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Nepal: Intimidation and Police Harassment of Occupy Baluwatar movement
Letter by WIlliam Gomes Salem-News.com
Human rights defenders are are told they are powerless in their hope to see Mr Bal Krishna Dhungel, a convicted murderer, UCPN-M member and former lawmaker, face justice.
Mr. Bal Krishna Dhungel image courtesy: ekantipur.com
(YORK, UK) - Human rights activists are under the gun in Nepal. Their efforts in seeking justice have been an uphill battle.
The Occupy Baluwatar movement is comprised by a number of organisations in Nepal, that are actively engaged in peaceful human rights work.
The group campaigns for an end to gender-based violence and government impunity over human rights violations that were committed by security forces and Maoist rebels during the armed conflict in Nepal.
Just days ago, the chairperson for the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M), Mr Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, issued a press statement describing the Occupy Baluwatar movement as “a mere street dance”.
He claims the human rights defenders are powerless in their hope to see Mr Bal Krishna Dhungel, a convicted murderer, UCPN-M member and former lawmaker, face justice. The movement has been active in calling for the arrest of Bal Krishna Dhungel.
Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai
Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Nepal
Fax: + 977-1-4211286
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com .
I came to know about the situaiton form Front Line - The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
Several sit-in protests recently held by the Occupy Baluwatar movement in front of the Prime Minister's residence in Baluwatar, Kathmandu, were disrupted and movement members were arrested by police.
Established on 28 December 2012, the Occupy Baluwatar movement comprises of a number of organisations engaged in peaceful human rights work in Nepal. In particular it campaigns for an end to gender-based violence and to impunity for human rights violations committed by security forces and Maoist rebels during the armed conflict in Nepal.
On 21 March 2013, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) (UCPN-M) Chairperson, Mr Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, issued a press statement describing the Occupy Baluwatar movement as “a mere street dance” and stating that it cannot do any wrong against Mr Bal Krishna Dhungel, a UCPN-M member and former lawmaker.
Bal Krishna Dhungel was convicted of the 1998 murder of Mr Ujjan Kumar Shrestha, a shopkeeper from Okhaldhunga, and was sentenced to life imprisonment and confiscation of his property by the District Court in Okhaldhunga. In September 2010, the Supreme Court upheld the life sentence. Despite his conviction, Bal Krishna Dhungel remains free, although the Supreme Court found in June 2011 that there were no obstacles to his arrest.
The Occupy Baluwatar movement has been active in calling for the arrest of Bal Krishna Dhungel, most recently on 17 March 2013, when it held a protest in Kathmandu. The protest was disrupted by members of the Young Communist League (YCL) of the UCPN-M and many protesters were also arrested by police. From early morning on that day, members of the YCL gathered in front of the Prime Minister's residence in Baluwatar, where the Occupy Baluwatar protest was due to take place, and reportedly tore and burned pamphlets used by the protesters.
Approximately fifty police officers from Ranibari Battalion No. 3 police department in Kathmandu were also deployed to the area. During the protest, YCL members chanted slogans of support for Bal Krishna Dhungel, while the protesters demanded his arrest and an end to impunity. Police arrested twenty-two protesters, of whom at least ten were human rights defenders. All of them were released after four hours of detention. There are no reports of any YLC members being arrested.
During previous peaceful protests held by the Occupy Baluwatar movement, police reportedly used excessive force and arrested several protesters.
Front Line Defenders expresses concern at the intimidation and police harassment against the Occupy Baluwatar movement, which it believes to be motivated by the movement's peaceful and legitimate human rights activities, including its work to address gender-based violence and impunity for human rights violations.
Front Line Defenders urges the authorities in Nepal to:
1. Immediately cease all forms of intimidation and police harassment against the Occupy Baluwatar movement, and ensure that its legitimate exercise of the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of opinion and expression is respected;
2. Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Nepal are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
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Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.
He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.
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