gone to see my friends at the IOM transit camp in Kathmandu, I overheard one of my friends telling to a man, "I will soon join Bhutan Maoist party". Then the man asked why it was so. The answer was "to fill the vacant post where you were before". Later it was revealed that the man was a politburo member of CPB-MLM, Gangaram Lamitare alias "Chatyang" who was standing with a "khada" worn ready to fly to the United States”.

You can read the whole text of Gurung’s article at this link:

Following is the reaction to his article in The Kathmandu Post

False allegation

This refers to the article titled "Frail patience of Bhutanese" (July 2) by Ashok Gurung. Despite standing in favor of most of his logics in the article, I would like to argue with him if he can really prove Gangaram Lamitare, as mentioned in his article, to be a politburo member of the Communist Party of Bhutan (CPB-MLM).

Since I began my journalism career in 2002, Lamitare was serving as Chief Editor for The Jagaran (A Nepali-language fortnightly paper published by and for Bhutanese refugees). Lamitare is regarded as one of the pioneering litterateurs who selflessly contributed to the existence and development of Nepali literature in Bhutanese community.

Lamitare is also counted one among handful of those who sowed seeds of "journalism" in exile. He is the founding member of Bhutan Press Union (BPU), formed in 2001. A number of books on journalism and Nepali literature written by Lamitare better speak of the fact that he is one of the established journalists and a litterateur in the refugee community.

Gurung's attempt to cover Lamitare's face with a "mask of Maoism" is suicidal. Nevertheless, Lamitare was arrested by the police a few years back accusing him of writing in favor of CPB-MLM. This was the result of the continuation of a trend where a journalist who writes in favor of repatriation is basically termed as a Maoist. To my knowledge, many organizations in the refugee community have already given Lamitare a number of awards and felicitation for his contribution in the sector of media and Nepali literature.

These many facts in themselves are more than enough to make a predicament that Lamitare would never convert himself into a Maoist cadre.

By T P Mishra

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