EDITORIAL: Barbaric attack

In Afghanistan the hapless Nepalis were working in a green zone and the way to work of course should fall within the green zone

Twelve Nepalis and two non-Nepalese working as security guards in the Canadian Embassy in Kabul were killed on Monday morning by a lone suicide bomber.

The bomber walked up to the bus carrying the Nepalis and also Afghans and detonated himself. A number of Nepalis and Afghans were injured.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in Kathmandu has already made public the names of those killed in the gruesome attack and Minister of Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa has informed Parliament of this tragedy.

The Nepalis were working for a British security company guarding the Canadian Embassy. The Taliban took responsibility for the suicide bombing. This was the worst attack after Islamists in Iraq in 2004 had brutally killed 12 Nepalis after taking them hostage.

This tragic and barbaric attack should be condemned in the strongest possible terms.

The Nepali guards were recruited in a formal manner and there are other Nepalis too who are working in Afghanistan in an informal manner.

It is believed that there are around 1,000 to 1,500 Nepalis working in Afghanistan who are there mostly as security guards.

Nepalis provide such services in “green zones” which means Afghan government offices, UN, INGOs and diplomatic missions and the Department of Labour allows working in green zones upon receiving formal working visas.

This incident should be an eye opener for Nepalis working in foreign countries in strife as well as for the Nepal government. In fact, the Nepal government has prohibited Nepalis from working in troubled countries in the Gulf Region and in other parts of the world.

The need now is to find out how Nepalis migrants manage to reach and work in such countries. It is indeed tragic that many Nepalis risk their lives by working in these countries as migrant workers.

The manpower agencies need to be probed and the guilty must be exposed and punished as many of them are working in a clandestine manner and recruiting the Nepalis migrants to work in countries with high security challenges.

The policies for those wanting to work abroad should be clear leaving no room for exploitation and the chain of illegal transport of people through clandestine channels should be broken.

The immediate task for the government is to see that the dead bodies are brought home without delay and that the families of the dead receive adequate compensation from the employing agency, which may take some time.

The massacre may cause several Nepali migrant workers in Afghanistan to return home but such a thing may not last, as was seen in the case in Iraq where Nepali workers started going after several months of the killings of Nepalis.

The government has to take corrective action. There is also a need to generate awareness among them about the dangers of working in conflict zones. In Afghanistan the hapless Nepalis were working in a green zone and the way to work of course should fall within the green zone.

The policy of partial permission, i.e. to work in a green zone in a country which has very security challenges, is in itself open to criticism as the militants can strike anywhere, as

has been proved in Afghanistan time and again. Therefore, the government should review this policy in all seriousness.

Yoga Day

Yoga is a physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in this subcontinent over thousand years ago.

The Patanjali Yoga is more popular in modern world that is also associated with Hinduism. United Nations also celebrates the International Yoga Day on June 21, the longest day of the year.

This ancient practice has become popular even in the Western world as a form of physical exercise which can, many believe, help reduce the risk of cancer and heart related diseases.

The government on June 8 also decided to mark June 21 as a Yoga Day across the country where government employees, officials from diplomatic missions and educational institutions will mark the Yoga Day for half an hour.

Medical practitioners also advise the people suffering from heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases to practice yoga every day for about one hour to remain physically and mentally healthy.

Studies have also proved that a person who regularly practices yoga always remains more active and productive in their workplace compared to a couch potato.