Visiting Nepal Army Chief urged to handover Major Niranjan Basnet to police

New Delhi: The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR), a Delhi based rights group, today urged visiting Nepal Army Chief General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung to handover Major Niranjan Basnet to police in Nepal for trial before the Court.

In early December Major Niranjan Basnet was expelled from a UN mission for his involvement in the torture and subsequent killing of a 15 year old, Maina Sunawar, during the conflict. He was sent home. Before Basnet arrived, on 12th December, the Nepal Prime Minister communicated to the Defence Minister that Basnet should face the charges made in the Court arrest warrant. In defiance of the court, the law and the Prime Minister, the NA took Major Basnet from the airport to Army HQ. On 13th December the Nepal Police requested that Basnet be handed over. The NA has not yet handed over Mr Basnet to the police.

“The outcome as to whether Major Basnet will be handed over to the police for trial before the Court will decide whether a civilian democratic government and the rule of law will determine Nepal’s future or it will be a nation dominated by the interests of the Military - redolent of Pakistan’s military.” – stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.

ACHR alleged that India’s decision to resume arms supply to the NA, suspended after the Royal takeover in 2005, directly undermines Nepal's peace process and further fuels the current political tension. On 7th December 2009, India announced the decision to resume supply of arms.

During the ongoing visit of Chief of the Army Staff (CoAS) General Chhattraman Gurung, India’s Defence Ministry, among others, announced the decision to supply 50 Ajeya T-72 armoured tanks.

“The Indian unconditional support has enabled the Nepal Army to be the arbiter of the Peace Process in Nepal with virtual veto power against the integration of the Peoples Liberation Army and democratization of the NA – both central to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. The recent events including the failure to hand over Major Basnet show that government of Nepal is incapable of acting independently from a military opposed to the peace process.” – further stated Mr Chakma.

The Asian Centre for Human Rights urged India to reconsider its unconditional support to the Nepal Army.

"Otherwise, Nepal would soon become a redolent of Pakistan with contempt for Indian model of democratic control of the security forces" – warned the Asian Centre for Human Rights.

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