NEPAL: Nepal’s police in Madhesi-hunting spree

The Asian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) partner organization the Terai Human Rights Defenders (THRD) Alliance have secured information that the Nepal police have started arresting Madhesi protesters in different cases, mostly related toevents that occurred during the 5 month long protests and blockade in the southern plains. This is a systematic trend of charging with false cases against frontline Madhesi demonstrators at district levels following the end of strikes in Nepal’s Terai on 8 February 2016. The trend is serious in a way that these local leaders who were active during the five month long protests have now been facing legal hassles, and they are now compelled to face intimidation from the state security agencies. There is no moral and legal support for them.

The issue of fair trial, which is a fundamental issue of human rights, is being trampled upon in Nepal’s Terai. On top of that, this trend of charging and filing false cases against local Madhesi leaders could push Terai onto the path of violence once again. The immediate intervention is needed to foil this trend of keeping Madhesi parties’ leaders embroiled in criminal cases without any proper investigation and without having primae facie evidence. It seems that these charges are politically motivated and are conspired to discourage peaceful and constructive political activities in Terai in the days to come.

No one should escape from their criminal liabilities, as zero tolerance of impunity should be strongly enforced. However, the security forces should not manipulate the criminal investigation system to target certain political or ethnic groups. Evidence based criminal investigation should take place, not the politically motivated trend of keeping large number of names in the First Information Report (FIR) and then issuing arrest warrants like in the case of Assistant Sub-Inspector Thaman B.K.’s killing.

The police have accused 18 Madhesi protesters in Thaman B.K.’s case, namely Rohit Sharma, Lalba Sah, Pradip Sah, Dinesh Sah, Ramesh Sah, Satendra Chaudhary, Sanjay Sah, Bindeshwer Sah, Raju Chaudhary, Devendra Chaudhary, Anil Thakur, Shambhu Sah, Pawan Kapar, Thule Yadav, Devendra Kumar Yadav, Sonama, Kaushal Yadav, and Laxmi Mahto. Among them, three have been arrested by the police. Others are in hiding and have fled due to fear of unlawful arrests. Local demonstrators in Mahottari District have been protesting arrest of their colleagues on false charges. They have been demanding their release.

No doubt, killings of security personnel should be investigated and perpetrators should be booked. However, the recent actions are against Madhesi demonstrators only. The government authorities have not taken any action against the killing of 41 persons (of which 22 were bystanders). Neither has the State’s constitutional body, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), made its investigation report public, nor have any publicly visible actions against those involved in the killings of demonstrators and bystanders been taken.

The table below shows the recent arrests of Madhesi demonstrators in Nepal’s Terai.


Source: THRD Alliance

The AHRC condemns the action of the Nepal police, wherein they are arresting Madhesi leaders and individuals without proper process, even without any credible investigation. This has created fear among general public in the Madhesh. They have started going into hiding due to fear of unlawful arrests and of being implicated under false charges. This Madhesi-hunting spree must stop in Nepal.

Instead, the government of Nepal must conduct proper investigations into the killings of all, the police as well as the protesters who were killed during the 5 month-long protests. The guilty must be charged and booked within the framework of the due process of law.