Pranav Budathoki in 'Nepalis go underground in Britain' (#230) has levelled serious charges against me by trying to entangle my status with illegal migrant workers. This is absolutely baseless. First of all, I am a genuine research student doing PhD at the University of Reading which I embarked upon the completion of my masters degree after being awarded the Chevening Scholarship. At present, I am working on the livelihood diversification issues in the post rural electrification stage and I am due to submit my dissertation at the end of 2005. I have no intention of sticking on in Britain upon the completion of my PhD. I am completely dedicated and commited to my country where I have spent a lot of time doing research in rural areas. To the best of my knowledge, no Nepali student from this university has ever stayed back in the UK. By regulation, all international students are allowed to work not more than 20 hours during term time. Indeed, I had a summer job during weekends at a local department store, but I don't know anything about any bakery that Budathoki talks about. In November, I was elected chair of student representative committee of the higher degree research students in my department. The critical fact is that I am not underground but openly overground.
Before charging someone and generalising the scenario, Budathoki should have cross-checked his facts otherwise it is a case of character assassination. There must be ethical issues that prevent journalists from invading people's privacy and defaming them. The report has caused me tremendous physical, emotional and psychological anguish. My colleagues and I regard the Nepali Times highly. We have unwavering faith in its content, but I would request you to prevent misleading and distorted news items like these from being printed in future.
Badri P Bastakoti,
University of Reading, UK