India urged to release 1000 metric tons of seized newsprints of
The Kathmanu Post and sister publications
New Delhi: The Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) today expressed very deep concerns over the seizure of 1,000 metric tonnes of newsprint imported by a Nepal media house (Kantipur Publications) at Kolkata port for the last 26 days and urged Prime Minister of India to instruct the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence to immediately release the newsprints, order an inquiry into the seizure and make the findings public.
This is the first time any newsprint meant for Nepal's publications has been held in the Indian port. India's Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) took control of the newsprint imported from Canada and South Korea at Kolkata port and stopped its shipment to Nepal, saying that the 39 containers carrying the newsprint need to be "investigated." No investigation, however, has been carried out despite repeated requests. Nor has the Kantipur Publications been given a clear explanation for the continued delay, which has meant heavy demurrage and possibility of the newsprint getting damaged.
“This intervention by India will rightly be construed in Nepal as direct interference into its internal affairs. It will be seen as an attempt to close down the most independent and vibrant media house in Nepal and undermining Nepal’s nascent democracy by the largest democratic country in the world.” - Stated Mr Suhas Chakma, Director of Asian Centre for Human Rights.
Stating that this is a flagrant violation of freedom of expression, the Asian Centre for Human Rights also requested the National Human Rights Commission of India, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Ms Navi Pillay and the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Mr. Frank William La Rue to intervene with the government of India to respect press freedom in Nepal and release the seized newsprint.[Ends]