ASIA NEWS NETWORK
WE KNOW ASIA BETTER
22 Nepalese journalists flee homes after Maoist threats
Publication Date : 25-01-2013
Twenty-two Nepalese journalists based in Dailekh have fled the district after workers of ruling Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) reportedly threatened them with their lives.
The journalists associated with different local and national media houses, including Puskhar Thapa, Dailekh chairman of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), left the district yesterday evening after they started receiving threats from the Maoist workers.
“The Maoist harassment began after we started our struggle against their party-led government and demanded action against the murderers of journalist Dekendra Raj Thapa,” the FNJ’s district chairman said.
The threat came yesterday when the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) urged all stakeholders concerned to complete investigations into the 2004 murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa by following the due processes.
In a statement yesterday, the only constitutional human rights watchdog expressed concern over a clash between cadres of the ruling and opposition parties in Dailekh on Wednesday.
It termed “unfortunate” the police intervention in a peaceful public rally and the ransacking of the UCPN (Maoist) party office.
“The commission appeals to all parties concerned to arrange for the treatment of the injured in the Dailekh incident, protect life and property and create a suitable environment for journalists and rights activists to work without fear, complete the investigations lawfully and end political conflict through dialogue,” the statement said.
The NHRC said it has already sent a team to Dailkeh to assess the ground situation there.
Meanwhile, the Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC) appealed to the NHRC on Thursday to take steps to protect human rights activists and journalists.
INSEC filed an appeal regarding Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai’s remarks at his party’s district convention in Dailekh on Wednesday. The appeal claimed that threats made against human rights activists and journalists during the convention have placed the lives of commoners and journalists at risk.
“The threat to make journalists meet the same fate as Dekendra implies that they will be tortured to death, just like Dekendra. The statement, issued publicly by the party, must be documented by the NHRC,” the appeal stated.
The appeal deplored the threats and statements made by PM Bhattarai, Deputy PM Narayan Kaji Shrestha and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal during the Dailekh district convention.
“We request the NHRC to make public any action it has taken regarding the repugnant statements by the PM and his party leaders in Dailekh which are blunt, planned and a targeted attack on human rights,” the appeal said.
The Human Rights and Peace Society also expressed concern over the Dailekh incident and urged political parties to resolve their differences through dialogue, while ensuring the freedom of the press, end to the state of impunity and an outlet to the ongoing “misunderstandings”.