NEPAL: Updates regarding emergency situation on Nepal 

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is forwarding updates related to the recent Nepal crisis issued on 10 February 2005 by the International Nepal Solidarity Network (INSN), a network of concerned individuals working for peace, justice, and self-determination for the people of Nepal.

To see current developments in Nepal, please also see our recent urgent appeals and statements, which carries the latest information on Nepal. (See further: UG-01-2005AS-15-2005 and AS-13-2005)

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Nepal Democracy Desk, Update 5
10th February 2005

Human Rights Activists, Student and Journalist Arrested

Security Forces in Kathmandu have arrested altogether nine persons from among several others demonstrating against king Gyanendra’s takeover of power in Nepal. Among those arrested are seven human rights activists from Human Rights and Peace Society, one student activist of Balmiki Campus and one freelance journalist. This crackdown was expected as the king’s government is bent on suppressing dissent and imposing absolute rule of medieval style throughout the country.

Arrested persons are:
1. Jiplal Kandel
2. Bashu Devkota
3. Laxmi Pariyar
4. Suman Shrestha
5. Narayan Dutta Kandel
6. Jaya Ram Basnet
7. Balram Aryal
8. Laxmi Acharya
9. Suresh Chandra Pokharel

Demonstrators chanted “Down with Royal Proclamation”, “Human Right is Our Life and It has been violated”, “We Want Democracy”, among others. They also carried a black flag as a symbol of protest before being detained by the security forces present in heavy numbers.

Journalists Under Strict Control

Journalists in at least one big media house have been instructed stringently not to talk to any international media persons or write or report for any media other than the one they are working on. “It’s suffocating to see that we could not write what we want to write in our own newspapers,” one journalist said on the condition of anonymity. “Nor could we vent our ideas through other places.” Silencing any voice of dissent, even of a milder variety, has been the main policy of king Gyanendra’s rule, although he did not tire out in saying that press freedom is fundamental to democracy in his proclamation speech. Security personnels in plain clothes have been going around many journalists and ‘asking’ them to declare in public their allegiance to royal proclamation. Similar incidents related to business persons have been reported a few days back. Although some journalists have confirmed this situation in their media houses, it is clear from the kind of reports being published that same situation must have prevailed in other publication houses also.

There is intense discussion going on at the moment to devise ways out from this gag rule by the absolute and despotic king. Journalists are planning to soon launch a website and regular underground bulletin for non-commercial circulation. Similar actions have already been taken by journalists outside the Kathmandu valley.

Civil Society for Democracy

Meanwhile, a series of initiatives have been emerging from different quarters of Nepali civil society in defence of democracy. In a meeting today held in undisclosed location in Kathmandu, doctors, intellectuals and representatives of other professional groups informed that they are in the process of forming a loos network for fighting for democracy in Nepal. Series of decentralized meetings are being planned by these groups in different parts of Kathmandu. Doctors present in today’s meeting informed that they have formed ‘Doctors for Democracy”. In the 1990 people’s movement for democracy also, the professional groups formed loose alliances and opposed the despotic rule of the king. These groups are mulling over the ideas of bringing out clandestine posters, pamphlets, email circulations, internet based materials and bulletins.

Political Party Headquarters Ransacked

In utter defiance of any norms of multiparty democracy, the king’s government has reportedly ransacked central offices of Nepali Congress and Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist). The security forces have taken control of computers and other equipments remaining in those party offices. Despite the king’s rhetoric of abiding by multi-party democracy, he is bent on destroying the political parties and establishing a medieval kind of despotic rule in twenty-first century.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

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Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-05-2005
Countries : Nepal,
Issues : Democracy,