the United Kingdom has suspended military aid to Nepal, India has stalled its military supply. The United States is yet to take any
such measure though it has threatened to stop military aid. While these measures are welcome, they
are too little, too late and absolutely ineffective to address
the concerns of the international community. Given the volumes of weaponry
already transferred to the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) in
the last couple of years, suspension of military aid is
not a source for an immediate crisis for King Gyanendra
or the RNA. King Gyanendra can certainly withstand the suspension
of military aid and continue his dictatorship at least for
100 days that he sought.
Indeed, India and United
Kingdom face the question “what next?” if King Gyanendra
does not respond to the call of international community
for the restoration of democracy. The repression and human
rights violations from 16-23 February 2005 as summarised
in this Briefing Paper nowhere gives the indication that
the King is in a mood to relent. On 23 February 2005, Nepalese
Defence Secretary Bishnu Dutta Uprety told the BBC that
Nepal would explore alternate sources of military supplies.
Kathmandu valley remains the epicenter of the ongoing
power struggle. The blockade announced by the Maoists has
reportedly not been total.
The RNA, with massive deployment, has reportedly
managed to keep at least one route for the flow of goods
and traffic from India to Kathmandu open. While there are
disruptions by the Maoists, the supply lifeline to Kathmandu
has been kept open. There is fear but crisis in essential
goods does not appear imminent in the capital city. The
RNA is escorting the lorry drivers who face the stark choice
of being killed by the Maoists if they ply and by the RNA
if they do not!
If King Gyanendra can keep his hold on to the Kathmandu
valley, the peripheries outside of the valley matter little.
In the areas outside of Kathmandu, restrictions on the media
have stopped flow of information from rural Nepal. The journalists
are either on the run or have to keep mum. Those who appear
to be crossing the limits are summoned. Because of the Maoists’
blockade, human rights activists cannot move around and
most are into hiding. The telephones are tapped. The King
can pursue his own agenda of suppression and oppression
as a means of restoring normalcy to the situation.
On the 55th democracy day, King Gyanendra cut phone lines in his effort to quell possible
protests by political parties and rights activists. Hundreds
of political activists have been arrested this week.
If international community
seeks to bring immediate change to the situation in Nepal,
they must suspend all aid including humanitarian and development
aid by countries like Denmark and Switzerland. The Swiss
Agency for Development and Cooperation
has suspended all its programmes due to security reasons.
In addition to the security threat, there is no guarantee
that King will not utilise humanitarian aid for education,
health, culture and infrastructure for military purposes
such as buying fuels for the armed forces.
community must also ensure that United Nations agencies
and multi-lateral financial agencies like the World Bank,
IMF and Asian Development Bank suspend such humanitarian
and development aid. Life appears to go on as usual for
most UN agencies in Nepal without any apparent instructions
from the Secretary General’s office. The statements of the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on 1 February
2005 and nine independent
experts on 8 February 2005 have been timid and have
failed to nuance the concerns and sensitivity necessary
to capture the intensity and urgency of the situations and
the sentiments of a people living under anarchy of an absolute
While the King freed about
150 inmates, mainly convicted criminals, from different prisons
across the country on the occasion of 55th National
Democracy Day on 18 February 2005, over one hundred activists of Nepali
Congress and other opposition parties were detained from
all over the country for carrying out peaceful demonstrations
in favour of peace and democracy.
In addition to those who
have been arrested or put under house arrests as stated
in out last two briefing papers, the security forces arrested
a large number of political activists, academicians and
student leaders during the
week from 16-23 February 2005.
On 15 February 2005, three Nepali Congress workers
—Raghubar Bhatta, Lok Raj Bhatta and Ganesh Datta Bhatta—
were reportedly arrested by the security forces at the district
headquarters of Dadeldhura. All of them are district-level
workers of the party. They have been detained at the district
On 16 February 2005, security personnel arrested Nepali
Congress (NC) Spokesperson Arjun Narsingh KC and
NC leader Meena Pandey
from the party office at Sanepa. The NC Spokesperson was
reportedly arrested while he was addressing a press meet
called to announce launching of a peaceful
agitation by major political parties against the royal takeover.
On 17 February 2005, Lalitpur District President of
Nepali Congress Jagat Raj Shakya was picked up by security
forces from his residence at Patan.
On 18 February 2005, eight activists including former
member of parliament Hari Bhakta Adhikari, Meena Pandey
of women’s wing of the Nepali Congress (NC) and leader of
NC’s student wing Keshav Poudel were arrested in Kathmandu
while taking out a rally demanding restoration of democratic
rule. About three-dozen cadres of Nepali Congress and Nepal
Sadbhavana Party (NSP, Anandi Devi) were rounded up by police
in Janakpur in eastern Nepal. Eight leaders including former
Members of Parliament Ananda Prasad Dhungana and Smriti
Narayan Chaudhari were arrested in the morning, along with
six others. Former mayor Brishesh Chandra Lal and NSP district
Chief Ram Govinda Ray were arrested from near their party
offices. In Pokhara, police intervened at a protest rally
organized by Nepali Congress and arrested 15 cadres including
Upper House member Shukra Raj Sharma. In Tanahun, Nepali
Congress leader Ram Chandra Pokharel was picked up by police
from a rally. In Dhangadhi, NC central member Sunil Kumar
Bhandari was arrested along with 10 others. Nine persons,
including Nepali Congress Doti district chief Yagya Raj
Pathak, were arrested in Dipayal.Besides
them, Mukti Prasad Sharma from Kathmandu, former NC MP Dr.
Gopal Koirala from Jhapa and former NC legislator Puskar
Ojha from Kanchanpur were detained. Ms. Ram Kumari Jhakri,
a UML activist, was also detained.Police also detained former NC lawmaker Shivadhari
Yadav in southern town of Janakpur. Former MP Basudev Bhatta
and Surendra Bista were detained in Mahendranagar while
staging peaceful demonstrations. Police have detained four
activists affiliated to Nepali Congress (Democratic) including
district president of the party, Hari Rajoure.
Other Nepali Congress leaders and activists arrested
on 18 February 2005 include Rajan Dahal, Dr Krishna Prasad
Dahal, Satya Raj Bhandari, Kamal Bahadur Khatri, Hari Kumar
Koirala, Ram Kumar Mulmi, Jagadish Kuinkel, Sarita Ban,
Keshav Poudel, Pradip Khadka, Bishal Regmi, Mani Raj Regmi,
Ram Prasad Kafle, Ram Bahadur Bista, Bharat Raj Bhandari
and Lab Shri Neupane.
In addition to the above, those arrested during 18
February 2005 protest rally and the evening prior to it
include Dipak Poudel, Mukti Prasad Sharma, Jit Bahadur Puri,
Rajendra Dhital, Kumar Khadka, Bal Chandra Poudel, Gopal
Subedi, Hari Khadka, Prabhat Ale and Rajendra KC. According
to the Nepali Congress, a total of 45 party leaders were
arrested in Kathmandu and other parts of the country.
On 20 February 2005, security
personnel detained nine workers of the Nepali Congress (NC)
including Poshanath Sharma, Kaski district secretary, as
they came out on the street chanting ‘pro-democracy’ slogans
in Pokhara. Two of those arrested are women cadres.
The government also arrested about half a dozen academicians
"without any reason". Nepal University Teachers’
Association (NUTA) demanded their immediate release. Those
arrested include academician former NUTA President Khagendra
Bhattarai, Professor Lok Raj Baral, Professor Soubhagya
Jung Karki, Professor Man Bahadur Bishwokarma, Dr Krishna
Prasad Dahal, Ramakanta Sapkota and Jagannath Khatiwada.
All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (ANNFSU) leader
Ram Kumari Jhankri was arrested on 18 February 2005.
On 22 February 2005, the Supreme Court issued a show
cause notice to the government on the habeas corpus writ
filed for six student leaders of All Nepal National Free
Students’ Union (ANNFSU) - Om Prasad Aryal, Lochan KC, Mahesh
Devkota, Dilliram Bohara, Joyti Sharma and Deepak Kumar
Rai – who are in the government custody.
The attacks on the press
freedom continue unabated.
On 23 February 2005, the
Kathmandu District Administration Office reportedly summoned
the editors of four weekly newspapers- Navaraj Timilsinha,
editor of Prakash; Gopal Budhathoki, editor of Sanghu; Kabir
Rana, editor of Deshanter; and Rajendra Baidha, editor
of Bimarsh. Earlier, Kathmandu District Administration
Office had summoned Kapil Kafle, Editor of Rajdhani daily,
Ujwal Sharma, Editor and Kiran Pokharel, News Editor of
Himalaya Times daily.
According to International
Federation of Journalists, at least 600 journalists have
lost their jobs since February 1. Over a thousand more could
lose their jobs if the current trend continues.
On 21 February 2005, security
forces arrested a local newspaper editor
Anil Tiwari, editor of the local Ankush daily at Parsa.
Eyewitnesses stated that security forces took him away saying
that they had something to interrogate. They also threatened
the daily's publisher Dependra Chauhan over a cartoon and
"other news" published.
On 18 February 2005, security
forces reportedly snatched cameras from photojournalists
Suman Dahal of Annapurna Daily and Tribhubhan Poudel
of a local Hotline Daily while they were taking
pictures of the protest march in Pokhara.
On 16 February 2005, security
forces arrested Khem Bhandari, editor of Abhiyan daily published
from Mahendranagar. He was picked up for covering protest
rallies by political parties in his daily on 15 February
On 15 February 2005, Kantipur’s
Dadeldhura correspondent D R Panta was arrested by security
personnel at the district headquarters of Dadeldhura.
On 14 February 2005, the
Supreme Court asked the concerned government authorities
to appear before the court with a written explanation within
three days regarding the arrest of Bishnu Nisthuri, General
Secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists.
He is continued to be detained along with the following
Bajracharya, publisher and editor of Sandhyakalin City
Times, and other reporters affiliated with state-owned
Gorkhapatra daily and Rastriya Samachar Samiti.
Parajuli of Gorkhapatra and Rastriya Samachar Samiti
representative from Chitwan
Adhikari of Rastriya Samachar Samiti (Chitwan)
R Pant, reporter of The Kathmandu Post (Dadeldhura)
Adhikari, reporter of the RSS
rough translation of the order issued to media in Nepalgunj
by the District Administration Office on 7 February 2005
is given below:
1. Newspapers registered in Nepalgunj and that
have been publishing regularly are required to publish remaining
within the parameters of this notice, after receiving a
copy of the notice.
2. No newspaper/ media should publish news
that could adversely affect the country's sovereignty, unity
and peace and security.
3. Nothing should be published that would be
against the Royal Family and the Royal Proclamation of February
4. Do not publish news on the strikes called
by the Maoists and their sister (frontal) organizations
and about the human and material loss of the security forces
and government offices.
5. It is alright to mention losses suffered
by the Maoists in actions by security forces but do not
publish information on accidental civilian losses other
than what is mentioned in the statement issued by the government
6. It is alright to publish information on
civilian losses caused by the Maoists.
7. It is alright for the press to verify information
on Maoist activities and movements obtained from various
sources with the security forces.
8. It is alright to point out weaknesses and
mistakes and irregularities at government offices after
through testing (investigation) and where possible with
proof, but do not publish unfounded (reports) that could
assassinate the character and discourage government employees.
9. Do not publish information and activities
of political (parties) and organizations related with them;
publish activities of social, religious, economic organizations.
10. Do not publish news on the Maoists and
other political organizations by quoting news and articles
published or broadcast in foreign (media). Also do not publish
news on activities of Maoists in Indian Territory.
11. Compulsorily make available, free of cost,
one copy of publications for monitoring to the monitoring
12. Abide by other directives of the Information
and Communications Ministry.”
Human rights activist, Krishna Pahari continues to
be under detention since 9 February 2005.
On 17 February 2005, Gauri Pradhan, a renowned human
rights activist and founder president of Child Workers in
Nepal Concerned Centre (CWIN), was arrested by the police
without any reason upon his arrival at Tribhuvan International
Airport, Kathmandu. Pradhan was reportedly returning home
after taking part in meetings related to child rights held
in the Netherlands and Geneva. On 22 February 2005, the
Supreme Court ordered the government to produce Gauri Pradhan
before the court on 28 February 2005. Pradhan’s wife Sumnima
had filed a habeas corpus at the apex court seeking his
The Supreme Court has been
rejecting writ petitions seeking legal remedy in recent
days though they were filed under the non-suspended articles
of the constitution arguing that Article 23 should be invoked
while delivering legal remedy under Article 88 (2) of the
On 21 February 2005, Chief
Justice (CJ) Hari Prasad Sharma publicly defended the rejection
of writ petitions saying that the issue was "political".
However, past records of
the Supreme Court (SC) pertaining to the last emergency
in 2001-2002 show that over 400 writ petitions seeking legal
remedy under Article 88 (1) and (2), which is not suspended
even during emergency, had been admitted as per the constitution.
Nepal Bar Association expressed its serious concern, and
accused the Supreme Court of denying entertainment of such
writ petitions under the "pretext of emergency".
On 17 February 2005, lawyers
including Nepal Bar Association President, Shambhu Thapa
had urged the Chief Justice and some other senior judges
of the Apex Court to make necessary arrangements to accept
writ petitions regarding the non-suspended rights. However,
the Chief Justice expressed his inability.
Atrocities by security forces
Truth is the first casualty
in war. Given the complete censorship, the claims of the
RNA cannot be verified. The following incidents involving
loss of lives were reported.
On 17 February 2005, the RNA reportedly killed one
Prem Kami, an alleged Maoist rebel, in security action at
Swati area of Sankhuwasabha district. RNA also claimed to
have recovered some improvised bombs from the deceased.
On the afternoon of 19 February 2005, security forces
claimed to have shot dead an area member of Maoists called
‘Dikshya’ during operation at Lakhwar area of Saudiyar area
in Dang. The security sources also claimed to have killed
one Bishnu Pandey alias ‘Arjun’, an alleged district level
Maoist leader, in retaliatory action in Papariya VDC in
the evening of 19 February 2005, at least a dozen Maoists
were allegedly killed in a clash with the security forces
at Sakhuwa Mahendranagar VDC in Dhanusha district. One security
man was killed and five others were injured in the clash.
to RNA sources, 20 Maoists have been killed in security
operations during 17-19 February 2005. Twelve Maoists were
killed on 17 February 2005; five were killed on 18 February
2005, and three on 19 February 2005. Those killed on 17
February 2005 have been identified as Ramjan Musalman, Maoists’
secretary of Ganeshpur Village Development Committee, Ram
Das, Dukhi Chamar, Binayatulla Musalman, Ramjan Musalman.
Bishnu Panthi, coordinator of Maoists-aligned Nepal Trade
Union, Kapilabastu, and his two bodyguards, Yam Bahadur
Dalamagar and Jhilkan Yadav, were killed on 19 February
The RNA also claimed to have killed at least 11 Maoists
during 21 –22 February 2005. While a Maoist rebel was killed
in security action at Bayarban area of Morang district on
21 February 2005, the security forces gunned down another
four Maoists at Ghandighach jungle area of Suda VDC in Kanchanpur
on 22 February 2005. The security forces also shot dead
Dasu Poudel, a district level Maoist and Raja Ram Kumal,
another rebel, at Dandagaon area of Bharatpokhari VDC-4
of Kaski district. In Arghakhanchi security forces shot
dead four Maoists including two females. One of the dead
is identified as Gyan Bahadur Shrestha.
On 22 February 2005, state-owned
Radio Nepal announced that at least 12 Maoist insurgents
were killed in a security action at Dakaha of Sirthauli
VDC in central Sindhuli district on 21 February 2005.
22 February 2005, at least 10 Maoists have been allegedly
killed in separate security actions in different parts of
the country with 4 of them getting killed in Suda VDC, 4
Maoists, including two district level leaders in Arghakhanchi
district, and 2 in Kaski district. Those killed in Kaski
district were district members of the All Nepal Labour Association
identified as Dashu Poudel and Rajaram Kumal.
The Maoists have also been
responsible for violations of international humanitarian
law standards and targeting the schools, hospitals and ambulances.
On the evening of 17 February
2005, an unidentified group set afire and destroyed the
ancestral home of Radha Krishna Mainali, the minister for
Education and Sports, at Jamunbadi of Suranga VDC-1. Another
group of unidentified miscreants reportedly torched two
trucks at Khairahi VDC on Mahendra Highway on the afternoon
of 18 February 2005.
An unidentified gang shot
dead Tej Narayan Prasad Chanau, a teacher at Neda Primary
School teacher of Amritgunj-5, after abducting him on the
night of 18 February 2005. He was shot at the head and chest
that killed him on the spot behind the area police post
The Maoists have called
an indefinite economic blockade since 13 February 2005 to
oppose the royal takeover. This has brought traffic to a
virtual halt on all key highways and affected normal life.
Due to shortage of supply of essential goods mainly cooking
gas, kerosene and vegetables, their prices soared up. Only
a few cargo vehicles and passengers buses entered the capital
amidst intensified patrolling. Sixty-five tankers carrying
petroleum products from Indian cities of Gonda and Allahabad
were stranded for five days on the border in western Nepal
due to the strike.
On 20 February 2005, Nripad
Kumar Parveji, a truck driver from Nagpur (India), was shot
dead by the Maoists at Charaudi Bazaar area on Prithvi Highway
for defying the economic blockade. He was returning to India
after delivering goods in Kathmandu.
Nearly half a dozen passengers
were injured when the Maoists opened fire at a bus at Mugling,
90 km west of Kathmandu. In another incident, two cyclists
were injured in a bomb blast on the Mahendra Highway.
On 17 February 2005, Maoists reportedly torched at
least 13 goods carriers, burning 58 live buffaloes loaded
in two of the trucks, at Jogimara section of the Prithvi
Highway. Mansoor Alam Ansari, owner of the buffaloes, said
the armed rebels had fired at the tires of the vehicles
before setting them alight. The vehicles included a tanker
loaded with kerosene, while the rest of the trucks were
carrying commodities such as rice, cement, coal and rods.
On the night of 20 February
2005, Maoist insurgents reportedly destroyed a sub-station
of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) at Kohalpur of Banke
district. At least two persons were killed in the blast
and four districts in the mid-western region- Banke, Baridya,
Surkhet and Dailekh- have been deprived of power.
Even schools in Nepalgunj
have reportedly come under attack. On 20 February 2005,
the Maoists detonated
explosives in several schools including Mahendra High School,
Modern Public School, Mangal Secondary School, Chandra Mewalal
Secondary School and Bheri Technical School,
for having defied their “educational strike”.
Earlier on the night of 14 February 2005, the Maoists
reportedly bombed and destroyed six schools - Ratmata Secondary
School, Solawang Secondary School, Kailideu Lower Secondary
School, Thurpunge Lower Secondary School, Dangdunge Primary
School and Garadhunga Primary School in Musikot, the district
headquarters of Rukum. This has left the students and the
teachers terrorized. Some 50 candidates for the upcoming
School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exams would be immediate
Scores of girls could not sit for the nursing examination,
which was conducted at Nepalgunj on 19 February 2005. They
could not reach Nepalgunj due to absence of transport due
to the blockade.
On 22 February 2005, Maoists
reportedly bombed and set on fire an ambulance run by a
non-profit organisation near Khaireni along the Kohalpur-Lamahi
section of the Mahendra highway “for defying the blockades.”
Prior to the bombing, the Maoists forced the driver Krishna
Chaudhari, and Ganesh Kumar Gupta, chairman of Rapti Seva
Sangh out of the vehicle.
The Maoists’ blockade has
also hit the main government Zonal Hospital in the southwestern
town of Lumbini due to halt of the supply of oxygen cylinders
from the capital Kathmandu. Hospital sources said lack of
oxygen has prevented doctors from performing all but the
most serious operations. The Lumbini Zonal Hospital issued
a notice on 21 February 2005 saying it has suspended operations
until the shortage of oxygen is resolved.
The stoppage of transportation due to the indefinite
blockade called by the Maoists has adversely affected industries
based in this eastern city of Biratnagar. Many industries
have reduced production by 70 per cent.
On the morning of 22 February
2005, Mahendra Shahi, the driver of a bus, and a passenger
identified as Deu Prakash Rai were seriously wounded in
indiscriminate firing by Maoists at Manigram area of Anandawan
VDC in Rupandehi. On the same day, Suntauli Darji, 50, of Nalang
VDC-6 of Dhading died when a stray bomb exploded at a nearby
road. Darji had gone in search of firewood.
Asian Centre for Human Rights was able to gather the
following partial list of detainees in addition to the list
of detainees provided in our second weekly Briefing paper
on 17 February 2005.
Bhattarai, NTUC activist
Acharya, NTUC activist
Gautam, NTUC activist
Bhatta, NC worker
Raj Bhatta, NC worker
Pradhan, CWIN chief
- Jagat Raj Shakya, NC
Lalitpur District President
- Hari Bhakta Adhikari,
- Keshav Poudel, leader
of NC’s student wing
- Ananda Prasad Dhungana,
- Smriti Narayan Chaudhari,
- Brishesh Chandra Lal,
- Ram Govinda Ray, NSP
- Shukra Raj Sharma, MP
- Sunil Kumar Bhandari,
NC central member
- Yagya Raj Pathak, Nepali Congress Doti district chief
- Mukti Prasad Sharma, NC
- Dr. Gopal Koirala, former NC lawmaker
- Puskar Ojha, former NC legislator
- Ms. Ram Kumari Jhakri, UML activist
Bhatta, Former MP
Rajoure, Nepali Congress (Democratic) district president
- Rajan Dahal, NC
- Satya Raj Bhandari, NC
- Kamal Bahadur Khatri,
- Hari Kumar Koirala, NC
- Ram Kumar Mulmi, NC
- Jagadish Kuinkel, NC
- Sarita Ban, NC
- Pradip Khadka, NC
- Bishal Regmi, NC
- Mani Raj Regmi, NC
- Ram Prasad Kafle, NC
- Ram Bahadur Bista, NC
- Bharat Raj Bhandari,
- Lab Shri Neupane, NC
- Dipak Poudel,
- Jit Bahadur Puri,
- Rajendra Dhital,
- Kumar Khadka,
- Bal Chandra Poudel,
- Gopal Subedi,
- Hari Khadka,
- Prabhat Ale,
- Rajendra KC
- Khagendra Bhattarai,
former NUTA President
- Professor Lok Raj Baral,
- Professor Soubhagya Jung
- Professor Man Bahadur
- Dr Krishna Prasad Dahal,
- Ramakanta Sapkota, academician
- Jagannath Khatiwada,
- Hemanta BC, leader of
Sharma, NC Kaski district secretary
- Khem Bhandari, editor
of Abhiyan daily
Bajracharya, publisher and editor of Sandhyakalin City
Parajuli of Gorkhapatra
Adhikari of Rastriya Samachar Samiti (Chitwan),