rights activists are scheduled to hold a protest demonstration
at 1:00 pm on 10 February 2005 at Putali Sadak, Kathmandu.
The participants will carry black banners without any slogan
to symbolise the complete collapse of democracy and human
rights in the country. Earlier, a demonstration by students
of Prithivi Narayan University on 1 February 2005 was violently
crushed by the Royal Nepal Army (RNA). The security forces
arrested Krishna Pahari of Society of Human Rights and Peace
on 9 February 2005 and Sukharam Maharjan, Vice President
of HURON Kirtipur Chapter, Kathmandu on 8 February 2005.
Nepal: Break the Suspended
summarises the key human rights concerns in Nepal during
the period from 1 to 9 February 2005 after King Gyanendra
overtook executive powers for three years and declared State
The Asian Centre for Human
Rights (ACHR) in its weekly ACHR REVIEW of 2 February
2005 stated, “Desperate King Gyanendra may as well immediately
launch a military offensive against the Maoists to create
a dilemma for the international community whether to support
his authoritarian moves or the Maoists.”
On 7 February 2005, the
Royal Nepal Army (RNA) launched air strikes against the
alleged Maoists in Nepalgunj area after the Maoists spurned
King Gyanendra’s offer for dialogue. Dozens of Maoists have
been reportedly killed but with complete gag on the press,
the claims cannot be verified.The use of helicopters in the past resulted in the
loss of lives of mainly civilians.
On 7 February 2005, Chief
of Army Staff, General Pyar Jung Thapa met Indian Ambassador
Shiv Shankar Mukherjee to request continuation of Indian
military aid. Under the agreement, India has to bear 70%
of the military assistance amounting to Rs 3740 millions,
apart from training the RNA in counter-insurgency.
must effectively intervene by immediately cutting off military
aid to restore democracy and democratic freedoms in Nepal.
The continuation of military aid to Nepal at this critical
juncture would mean supporting the coup
d’état of King Gyanendra on 1 February 2005 and the subsequent
draconian and repressive measures as documented in this
Briefing Paper. While a few political leaders have managed
to flee to India, if the current repression by the RNA continues
and they are unable to flee, the democratic forces will
have no other option but to join the Communist Party of
The Royal government banned
political activities by public servants and all “direct
or indirect” criticism of security forces engaged in fighting
Maoist insurgency. No meeting, conference, workshop or interaction
programme which “undermine the Kingdom’s sovereignty and
integrity, disturb the law and order of the country or cause
any adverse effect on the current state of emergency” can
be held in Nepal. Other meetings in the specified location
require “taking a compulsory, prior approval from the Regional
Administrator” i.e. the military commanders. The ban on right to association and freedom
of assembly is complete.
The RNA has reportedly prepared
a list of 1,000 people to arrest. They are divided into
three categories. The persons in “Category A” are people
with the capacity to lead the masses – spokespersons and
very well-known leaders. Persons in Category B are members
of the Central Committee or Executive Committee, and persons
in Category C are active party workers.
the well-known political leaders from all the political
parties have been arrested along with hundreds of political
leaders and activists. However, due to the complete shutting
down of telephone connections, it is difficult to state
as to the exact number of political leaders arrested so
a few political leaders managed to flee to India, the RNA
54 political leaders out of which 41 are in security custody
and 13 are under house arrest.
These are basically well-known leaders who fall into
“Category A or Category B”.
who have been put under house arrest are:
Girija Prasad Koirala
Madhav Kumar Nepal
Surya Bahadur Thapa
Sher Bahadur Deuba
Pashupati Shamsher Rana
Bharat Mohan Adhikari
Nanda Kumar Prasai
Purna Bahadur Khadka
under the Public Security Act include Bamdev Gautam, Amick
Sherchan, Leelamani Pokharel, Narhari Acharya, Homnath Dahal,
Prakashman Singh, Bimalendra Nidhi, Rajendra Pandey
and Krishna Gopal Shreastha including several other party
cadres. Anyone who is arrested under the Public Security Act is detained
at least for three months.
On 1 February 2005, senior
Nepali Congress leader and former Deputy Prime Minister
Ramchandra Poudel was arrested from Tanahu.
On 1 February 2004, 35 pro-democracy protestors including
Amod Upadhyaya and Ashok Koirala, Nepali Congress leaders,
and Guru Baral and Naresh Pokharel, CPN (UML) leaders, were
reportedly arrested from Biratnagar. They were reportedly
moved to prison on 4 February 2005 having been charged under
the Public Security Act.
On 1 February 2004, 15-20
students were arrested and were reportedly hit with the
butts of guns during a protest against the state of emergency.
At 10 pm, security forces went to the Prithivi Narayan University
hostel and took 150-200 students into custody. When 59 students
were released in the afternoon of 2 February 2005 after
the university's campus chief intervened on their behalf,
they claimed they had suffered "extreme torture"
during their detention.
On 2 February 2005, the
General Secretary of Nepali Congress, Sushil Koirala, along
with over a dozen political activists, was arrested from
On 4 February 2005, 21 pro-democracy
protestors including the Nepali Congress leader Ganga Dutta
Joshi, who were arrested earlier from Mahendra Nagar, were
reportedly moved to the Kanchanpur prison. They were also
slapped with the Public Security Act.
On 4 February 2005, former
Works and Physical Planning Minister Mr Prakash Man Singh,
former Agriculture Minister Mr Homnath Dahal, former Education
Minister Mr Bimalendra Nidhi and former Minister of State
for Foreign Affairs Mr Prakash Mahat and spokesman of Nepali
Congress (Democratic) Mr Minendra Rijal were arrested on
alleged corruption charges. They were holding a meeting
at the party office in Maharajgunj area of Kathmandu.
On 5 February 2005, unspecified
number of school teachers and political activists from Chitwan
district were also reportedly arrested by the RNA.
On 5 February 2005, student
leaders Kalyan Gurung, Rajendra Rai, Kundun Kafle, Roop
Narayan Shrestha and Guru Ghimire were arrested.
The conditions of the detainees
are not known. A few dozen political leaders who had been
detained at the Armed Police Headquarters, Halchowk, Kathmandu
were reportedly blind-folded, put into army vehicles with
opaque glass windows, taken to Tribhuwan airport, and from
there flown to Kakani and Panchkhal barracks in a helicopter. Most of the detainees are being held
incommunicado. British Ambassador to Nepal was allegedly
refused permission to visit Pashupati S.J.B. Rana. Ms Sujata Koirala, daughter of Girija Koirala
(Nepali Congress), who went to visit her father under house
arrest, was detained along with her father.
Although landline phone
services, local as well as ISD links and internet connections
were restored on 7 February 2005,
complete censorship continues unabated. On 3 February 2004, the King “has banned for
six months any interview, article, news, notice, view or
personal opinion that goes against the letter and spirit
of the Royal Proclamation on 1 February 2005 and that directly
or indirectly supports destruction and terrorism”.
Earlier on 2 February 2005, the editors of several papers including
The Kathmandu Post and The Kantipur daily
were summoned by the Principal Press Secretary of the King
and told that “the country is under martial law” and warned
that the editors may face military consequences. All the
media – print or electronic are being censored by the Royal
The FM radio stations have been directed
not to broadcast news. Of total 56 FM stations that had
acquired licenses, 41 were engaged in broadcasting news
bulletins. Most Indian Television channels are off the air in Kathmandu valley.
6 February 2005, BBC representative in Nepal, Netra KC had
"disappeared" after being called to the Army barracks
in Nepalgunj. According to The Statesman of
India, following the coup,
BBC Radio’s World Service broadcasted an interview with
Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara. Speaking from an undisclosed
location, Mahara, who carries a price on his head, said
the King had closed all doors for negotiations with his
action. The programme aired around 11 p.m. in Nepal was
reportedly heard by numerous people, including government
and army officials. The anchor mentioned its Nepal stringer, Netra
KC, by name. He also mentioned the fact that since telephone
lines were disconnected in Nepal, KC was nipping across
the border into India and making calls from there. The report
raises questions about the BBC’s ethics in disclosing the
name and mode of operation of its representative in a country
where emergency has been imposed and press freedom curtailed.
Tara Nath Dahal, President
of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists has gone underground
to escape arrest. Bishnu Nisthuri, FNJ general secretary,
was reportedly arrested on 4 February 2005 from his residence.
There have been reports
that the RNA personnel have visited the homes and offices
of many human rights activists.
In Nepalganj, the army reportedly instructed eight
human rights activists including members of the Bar Association
and Nepal Federation of Journalists to report to army barracks.
On 9 February 2005, Mr Krishna
Pahadi of Society of Human Rights and Peace, Kathmandu was
arrested by the security forces.
At 10 pm on 8 February 2005, Sukharam Maharjan, Vice
President of HURON Kirtipur Chapter and resident of Kirtipur
municipality ward no 6, Kathmandu district was taken away
by 5 security personnel in civil dress from his residence.
His whereabouts are presently unknown. Three persons, who
identified themselves as security personnel, came inside
the house, as other two stood outside. After asking his
identity, they took him away without explaining the reasons
for his arrest.
Mr Shyam Shrestha, Secretary
of Civic Solidarity for Peace, Kathmandu, has gone underground
due to fear of arrest. The security forces came to his home
to arrest him but he reportedly managed to escape. The security
forces also compelled his wife to give them a photograph
of Shrestha so that they could search for and arrest him.
One human rights attorney
of the Advocacy Forum was reportedly arrested in Biratnagar.
Only on 8 February 2004, the Supreme Court
accepted a writ petition seeking release of former President
of Nepal Bar Association and Senior Advocate Sindhu Nath
Pyakurel. He was arrested on 1 February 2005. The Supreme
Court had refused to accept the petition on 7 February 2004
due to the dilemma following the announcement of emergency.
The authorities reportedly allowed Pyakurel’s wife to meet
him on 8 February 2005. It remains to be seen what judgement
is given by the Supreme Court and whether the RNA respects
the verdict if the Court orders Pyakurel’s release. However,
if the Supreme Court hesitates to entertain habeas corpus, the appellate
courts are unlikely to hear the petitions. There have been
reports that the King is considering to reduce the number
of courts that hear appeals against detention from 16 to
Mukunda Banskota, General
Secretary of Nepal Bar Association, was also reportedly
The proposal to set up a
Royal Commission within 15 days to hold investigations and
seize and nationalise the property of those guilty of abuse
of authority, smuggling, tax evasion and bribe is a ploy
to divert attention from the murder of democracy in Nepal.
The King offered dialogue to the Maoists, which they
rejected. The RNA's threat to launch tougher action
against the Maoists if they ignore His Majesty’s call to
“lay down their arms, join the mainstream and if they continue
their violence,’’ is a childish outbursts of Army Chief
General Pyar Jung Thapa. The RNA comprising of 78,000 troops
have failed to make any dent in the Maoist held areas.
“A military offensive against
the Maoists at present will spell dooms for Nepal. It will
intensify the conflict and further eschew the democratic
space already destroyed by the King and the Maoists. Further
repression by the Royal Nepal Army at the behest of the
King will compel the democratic forces to align with the
Maoists”. While a few political leaders have managed
to flee to India, if the current repression by the RNA continues
and they are unable to flee, the democratic forces will
have no other option but join the Communist Party of Nepal
Embargo on military aid to Nepal is
a must for restoration of democracy and democratic freedoms.
Indian military aid to Nepal totals
Rs 3740 millions, apart from training the RNA in counter-insurgency.
Kathamandu was reportedly on the verge of signing agreement
pertaining to the supply of the thermal imagers - the heat
seeking gadgets can detect human movement from a kilometre
away. India was supposed to supply 125 such high-tech equipments.
Though New Delhi has refused to participate in the
13th summit of the South Asia Association for
Regional Cooperation, New Delhi appears to be concerned
that China and Pakistan may provide military assistance
to Nepal. On 8 February 2004, Minister
for Foreign Affairs Ramesh Nath Pandey held meetings with
Pakistani ambassador Zamir Akram, ambassador of Bangladesh
Humayun Kabir and Ambassador of Israel Dan Ben-Eliezer.
It is essential that international
community especially representatives of donor countries
and agencies hold an emergency meeting in Kathmandu to take
joint action to stop Nepal from descending into further
anarchy, chaos and loss of lives and consider imposing embargo
on military aid to Nepal and withholding all bilateral and
multilateral aid until King Gyanendra:
Lifts emergency and restores all democratic
freedoms and institutions including the immediate release
of all those who are detained following the dismissal of
the Deuba government and
lifts ban on press freedoms and freedom of association and
Creates a national consensus process involving all
the major democratic forces for holding direct talks between
the King and the Maoists or between the Prime Minister (to
be appointed yet) or any other Minister and the Maoists
through third party mediation;
Takes immediate measures for implementation of the
Memorandum of Understanding signed with the Office of the
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 13 December 2004; and
Extends the term of the present members of the National
Human Rights Commission.