Throughout 2005, Nepal was ruled directly by King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev following the Royal coup on 1 February 2005. Despite the Royal coup, suppression of political freedoms and increased violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, Nepal has been ranked No. 3 in the SAARC Human Rights Violators Index 2006.
Following the Royal takeover by King Gyanendra on 1 February 2005, human rights situation further deteriorated throughout the country. Peaceful political movements for restoration of democracy and fundamental rights were crushed. Any event such as 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” was banned.
About 3,000 political leaders, student activists, human rights defenders, journalists, professionals and civilians were either put under house arrest or arrested during the emergency rule from 1 February to 28 April 2005. King Gyanendra lifted the emergency on 29 April 2005 but political rallies and demonstrations were suppressed, and hundreds of political leaders and activists were arrested and detained throughout 2005.
The government used the national security laws such as the Public Security Act, Public Offences Act and revised Terrorists and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance (TADO) of 2004 against the pro-democracy activists, including the political activists. While the Public Offences Act allowed preventive detention for disturbing the peace, vandalism, rioting, and fighting, the Public Security Act allowed preventive detention of any person who allegedly threatens the “sovereignty, integrity or public tranquility and order and amicable relations with other States”. Both the Acts allowed detention up to 90 days without any charge.
The most draconian was the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance (TADO) of 2004 which provided for preventive detention of up to 90 days “upon appropriate grounds for believing that a person has to be stopped from doing anything that may cause a terrorist and disruptive act”. Under Section 9 of the TADO of 2004, the Chief District Officer could detain any suspect upto six months, which could be further extended by another six months subject to approval from the Ministry of Home Affairs.
TADO was revised in 2005 to put the onus on suspects to prove their innocence, ban members of the public from attending trials and deny the defence lawyers' access to any case documents in clear violation of the cardinal principles of criminal jurisprudence. The new provisions were applied for the first time on 1 December 2005 in the case of Maoist leaders Matrika Prasad Yadav and Suresh Ale Magar when their lawyer Surendra Mahato was not allowed to have the copies of legal documents of the case.
While the middle ranking political leaders and pro-democracy activists were arrested under various national security laws, senior political leaders were targeted by the Royal Commission for Corruption Control or were put under house arrest.
On 14 July 2005, six student leaders – Pradip Poudel, Narayan Bharati, BP Regmi, Pushpa Shahi and Saroj Thapa of Nepal Students' Union and Thakur Gaire of All Nepal National Free Students' Union were arrested during a protest demonstration at New Baneshwor, Kathmandu against the government's decision to introduce a ‘nationalist education system'. On 15 July 2005, Kathmandu District Administration Office charged them under the Public Offence Act and slapped a 10-day jail term. Their detention was further extended to a week. They were released on 9 August 2005 following an order from the Supreme Court, which termed their detention “illegal”.
Human rights violations by the security forces including arbitrary arrest, detention, torture, use of disproportionate force, extrajudicial executions and rape intensified across Nepal during the direct rule of King Gyanendra.
According to Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), the security forces killed 815 people, including civilians in 2005. This was despite the fact that ceasefire was in place from 3 September 2005 till the end of the year. The number of killings in the previous years also vouches their utter disregard for the people's right to life. The security forces had killed 1606 in 2004, 1217 in 2003, 3296 in 2002, 243 in 2001 and 180 in 2000.
The victims were killed in custody, shot at while participating in pro-democracy demonstrations or due to arbitrary use of powers by the security forces.
The most gruesome extrajudicial executions took place from 17 to 23 February 2005 in which 22 alleged Maoists were lynched and about 700 houses of the alleged Maoists sympathisers were torched in Kapilavastu district by RNA-backed village vigilante groups. On 21 February 2005, the state owned Nepal Television had telecast a visual where three ministers - Home Minister Dan Bahudur Shahi, Minister for Labour, Ramnarayan Shing, and Minister for Education, Radhakrishna Mainali - were seen encouraging the crowd who were holding baton on their hands to beat the dead Maoists.
Human rights activists also investigated a number of extrajudicial executions. In the case of extrajudicial execution of Rupen Rai at Soyang area of Illam district on 2 May 2005, the RNA claimed that he was a Maoist rebel and was killed in encounter. However, a probe conducted by Human Rights Monitoring Coordination Committee found that “injured Rai could have well been taken into custody after the forces fired at him. However, the security personnel continued firing at him, thereby killing him outright.” They also stated that there was no retaliation from the Maoists' side. With regard to the execution of alleged Maoist rebel Bir Bahadur BK who was executed by the RNA on 19 September 2005, an investigation report concluded that security personnel could have taken Bir Bahadur BK into custody after he fell on the ground but they fired three more rounds of bullets at him.1
On 25 August 2005, Manoj Basnet, an employee in the office of Sijuwa VDC, Morang, was killed by the police after arresting him from Dhankute Lodge, Biratnagar along with Santosh Chaulagain, resident of Sijuwa. Police claimed that Basnet was shot at while trying to escape. Police also said they spared Santosh Chaulagain because he had surrendered. In his FIR, the victim's father Govinda Prasad Basnet claimed that there were scars on Manoj's genitals and his dead body was swollen and soaked with blood.
The National Human Rights Commission confirmed a number of extrajudicial executions by the security forces. On 3 October 2005, NHRC stated that the security personnel killed Maoist cadres Eknath Subedi and Nabin Singh Paudel after arresting them at Pidariguthi in Parsa district.
The indiscriminate use of fire-arms was rampant. On 14 December 2005 at around mid-night, an off-duty RNA soldier Bashu Dev Thapa allegedly opened indiscriminate firing at a crowd killing 12 persons including himself and injuring 19 other villagers following a scuffle with some villagers during a religious festival at a temple premises at Chihan Danda in Nagarkot in Bhaktapur district. Royal Nepal Army's probe panel headed by Brigadier General Netra Bahadur Thapa submitted its report to the Government on 24 December 2005 but it was not made public till the end of 2005.
In 2004, according to the United Nations Working Group on Involuntary Disappearances, Nepal had the highest number of enforced or involuntary disappearances in the world. Though precise figures were not available on disappearance, in 2005 about 1,000 people were reported to be missing after they were arrested by security forces. A government committee looking into disappearance cases revealed the whereabouts of 580 people arrested by security forces as on 15 August 2005. On 30 August 2005, NHRC stated that 986 persons more were still missing, including 888 persons from government custody and 98 after abduction by the Maoists. Impunity enjoyed by the security forces contributed to such large-scale enforced disappearances.
The government of Nepal often did not acknowledge detention of the arrestees. Incommunicado detention of Krishna KC, former vice president of the All Nepal National Independent Students' Union (Revolutionary), is a clear example. He was listed as disappeared after his arrest by the security forces from Kathmandu on 13 September 2003. He was produced before the Supreme Court (SC) only on 22 September 2005 but the security personnel immediately re-arrested him from the SC premises defying the court order to release him.
Similarly, student leader Govinda Ghimire, 21 years, was arrested on 29 August 2003 from his residence in Chabahil, and was booked under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Ordinance. On 12 October 2003, the police, army, Home Ministry, Defense Ministry and the district authorities told the Supreme Court that Ghimire had not been arrested. In response to a habeas corpus writ petition filed by the Advocacy Forum, the Supreme Court on 17 June 2005 ruled that Ghimire was detained “illegally” and ordered for his immediate release in the presence of the District Judge. Following the Supreme Court order, the student leader was released on 22 June 2005. But plainclothes security personnel defied the SC order and re-arrested him at the Kathmandu District Court premises.
The Armed Police Force (APF) personnel reportedly lied to the OHCHR- Nepal that the two Maoist cadres arrested by them on 5 June 2005 were not in their custody. But subsequent enquiries by the OHCHR led to the APF admitting that the two Maoists were under their detention.
During his visit to Nepal from 10 to 16 September 2005, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nawak confirmed that the security forces brutally tortured detainees in order to extract confessions and to obtain intelligence reports. Methods of torture in detention include beatings with bamboo poles and plastic pipes, kicking with boots, electric shock to the ears, rolling rods over the thighs, jumping on thighs and legs, maintenance of stress positions, being bound to a pole and hung upside down and beaten, especially on the soles of the feet, and prolonged periods of being blindfolded and handcuffed.
Torture is not defined as a crime in Nepal. After the Royal takeover, police suppressed pro-democracy protests using disproportionate force. Women protestors were allegedly bitten, beaten up and poked batons at their sensitive organs, sexually abused by the security forces during arrest as well as under security detention.
Leading medical experts in Nepal asked the authorities not to use tear gas on demonstrators as this can cause serious complications like chest pain, cancer and loss in reproductive capability in the long run. Yet, the riot police continued to use tear gas shells not only against demonstrators on the open streets, but also within school and hospital premises. On 20 September 2005, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal expressed serious concern, among others, over “the use of teargas guns in close proximity to demonstrators and in the vicinity of hospitals and schools”.
On 1 August 2005, five students, three of them seriously, were injured in police beating near Putalisadak at Shankar Dev Campus. Student activist Chandra Silwal reportedly lost a finger while Subharam Basnet and Ramesh Kunwar sustained serious injuries. They had to be admitted to Kathmandu Model Hospital.
Even religious devotees were not spared. On 28 August 2005, at least two-dozen people were injured when police used disproportionate force against devotees in a religious festival ‘Gaura' at Tundikhel in Kathmandu. Similarly, during the Chhath puja celebration in Jaleshwor, the headquarters of Mahottari district on 8 November 2005, over 10 people were injured in beatings by the RNA personnel. One Birendra Mandal had to be admitted to the district hospital in Jaleshwor with serious injuries and later referred to the BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan. The RNA claimed that it had taken “departmental action” against the guilty soldiers; but the claims could not be verified. NHRC ordered a probe; but its report too was not made public.
On 13 September 2005 at around 3 pm, Shiv Bohora, Acting President of Nepal Students Union at Mahendra Ratna Campus, was arrested by the police from the campus premises on the charge of pelting stones at police personnel. Three policemen reportedly beat him with batons, hit with the butts of their rifles and kicked him with boots inside the police van and then at Kalimati Police Office. As he fell unconscious because of the torture, he was shifted to Bir Hospital for treatment. He was released from custody on 14 September 2005. The police beating reportedly left him with two broken teeth, five stitches on his forehead and seven stitches on his upper lip. He also suffered multiple bruises on his back, hands and legs.
On 10 December 2005, plainclothes security personnel from Kohalpur camp allegedly mal-treated and beat up innocent villagers of Khadakbar VDC in Banke district. The villagers told representatives of the NHRC on 12 December 2005 that the soldiers had asked them to identify Maoist cadres or show their whereabouts and threatened to shoot them if they failed to do so. The security personnel beat up several villagers including 77-year-old Kul Bahadur Oli, who could hardly walk on his own due to old age.
Security forces enjoyed virtual impunity for the human rights violations perpetrated. Despite recommendations by the NHRC, the Government failed to order an inquiry into the killings of 22 alleged Maoists at Kapilavastu from 17 to 23 February 2005. On its part, the NHRC, which investigated Kapilavastu killings also failed to mention the number of persons killed or identify the culprits. Rather, NHRC passed the buck on the government to conduct a probe.
Under the Compensation Relating to Torture Act of 1976, compensation for the gravest cases of torture can be a maximum of Nepali Rupees 1,00,000 (one lakh). Since the Torture Compensation Act came into force, compensation has actually been paid out only in one case to date, although courts ordered the authorities to pay compensation to the victims or their kin in several cases.
The security personnel who gang raped and killed Reena Rasaili (18) after her arrest from Pokahari Chauri-4, Kavre District in February 2004 were given absolute impunity. In October 2005, Chief of OHCHR-Nepal, Ian Martin stated that OHCHR received “no information that would indicate that charges have been lodged, despite the ample evidence and eyewitnesses testimony that is available indicating RNA involvement” into the case of torture.
Similarly, the accused in the gang rape and custodial killing of 15-year-old Maina Sunuwar, daughter of an eyewitness to the killing of Reena Rasaili after her arrest by the security forces on 17 February 2004, were also spared. In March 2005, the army publicly admitted that Maina's death had been a “mistake” but the accused army officers were systematically let off. On 1 October 2005, the Ministry of Defense stated that three RNA officers - Colonel Bobby Khatri and Captains Amit Pun and Sunil Adhikari were punished by putting them for six months in solitary confinement in army custody from 14 March 2005 to 9 September 2005, in addition to suspension of their promotion for two years and payment of fine of Rs 100,000 to the victim's family as compensation for killing Maina Sunuwar. In fact, all the three army officers were released immediately on the ground that the time they had spent in the barracks while awaiting trial should count towards their sentence.
The so-called punishment meted out for the rape and killing of Maina Sunuwar was extremely lenient and shields the culprits. Civil Code (11th amendment) of Kingdom of Nepal, provides for 10 to 15 years punishment in case a victim is under the age of 10 years, imprisonment of 7 to 10 years in case a victim is above the age of 10 and under the age of 16 years and imprisonment of 5 to 7 years in case a woman is 16 years or above. The code provides for additional punishment of 5 years imprisonment for the crime of gang rape and also for the rape of a pregnant or disabled woman.
In many cases of abuse committed by its personnel, the RNA ordered enquiries; but such inquiry reports were rarely made public. For example, the army ordered an inquiry into the extrajudicial killing of three school children identified as Narayan Bahadur Kanauji Magar (17), Tek Bahadur Gaha (15), and Dal Bahadur Darlami (15) on 22 March 2005 by the army personnel; but the report was not made public.
Article 96 of the Constitution of Nepal makes order and decisions of Court binding on the government. Section 2 of Article 96 specifically states that “Any interpretation given to a law or any legal principle laid down by the Supreme Court in the course of hearing of a suit shall be binding on His Majesty's Government and all offices and courts”.
The judiciary in Nepal had virtually collapsed even before the Royal takeover. By the end of 2003, the workload in 19 hill district courts dropped drastically with less than 50 cases per year. The Supreme Court also failed to inspect the Appellate and District Courts in the country during the year 2002 and 2003 “owing to bad law and order situation” though it was required to inspect the subordinate courts every year as per the Judicial Administration Act of 1991 and Supreme Court regulations. Only the Supreme Court in Kathmandu was willing to accept habeas corpus petitions prior to the Royal takeover.
Following the Royal coup of 1 February 2005, the independence of judiciary dipped further. The Supreme Court refused to entertain writ petitions even on non-suspended rights under the “pretext of emergency”. On 21 February 2005, Chief Justice Hari Prasad Sharma publicly defended the rejection of writ petitions saying that the issue was “political”. This was despite the fact that during the emergency in 2001-2002, the Supreme Court had admitted over 400 writ petitions seeking legal remedy under Article 88 (1) and (2).
There was lack of cooperation of the government with the judiciary. On 27 May 2005, the Supreme Court had to issue a special stricture to the government asking it to follow court orders as per Article 95 relating to duty of the government to extend cooperation and Article 96 relating to orders and decisions of the courts to be binding.
The government's apathy and non-cooperation with the court hindered the dispensation of speedy justice to the people of Nepal. As many as 1,838 writ petitions filed before April 2004 have reportedly remained unheard in the court as different ministries, organizations and offices have not responded to the apex court orders issued in the preliminary hearing of the petitions. Altogether, 2,768 writ petitions were pending at the Supreme Court as on 12 June 2005. Different government agencies including the Secretariat of Cabinet and Council of Ministers, Ministry of Land Reform and Management, Ministry of Finance, Home Ministry, Police Headquarters, tax collection offices, Guthi Sansthan, municipal offices and district administration offices were allegedly not submitting the required documents despite repeated requests by the court. According to the Civil Code related to Court Management, the Supreme Court can only slap a paltry fine of Rs 50 each time the concerned offices fail to respond to each letter asking for the necessary documents.
Despite repeated orders of the Supreme Court to furnish the agreement signed between the government of Nepal and the United Nations on the peacekeeping force of the RNA, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) and the RNA failed to furnish the same. In response to the petition filed by Ex-Army Welfare Council alleging misuse of the RNA Welfare Fund, the Supreme Court had directed the MoFA and the Headquarters of the RNA several times to furnish a copy of the agreement. On 23 August 2005, the Supreme Court issued a fresh directive to the concerned parties to furnish a copy of the agreement within 15 days or face contempt of court action. But the court failed to get a reply. On 21 November 2005, the MoFA submitted a copy of the said agreement before the apex court. Earlier, the MoFA had told the Supreme Court that no pact on peacekeeping was signed with the UN.
Nothing more reflected the contempt of court than re-arrest of accused after their release by the courts including from the premises of the Supreme Court. In 2005, Asian Centre for Human Rights recorded the re-arrest of 55 persons after the court ordered their release.
On 26 April 2005, former minister Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta was re-arrested from his residence in Sinamangal, Kathmandu by plainclothes security personnel without any reason. He was earlier released by the Supreme Court on 19 April 2005. On 5 May 2005, the Supreme Court once again held Gupta's arrest as illegal and ordered his release. But he was re-arrested again in defiance of the SC's order. The authorities had to release him on 27 May 2005 following another Supreme Court order.
On 5 May 2005, Gagan Thapa, former General Secretary of the Nepal Students Union was re-arrested by the police from inside Kathmandu District Police Office soon after his release at the order of the Supreme Court. Following repeated orders of the Supreme Court, the government released him on 25 May 2005. But he was re-arrested on 27 July 2005 by plainclothes policemen on charges of sedition. On 14 August 2005, the Supreme Court again ordered the release of Gagan Thapa ruling that there was no ground to keep him in custody as charges brought against him were not clear.
On 16 May 2005, former president of ANNFSU, Rajendra Rai was re-arrested by the police immediately after his release from the Kathmandu district court premises following a Supreme Court order. On 20 May 2005, the government released Rajendra Rai following another order of the Supreme Court.
On 27 May 2005, former minister and standing committee member of the CPN-UML, Ishwor Pokharel was re-arrested by the police without any arrest warrant immediately after his release in Rajbiraj following a Supreme Court order.
On 8 June 2005, plainclothes policemen re-arrested Karna Bahadur Thapa Magar, a farmer by profession who had been booked under the TADO on 8 October 2004, from the premises of Kathmandu District Court soon after his release on the order of the Supreme Court. Earlier on 4 July 2005, he had to flee in a vehicle escorted by two UN vehicles to escape re-arrest.
On 15 June 2005, plainclothes security personnel re-arrested Nawaraj Subedi, general secretary of Jana Morcha Nepal, within a few hours after the Supreme Court ordered for his release. He was first arrested from Tribhuvan International Airport on 14 May 2005 on his way to Pakistan to participate in a conference. On 22 June 2005, the government in a written reply to the Supreme Court denied having rearrested Nawaraj Subedi. But on 23 June 2005, a team of the National Human Rights Commission found Nawaraj Subedi in detention at District Police Office, Lalitpur.
On 24 July 2005, police re-arrested Nishan Bishwakarma of Baglung Amalachaur, from court premises in Pokhara immediately after his release following a Supreme Court's order.
On 4 August 2005, police re-arrested Guna Ram Damai soon after he was released on a court order in Baglung.
On 12 August 2005, plainclothes security personnel re-arrested Raj Kumar Pariyar from Kathmandu District Court soon after he was released vide a Supreme Court order which declared his detention on the charges of being a Maoist as illegal.
On 22 September 2005, Krishna KC was re-arrested from the premises of the Supreme Court immediately following his release.
On 19 September 2005, 11 detainees identified as Prem Bahadur Oli, Tek Bahadur Khatri, Man Bahadur Bista, Padam Sarki, Birman Sarki, Tapta Bahadur Giri, Bir Bahadur Karki, Padam Bahadur Budha, Gagan Singh Kunwar, Dhawal Singh Bohara and Ujal Singh Dhami were re-arrested immediately after being released by the Kanchanpur District Court in Mahendranagar in western Nepal as per the order of the Supreme Court.
On 21 October 2005, a division bench of the Supreme Court ordered the release of detainee Rajendra Phuyal in the presence of a Kathmandu district judge. But the government defied the SC and did not release Phuyal.
On 20 November 2005, police re-arrested Aiendra Bikram Begha, alternative central committee member of All Nepal National Independent Students' Union - Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) after he was released following the order of the Appellate court at Biratnagar.
On 22 November 2005, police re-arrested Krishna Chaulagain, resident of Bayarban in Morang district, after he was released by Appellate court of Biratnagar.
On 24 November 2005, police re-arrested secretary of ANNISU-R, Sunsari district, Lochan Dhamala and Him Prasad Mishra – both residents of Dangihat VDC of Morang district – from the premises of the appellate court Biratnagar immediately after the court released them.
On 27 November 2005, plainclothes police personnel re-arrested three alleged Maoists- Shyam Sundar Dhungana, Bhola Thapa and Sukram Lama - immediately after they were freed from the premises of the Parsa District Court. On 24 November 2005, the Appellate Court Hetauda had ordered their release.
On 4 December 2005, Khem Raj Dahal of Hardiya-5 in Saptari district was re-arrested by plainclothes security personnel from the Appellate Court premises in Rajbiraj.
On 19 December 2005, plainclothes security personnel re-arrested former general secretary of the Maoist-affiliated All Nepal National Independent Student Union - Revolutionary, Himal Sharma, from the Supreme Court premises soon after the SC released him. The security personnel also beat up human rights activists, lawyers and journalists while re-arresting the student leader.
Under the direct rule of King Gyanendra, the lawyers also faced arbitrary arrests and detention. On 1 February 2005, former President of Nepal Bar Association, Sindhu Nath Pyakurel was arrested from his office in Kathmandu and held incommunicado for nine days. He was released on 14 February 2005 following Supreme Court's intervention. On 18 February 2005, advocate Kalam Bahadur Khatri was arrested by the police and was illegally detained for three weeks under the Public Security Act.
Following the Royal takeover on 1 February 2005, King Gyanendra confined the members of the NHRC within the Kathmandu valley. On 5 March 2005, security forces barred a team of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) from visiting Kapilavastu district to investigate the clashes between the locals and the alleged Maoists from 17 to 23 February 2005.
On 18 May 2005, King Gyanendra introduced an Ordinance amending section 4(2) of the Human Rights Commission Act to change the composition of the Recommendation Committee to dispense with the requirement of the approval of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in the lower house of parliament under the National Human Rights Commission Act of 1997 for appointment of new members. As the Parliament was dissolved in May 2002, the appointing committee could not be established. On 27 May 2005, while retaining Commission's Chairman Nayan Bahadur Khatri, King Gyanendra arbitrarily nominated other new members, who were alleged royalists.
The government of Nepal allowed newly appointed members to visit Kapilavastu to investigate the killings. The NHRC in its report of August 2005, however, failed to mention the number of persons killed and identify the culprits. The NHRC passed the buck on the government to order another probe.
The ineffectiveness of the NHRC of Nepal was evident from the fact that despite meeting Krishna K C, former vice president of the All Nepal National Independent Students' Union (Revolutionary), in RNA custody, the NHRC members suppressed the fact and did not disclose his whereabouts. Krishna KC was listed as disappeared after his arrest by the security forces from Kathmandu on 13 September 2003. Finally, he was produced before the Supreme Court and released on 22 September 2005. But he was re-arrested from the Supreme Court premises as soon as he was released.
Human rights defenders faced repression from the government. Dozens of activists were arrested, detained in the Kathmandu Valley and prevented from fulfilling their mandate for monitoring human rights situation. Krishna Pahadi of Society of Human Rights and Peace who was arrested by the security forces on 9 February 2005 was detained for the longest period. He was released on 4 July 2005.
On 10 November 2005, the Social Welfare Council introduced a 15-point Code of Conduct for Social Organisations-2005 to regulate and control the National and International Non-Governmental Organizations with a view to make them ineffective. The government imposed the code of conduct on the NGOs. In December 2005, the Food Management Committee, an agency of the government in Jumla, allegedly threatened the NGO workers in Jumla district to deny their basic right to food if they failed to fall in line with the code of conduct. The Supreme Court stayed the implementation of the NGO Code of Conduct on 26 December 2005.
The media faced tremendous repression under King Gyanendra. According to Reporters Sans Frontiers, at least 425 journalists were arrested, attacked or threatened during 2005 in Nepal and half of all the cases of censorship in the world took place in the kingdom. Journalist Mahesh Pahari died on the night of 4 October 2005 allegedly due to lack of treatment while being detained in Pokhara jail.
The media persons faced the most serious repression under the direct rule of King Gyanendra. On 3 February 2005, King Gyanendra “banned for six months any interview, article, news, notice, view or personal opinion that goes against the letter and spirit of the Royal Proclamation of 1 February 2005 and that directly or indirectly supports destruction and terrorism”. The RNA personnel who were stationed at the newsrooms edited all news items before being published in print or electronic media. Most Indian Television channels were banned in Kathmandu valley. It was only on 8 June 2005 that the Nepal government decided to resume airing of Indian news channels. The government also banned three websites - www.insn.org and www.samudaya.org on 30 June 2005, and www.gorkhanews.com in September 2005.
The electronic media, especially the FM Radios suffered under “Ordinance Amending Some Nepal Acts related to Media-2062” promulgated on 9 October 2005. The Ordinance banned criticism of the King, barred private radio stations from broadcasting news and empowered the government to revoke journalists' press accreditation, arrest and prosecute them, and imposed higher fines for defamation, among others.
Over 2,000 radio journalists were rendered jobless due to the ban. The broadcasting of BBC World Service on 103 FM remained off the air from April to November 2005.
In a further order on 27 May 2005, the Ministry of Information and Communication, in a one-sentence letter, ordered the Communication Corner, a radio program production center for FM and community radios, to close down accusing it of “illegal operations”.
On 7 June 2005, the Supreme Court stayed the government order. But in early August 2005, the Ministry of Information and Communication threatened Nepal FM 91.8 with closure for airing news. On 10 August 2005, the SC stayed the government order to close down the Nepal FM 91.8 and further extended the stay order on 7 September 2005.
At the midnight of 21 October 2005, armed policemen raided the office of Kantipur FM radio station in Lalitpur and forcibly seized its transmission equipment resulting in the disruption of services. The government returned its transmission equipment only on 20 December 2005.
On 23 October 2005, the Ministry of Information and Communications summoned more than a dozen representatives of FM stations and reportedly issued directions to stop broadcasting news oriented programs with immediate effect from 23 October 2005.
On 27 November 2005, the police raided the Radio Sagarmatha, the first community radio in South Asia, and closed down the radio station for “attempting to carry a BBC Nepali service relay broadcast that included the interview of Maoist leader Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda.” The police seized transmission equipment, and detained five staff. In its interim orders on 29 November 2005 and 30 November 2005, the Supreme Court allowed the Radio Sagarmatha to resume its operations, but the Ministry of Information and Communications continued to harass the management and staff of the radio station. On 7 December 2005, the Supreme Court again ordered the government to allow Radio Sagarmatha to air the BBC Nepali service broadcast. But the government did not return equipments of the radio station till 14 December 2005.
In order to harass the print media, in August 2005, the government introduced Government Advertisement One-Door Policy, 2062 BS that, among others, ruled out providing any government advertisement to those newspapers which did not show respect to the monarchy. In May 2005, the government had reportedly suspended 4.5 million rupees assistance to the Federation of Nepalese Journalists. In December 2005, Minister of State Shrish Shumsher JB Rana asserted that government advertisements would be provided as per the Government Advertisement One-Door Policy to only those newspapers which showed respect to the monarchy.
Dozens of journalists were beaten up and detained, and editors of several newspapers including The Kathmandu Post and The Kantipur were summoned by the authorities and warned of action if they did not toe the government line.
The media persons were detained enmasse. While riot police detained 58 journalists from Bhrikuti Mandap in Kathmandu on 8 June 2005, at least 48 journalists were arrested during a peaceful demonstration at Ratna Park in Kathmandu on 13 June 2005. On 22 June 2005, another 10 journalists were arrested in Kavre.
Those others detained or arrested included Reuters photo journalist Rupak De Chaudhary on 14 March 2005, Kushal Babu Basnet of Nepal Samacharpatra on 21 March 2005, Krishna Prajapati of Sandhya Times daily on 7 April 2005, Kashinath Yadav, editor of Brahmastra daily and Rabindra Singh of Kalaiya weekly on 8 April 2005, Himal Dhungel, president of FNJ Ramechhap district branch, and Nawaraj Pathik of Nepal Samacharpatra on 27 May 2005, Kishor Karki, editor of Blast Time daily on 23 June 2005, Nepal Press Union president Murari Kumar Sharma, vice president Bindu Kanta Ghimire, central committee members Kiran Pokhrel and Shital Koirala and Nuwakot district unit president of the NPU, Shiva Devkota on 29 June 2005, Bhadranath Adhikary, editor and publisher of Grameen Samachar on 8 July 2005, Harihar Singh Rathour of The Kathmandu Post on 19 September 2005, and Yam Birahi of Rajdhani daily on 19 December 2005.
Many journalists were beaten up while taking part in peaceful protests or covering the protests. On 9 June 2005, at least ten journalists were injured in police beatings during a peaceful demonstration at Kalaiya, district headquarters of southern district of Bara. Secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists, Bara district, Guru Prasad Gautam was injured seriously as he was hit with the butt of a gun on his stomach.
On 22 August 2005, police thrashed journalists Ajaya Babu Siwakoti of Image Channel and Narendra Shrestha of The Kathmandu Post while they were covering a demonstration at Baneshwor.
On 6 September 2005, at least a dozen journalists including photographer Rosan Rai of The Himalayan Times, Bhimsen Rajbahak of Communication Corner, Kiran Nepal of Himal Media, Bimal Gautam of World News Online, J P Gupta of Disha Nirdesh and Bharat Sahi of Chuli Weekly, were injured in police assault at New Road area, Kathmandu.
The Maoists also targeted the media. The State Television and State Radio stations were specifically targeted. While state run Nepal Television's regional programme production and broadcasting centre in Kohalpur in Banke district was set ablaze on 24 February 2005, a transmission station of Nepal Television in Palpa was bombed on 17 May 2005. On 19 May 2005, armed Maoists looted transmission equipment from Ghodaghodi FM station at Attariya in Kailali.
The Maoists shot at the editor and publisher of Dharan Today newspaper, Khagendra Shrestha while he was working at his office in Dharan. He succumbed to gunshot injuries on 1 April 2005.
The Maoists abducted many journalists including JB Pun Magar of the Himal Khabarpatrika on 8 March 2005, Som Sharma, an Illam-based journalist associated with Ankha in May 2005, Bikram Giri, Darchula-based reporter of The Kathmandu Post on 3 June 2005 and Chandra Mani Kattel, a Biratnagar-based reporter of the Blast Times on 22 November 2005.
The Maoists even put journalists under house arrest. In June 2005, Maoist insurgents warned Illam-based reporter of Radio Nepal, Umesh Gurung to quit his job and join the Maoist war and put him under house arrest.
In Nepal, domestic violence was widespread. According to Deputy Inspector General of Police Kumar Koirala, violence against women went up from 567 reported cases in 2003 to 1022 cases in 2004. But the cases of domestic violence were largely unreported as the women were vulnerable and absolutely dependent on men.
Women were also targeted both by the security forces and the Maoists because of their gender. During pro-democracy uprising, many women demonstrators were subjected to sexual harassment and torture.
On 3 July 2005, plain-clothes security personnel shot dead Rama Adhikari in front of her husband at their residence in Taghandubba-7 in Jhapa district, accusing her of having “fed Maoist cadres”. The security forces also threatened to kill the other five members of the family and tried to bury her secretly. Later, an officer from the District Police Office asked Devi Prasad, the husband of the deceased, to sign a paper. A fact-finding team consisting of HimRights LifeLine, INSEC, CWIN, CVICT and Advocacy Forum also found that Rama Adhikari was summarily executed. The army instituted a court of inquiry into the killing but the report was not made public.
Although the RNA claimed it has a ‘zero tolerance' policy on sexual violence against children and women, six -months in army custody was the only punishment, besides suspension of their promotions and imposition of fines, given by RNA to three of its officers - Colonel Bobby Khatri, Captain Sunil Adhikari and Captain Amit Pun for raping and killing Maina Sunuwar in custody in February 2004.
The Maoists were also responsible for increased violence against women including rape. On 1 April 2005, Puni Devi Bohora, 26, a mother of five children, was allegedly raped by a Maoist cadre ‘Suman' in the presence of a dozen other Maoists at her home at Shibalinga VDC in Baitadi in absence of her husband. On 18 August 2005, Maoists raped a Dalit woman at gun point at Jagatpur-4 in Saptari district. The National Human Rights Commission confirmed the rape by the Maoists.
Many women were killed by the Maoists. On 23 July 2005, Maoists beheaded a woman identified as Sabita Karki, a local of Bahini VDC-6 in Morang district on charges of spying on them. On 1 November 2005, Maoists mercilessly beat to death one Januka Bhandari, resident of Shimle area of Terhathum district.
Many women were also abducted and killed by the Maoists. The victims included one Nirmala Basnet of Ramche Gaighat VDC-9 in Udayapur district who was killed aftter abduction on 4 November 2005 and a pregnant woman of Chatara VDC-4 in Bajura district who allegedly died on 25 December 2005 in Maoists' custody when she was forced by the Maoists to undergo militia training.
A girl who escaped from the Maoists' captivity in December 2005 reportedly told journalists that nine other school girls including Chandra Lohar, Dambari, Dhana Bhattarai, Nirmala and Shusila, who were abducted from various areas of Dadeldhura district were being held hostage by the Maoists. The girl alleged that they had to carry stones, dig pits, cut grasses, cook food for the cadres, and wash their clothes in the labor camps, and forced to join the rebel guerrillas.
According to official estimate, indigenous nationalities consist of 42% of the total population of Nepal. The National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities Act, 2002 AD identified 59 “Indigenous Nationalities” in Nepal. These included 18 Indigenous Nationalities in Mountain (Himalaya) region, 23 in Hills, 7 in Inner Terai and 11 in Terai. Despite being majority, they continued to remain marginalized in the Nepali society. More than 70% of the indigenous peoples lived below the poverty line.
Indigenous nationalities have been the canon fodder of the Maoists conflict in Nepal by the sheer majority they constitute as cadres in the Maoists as well as the soldiers in the security forces. Though no disaggregated data exists on the ethnic origin of over 12,000 persons killed in the conflict, indigenous nationalities have been both the victims and perpetrators.
The Dalit population in Nepal is estimated to be 4.5 million, representing 20 per cent of the total population of Nepal. About 80% of the Dalit population live below the poverty line.
The Dalits continued to be victims of atrocities including physical violence and denial of access to public places and services. On 3 January 2005, a large group of upper caste people from the Mandal community, armed with spears, spades and axes reportedly attacked the Dalit settlement at Parhai area of Koiladi Madhepura village in Saptari district after a minor Dalit boy had plucked some leaves of green vegetables from the farm of an upper caste family. Over two-dozen Dalits, including women and children, were injured in the incident. The upper caste people also allegedly looted whatever they found inside the Dalits' houses including food grain, bicycles, utensils, radio sets, etc and set fire on 40 Dalit houses.
In a landmark judgement, on 21 April 2005, the Supreme Court ordered the government to promulgate an Act to ban the practice of “untouchability” and other caste discrimination practices prevalent in the country.
In June 2005, Dal Bahadur BK, a Dalit peasant, was severely beaten up by three upper caste people identified as Sher Bahadur Bista, Prem Bista and Dal Bahadur Bista for touching a public water tap at Durgamod VDC-6 in Doti district.
In October 2005, the upper caste people reportedly imposed a blockade on a Dalit hamlet in ward-2 at Sarakpura VDC in Saptari district. The six Chamar (Dalit) families in the VDC were prohibited from using the public path and denied access to the rice mills, medical shops and public water taps. Some Dalits even fled the village.
In March 2005, 11 Dalit families were reportedly denied access to the forests and forest products at Ramechhap Sukajaur VDC - 7 in Ramechaap district. As a result, the Dalits were prevented from entering the forest next to their houses to fetch firewood and fodder for their cattle. They had to fetch firewood and fodder for their cattle from a distant forest after walking several hours on foot.
In August 2005, the upper caste people reportedly prevented the Dalits from using the public water tap at Bidari Gaun at Syuchatar VDC in Kathmandu.
Nepal was the most dangerous place for children in South Asia in 2005. According to INSEC, 341 children have been killed from 13 February 1996 to 30 November 2005 – 172 children at the hands of the state and 169 at the hands of the Maoists. CWIN put the figure of children deaths at 419 (295 boys and 124 girls) during the 10-year-old conflict. An estimated 58 children (42 boys and 16 girls) were killed during January - September 2005 alone. Of this, 46 children (35 boys and 11 girls) were killed by the Maoists and 6 (4 boys and 2 girls) children were killed by the security forces, while 6 (4 boys and 2 girls) died in cross fires between the security forces and the Maoists.
Over 140 children were reportedly injured by the security forces and the Maoists during 2005. Of them, at least 80 sustained injuries in bomb explosions by Maoists.
On 22 March 2005, three school children – Narayan Bahadur Kanauji Magar (17) of Class IX, Tek Bahadur Gaha (15) of Class VIII, and Dal Bahadur Darlami (15) of Class VI– were shot dead by plain-clothes security personnel suspecting them to be Maoists. The children were in their school uniform. The Royal Nepal Army ordered an inquiry into their killings following massive protests but the report was not made public.
The provisions of the Children's Act, 1992 have not been fully implemented. Instead, juvenile justice continued to be treated as a section of criminal justice system in Nepal in practice. The government also failed to evolve a consistent and uniform definition of the child. The Children's Act, 1992 defines “Child” as every human being below the age of 16 years. But, the Labour Act, 1992 puts the age limit of the child at 14 years whereas the Nepal Citizenship Act, 1963 considers a person below 16 years of age as minor. Similarly, the Civil Code (Muluki Ain), 1963 considers the legal age of marriage for boys at 18 years and for girls at 16 years with parents' consent and 21 years for boys and 18 years for girls respectively with no consent of parents.
The government of Nepal also failed to establish any “Children's Correction Home”. Since the announcement of the establishment of the Juvenile Bench at district courts in April 2000, no record has been found about their enactment in any district in the country. Children are hardly given different treatment when they are brought to the attention of the justice system. They are often kept in custody together with adults, and the processes and jurisdiction applicable to the investigation, remand, bail and judicial custody are similar to that of adults. There is no separate court for juvenile offenders.
Children were also specific targets of the Maoists. On 16 November 2005, Maoists abducted two children – 12-year-old Netra Kumal and his 15-year-old elder brother, Jhak Bahadur, from Bhimad bazaar in Tanahun district, accusing them of spying on the rebel outfit, and tortured them in custody. They were released on 29 November 2005. According to the victims, they were selling bananas in the bazaar when suddenly three armed men, who identified themselves as security personnel, approached them and abducted them at gunpoint. Jhak Bahadur alleged that the Maoists tied his hands with a rope and hit him several times with a cane. Bruises were visible all over his body. According to the locals, the Maoists had earlier manhandled the boys' parents on the same charge.
Prisons and detention centers in Nepal have been known for the lack of even the basic sanitation and healthcare such as proper ventilations, adequate food, safe drinking water, toilet etc, and the prisoners were denied access to medical treatment, radio, newspapers, family members and lawyers.
The prison conditions further deteriorated as thousands of political prisoners were arrested and detained. Following the arrest of pro-democracy activists after the Royal coup, in Morang jail, there were reportedly as many as 611 prisoners against its sanctioned capacity of 200 inmates. At least 80 prisoners were made to sleep in one room, which lacked proper ventilation. According to former parliamentarian Lal Babu Pandit, who was detained in Morang jail for sixteen days following the Royal takeover, his cell in Morang jail was so overcrowded that one had to wait for a turn to stand up. The inmates had to wait for at least two hours in queue to get their turn to take bath or to go to the toilet. In Prasi jail, the inmates had to sleep by turn due to lack of space. In Kharipati Electricity Training Center in Bhaktapur, there was reportedly no sufficient space for the inmates to sleep, and there was reportedly only one toilet to be used by 60 detainees including females!
No proper medical treatment was provided to the ailing inmates. Despite suffering from kidney problems, severe back pain and losing sensation in some parts of his body, Vice Chairman of the People's Front Nepal Lila Mani Pokharel was denied treatment, even on the family's own expenses. Instead, the police allegedly threatened to lock up Pokhrel in the prison toilet. Similarly, Nepali Congress Central Committee leader Ram Chandra Poudel who was detained for 147 days until his release on 28 June 2005 on the orders of the Supreme Court and was repeatedly denied medical facilities. The situation was worse in the custody of the armed forces.
There were reports of torture of the inmates. On the night of 5 May 2005, Nepali Congress Rajbiraj district president Ram Kumar Chaudhary, and party workers – Brij Kirshore, Umesh Mishara, Bikeshwar Yadav and Shusil Seva were allegedly beaten up by the security personnel in the Rajbiraj jail for demanding facilities, including proper medical treatment.
But, visit by international monitoring missions to the prisons were banned. In May 2005, International Committee of the Red Cross was forced to suspend its visits to the barracks after the RNA allegedly failed to abide by the terms of an agreement with ICRC with regard to its worldwide working modalities. In June 2005, NHRC accused the government of not implementing its recommendations, including reforms in the detention centres.
Around 100,000 to 200,000 people have reportedly been internally displaced due to armed conflict with the Maoists since 1996. In addition, over two million people have reportedly fled to India. There was only one small camp for the entire IDP population, known as Regina camp located near the town of Nepalganj in western Nepal with around 200 families.
The IDPs fled their villages to escape from being targeted for being political party activists, being forcibly recruited into the CPN-Maoists under their ‘one person from each household' policy, torture, abduction, killings, destruction of homes and properties, threats, confiscation of land, extortion and looting by the Maoists, and torture, arbitrary arrests and killing by the security forces.
The 1990 constitution of Nepal only recognised the internally displaced persons as a result of developmental projects, economic opportunities and natural or man-made calamities and not because of the conflicts.
The government practiced a flawed mechanism for classification and registration of IDPs. To be identified as an IDP and get the benefits, one has to return to the place of origin to be registered as an IDP at the office of the Chief District Officer. This process makes the IDPs vulnerable from the Maoists and the security forces, and therefore, many refuse to identify themselves as IDPs.
The government's assistance to IDPs was very limited. The government set up compensation and resettlement funds for victims of the conflict, such as the Victims of Conflict Fund under which IDP families were entitled to an equivalent of US$1.30 per day, but most of the money was spent by July 2002. All those displaced after July 2002 were therefore excluded from assistance and official recognition. Moreover, the government provided assistance to only the people displaced by the Maoists, and not to those displaced by the security forces.
Instead of providing humanitarian assistance, in 2005, the government dealt violently with the conflict induced IDPs. On 4 June 2005, a Maoist victim identified as Dal Bahadur Gharti, 33, died of injuries he sustained in disproportionate use of force by the police at a protest programme organized by the Maoist Victims Association on 3 June 2005.
The use of disproportionate force against the IDPs was common. On 15 May 2005, police used disproportionate force to disrupt the “peaceful sit-in” programme of the Maoist victims and arrested over 200 of them, including “sick women and children” from in front of the Singha Durbar and areas around it.
On 26 May 2005, security personnel arrested over 150 Maoist victims, including women and children, in the capital from a protest rally demanding food and shelter. Over 40 protesters, including a small child, were seriously injured in the police lathi charge.
XIV. Status of the Tibetan refugees
An estimated 2,500 to 3,000 Tibetan refugees enter Nepal every year after a dangerous journey through the Himalayan passes from the Chinese Autonomous Region of Tibet.
On 21 January 2005, the government of Nepal shut down the Tibetan Refugee Welfare Office which has been helping to ensure the safety and well-being of Tibetans refugees. It sheltered some 1,000 Tibetan refugees at the time of its forcible closure. The arbitrary closure order also made it difficult for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, which has worked closely with the Tibetan Refugee Welfare office, to provide protection to the Tibetan asylum seekers in Nepal.
Many Tibetan refugees were arrested. On 24 September 2005, a Tibetan exile returnee, Norbu Tsering, was arrested at the Nepal-Tibet border while on his way back to his native village in Kyidong (Ch: Jilong Xian) County, Shigatse Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region. On 28 September 2005, he was handed over to the Nepalese Immigration Department, which imposed a monetary penalty of Nepalese Rupees 28,651. Failing to pay the fine, as he was too poor, Norbu Tsering was sentenced to three years and three months imprisonment in Dilli Bazaar Jail, Kathmandu.
Another Tibetan refugee, Sonam Tsering was sentenced to three years imprisonment on 9 October 2005 after being arrested from Swayambunath area in Kathmandu on the night of 7 October 2005 for the failure to pay Rs 27,000 penalty imposed by the Immigration Department of the Nepalese Home Ministry.
On 27 November 2005, 18 Tibetans, including two women, were reportedly arrested by the Nepal Police in Bara district after they crossed into Nepal through Solukhumbu from China without legal documents. They were sent to the Central Jail in Kathmandu the next day as they failed to pay the fines. They were freed on 8 December 2005 after the Tibetan government-in-exile in India and Tibetan Reception Centre (TRC), a Kathmandu-based non-governmental organization, paid Rs 8500 (US$121) on behalf of each of 18 Tibetans.
The CPN-Maoists were responsible for violations of international humanitarian laws by resorting to indiscriminate killings, abduction, rape, torture, and attacks on educational institutions, healthcare systems and destruction of public properties in the country.
According to INSEC, Maoists killed at least 709 persons in 2005. The killing of 38 civilian passengers and three security personnel and injuring 72 others including children in a land mine explosion by the Maoists in Madi area of Chitwan district on 6 June 2005 showed blatant violations of international humanitarian laws. On 24 February 2005, suspected Maoists shot dead central member of the World Hindu Youth Federation, Chandra Prakash Rathaur in Birendranagar municipality in Surkhet district.
Those who opposed or were suspected of opposing the Maoists were specifically targeted. On 25 February 2005 night, Maoists shot dead an alleged anti-Maoists activist identified as Ghar Baran Teli in Labani VDC of Kapilvastu district. The Maoists also killed another three civilians, Bedullah Jolha, Maksoor Alam and Mohammed Hakik on the night of 26 February 2005 in Jahari VDC of Kapilavastu. Similarly on 23 April 2005, the Maoists killed five villagers including Janardan Yadav and Laxman Murao of Marchawar Semari, and Prahlad Loth and Dwarika Loth of Thumahawa - on the charges of being members of the anti-Maoist “resistance group” in Marchabar Semari and Thumahawa villages in the southwestern Rupandehi district. The victims were dragged out of their homes and shot dead.
The Maoists targeted the civilians indiscriminately. On 15 April 2005 night, Maoists gunned down 10 civilians - Ariman Yadav, Dinesh Yadav, Dinesh Chaudhary, Rajendra Chauhan, Densh Kunwar, Bharat Chaudhary, Dibya Chaudhary), Chandraman Baretha, Bijaya Chaudhary and 14-year old boy Amlesh Yadav in cold blood at Baragdawa of Somni VDC in Nawalparasi district. The Maoists reportedly barged into their houses while they were asleep, pulled them out of the houses and shot them dead, suspecting them of being members of the Maoists' Resistance Committee. An NHRC team went to Nawalparasi to probe the incident. On 5 May 2005, the government announced compensation of Rs.150, 000 to each of the families of the deceased.
Even the elderly or physically disabled persons were not spared. On 23 July 2005, the bullet ridden body of an elderly Ramadhar Thakur was recovered in Sohadawa VDC in Banke district three days after his abduction by the Maoists. On 23 July 2005, Maoists allegedly killed a handicapped man identified as Ram Prasad Bhattarai after abducting him.
The government officials have been specific targets of the Maoists. The victims included Deputy Superintendent Officer Mahesh K.C. of National Investigation Regional Department in Pokhara who was killed on 30 March 2005, Chairman of Sindhuli Chamber of Commerce and Industries, Narayan Kumar Shrestha who was shot dead at his residence at Dhungrebas of Kamalamai Municipality on 31 March 2005, Balanand Kafle, acting Chief District Officer of Bardia who was killed on 11 April 2005, Bhagawan Das Shrestha, coordinator of the District Monitoring Committee, Chitwan who was killed on 9 May 2005 and Ajaya Raj Singh, coordinator of the District Monitoring Committee (DMC), Banke who was shot dead on 24 August 2005.
The Maoists also indiscriminately used land mines and improvised explosive device (IED) thereby killing innocent civilians. On the morning of 9 March 2005, a laborer identified as Kali Sada of Gaushala VDC-3 reportedly died and five others including a minor were injured when a Maoist-planted bomb went off on Gaushala-Aurahi road. The laborers were working on the road and the bomb exploded as they removed a post installed on it.
A large number of minors were killed in bomb explosions by the Maoists. The victims included Saroj Yadav (10), his 14-year-old brother Ashok and 15-year-old Mahesh Yadav who were killed at Mujeyliya of Janakpur, Dhanusha district on 27 March 2005, Bam Bahadur Karki (9) who was killed at Padampur of Latikoili VDC in Surkhet on 10 April 2005, Lok Raj Bhattarai (6) who was killed at Toligaon area in Dadeldhura district on 22 May 2005, 5-year-old Dipak Nepali who was killed at Hariharpur VDC in Surkhet district on 4 June 2005, Sumitra Rajali (17) and Basanti Rajali (13) who were killed at Siddadhara VDC-5 of Arghakhanchi district on 13 June 2005, 5-year-old Neha Gadariya of Kanpur, India, who was killed at Tribhuvan Chowk, Nepalgunj on 23 June 2005, Santosh Poudel (13) and Mohan Neupane (13) who were killed at Amkhaiya Jungle in Kailali on 11 July 2005, four-year-old child Lokendra at Tudidhara, Manakot VDC of Bajura district on 2 August 2005 and 13-year-old Prem Sunar who was killed at Salleri VDC-9 of Dailekh district on 24 August 2005.
While the autocratic regime of King Gyanendra put several political leaders under house arrest and in prison, Maoists did not lag behind. Twenty five civilians including social workers, local leaders and women, were placed under “house arrest” by the Maoists for nearly one month in Dailekh, accusing them of initiating a UN development project at Lakandra VDC in the district without their consent. They were released on 3 July 2005 only after interventions by human rights and civil society organizations.
On 1 July 2005, Maoists allegedly abducted 70-year-old Harilal Dhakal of Kalimati village and 31-year-old Krishna Koirala of Khursanibari village in Dailekh and inhumanly tortured them. While Harilal Dhakal's legs and rib were reportedly broken, Krishna Koirala was blindfolded and severely beaten that broke his right leg.
According to INSEC, Maoists abducted 46,718 persons between 13 February 1996 and 30 November 2005. Of them 38,052 were released, including 1099 women. According to Amnesty International, Maoists abducted a total of 8,057 people from at least nine districts during the first four weeks of the declaration of unilateral ceasefire on 3 September 2005. Many of them were children and teachers.
The Maoists also forced civilians to undergo militia training or participate in their programmes. The Maoists imposed “1 house 1 Militia” policy throughout rural Nepal. Often, abduction of innocent villagers, especially school children and teachers became a part of the policy.
Among the prominent cases of abduction included Arun Chand, the son of former Prime Minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand and Managing Director of Basuling Sugar Mills in Chuha in Kailali district. He was abducted on 27 October 2005. According to reports, Chand was released only after he agreed to pay Rs.30 million as ransom, which the Maoists claimed he owned to the local farmers.
On 29 November 2005, Maoists held hostage a group of journalists and tourism entrepreneurs in Sikaicha VDC in Taplejung district for 22 hours. They were taken there by the UNDP Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Program to study the potential for tourism development in the region. On 2 December 2005, Ram Dahal, Coordinator of the Programme was released and the audio-visual equipment snatched from them was returned.
The Maoists regularly imposed violent economic blockade to oppose the royal takeover affecting normal life. On 20 February 2005, Nripad Kumar Parveji, a truck driver from Nagpur of 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.
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. The vehicles included a tanker loaded with kerosene, while the rest of the trucks were carrying commodities such as rice, cement, coal and iron rods.
Even the ambulances were not spared. 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.”
During the Maoists' economic blockade, the people in the remote hill districts of the mid-western region suffered from acute food shortage as the authorities failed to supply the required quota of food grains to these districts. Jumla, Humla, Kalikot, Dolpa and Mugu districts and Ilam, Panchthar and Terhathum had inadequate access to basic commodities.
The Maoists were responsible for destruction of public properties worth hundreds of millions of Nepalese rupees.
These included the bombing of a sub-station of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) at Kohalpur of Banke district which was destroyed on 20 February 2005; two government office buildings used by the Department of Survey and Revenue Office in Hetauda on 26 February 2005; burning down of half-a-dozen government offices including the District Administration Office, District Irrigation Office, District Education Office, District Development Committee, District Land Revenue Office, District post office and District Drinking Water Office at the headquarters of Argakhachi district on 3 March 2005; bombing of state-owned Nepal Telecom Company, District Survey Office and District Forest Office at Inaruwa in Sunsari district on 16 March 2005; bombing of the building of the Employees' Provident Fund Regional Office in Banke on 21 March 2005; bombing of the control room of NEA in Dhangadi on 2 June 2005; and setting fire to Jyoti Spinning Mills on 17 August 2005.
The Maoists systematically targeted the educational institutions throughout the year.
Several schools were bombed.
Suspected Maoists bombed 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 on 14 February 2005, Mahendra High School, Modern Public School, Mangal Secondary School, Chandra Mewalal Secondary School and Bheri Technical School on 20 February 2005, Mahendranagar Medical College in Khairbhatti on 10 March 2005, the Dipendra Police Boarding School at Guleriya in Dang district on 2 April 2005, Sun Shine Boarding School in Siddharthnagar in Rupandehi district on 1 May 2005, Deepshikha Boarding School in Dang on 9 June 2005, two private schools in Myagdi – Lokdeep Residential Secondary School at Mangalaghat and New Best Point Higher Secondary School at Kalipur on 16 June 2005, Nobel Academy at New Baneshwore in Kathmandu on 22 June 2005, and M M Academy in Khalanga, the district headquarters of Salyan on 25 June 2005, etc.
On 2 May 2005, alleged Maoists set afire Lakshmi Adarsha Higher Secondary School at Sishuwa, Lekhnath-7 in Kaski district, damaging the library and laboratory sections of the school.
The Maoists, its student wing ANNFSU-R and teacher wing All Nepal National Teachers' Organization imposed “educational strikes” affecting hundreds of thousands of students. The Maoists have totally paralyzed the educational institutions across the country. Thousands of school and college students were deprived of appearing in examinations due to forcible closure of educational institutions or bandhs.
In February 2005, 371 schools remained closed due to an indefinite educational bandh enforced by the Maoists in Bardiya and Chitwan districts. The bandh affected over 100,000 students in Bardiya district and over 70,000 students in Chitwan district.
On 13 May 2005, ANNFSU-R forcibly closed down schools and colleges across the country in protest against “repressive” action of the government to oust the ANNFSU from Ratoghar. Over 25,000 students were affected when over 225 community schools in Ilam district remained shut for days since July 2005 due to warnings from the Maoists. More than 150,000 students had been affected after ANNISU-R forced all educational institutions, including 120 private schools, to close down in Chitwan district from 21 August 2005. Some 5,000 students were also affected due to closure of all the private and government schools in Udayapur district for days since 11 August 2005.
In October 2005, over 50 out of 190 community-run schools were shut down following threats from ANNISU-R in Morang district. Over 25,000 students were reportedly affected.
In November 2005, the Maoist cadres forcefully shut down schools in Banepa in Kavre district, 60 km east of Kathmandu, depriving over 10,000 students their right to schooling. Around 25,000 pupils in 20 government schools in Dharan have been affected by forcible closure of government schools in Dharan by the ANNISU-R since 13 November 2005.
In Pyuthan district, ANNISU-R activists seized examination question papers for the Naitik (Moral Education) subject for grades six, seven and eight at Bagdula, ahead of the examination scheduled to start from 15 November 2005. ANNISU-R maintained that the moral education subject was “nothing but mere glorification of the royal family”.
On 6 December 2005, ANNISU-R locked out Harihar Higher Secondary School in Pokharathok VDC in Arghakhanchi.
On 7 December 2005, the Maoists cadres reportedly locked a community school, Bhadaure Primary School, at Kathjor VDC-2 in the same district in protest against the transfer of the management of the school to the community. At least 300 students, who were preparing for second terminal examination, were affected due to the lockout.
The Maoist affiliated All Nepal National Teachers' Organization (ANNTO) called a closure of schools at Ramechhap district from 11 December 2005 to 15 December 2005 putting forth various demands. Around 50,000 students of 400 schools have been directly affected by the closure. The District Examination Committee postponed the quarterly examinations till 15 December 2005 due to the closure.
On 11 December 2005, Maoists forcefully locked a higher secondary school in Bhaluwai area in Sindhuli district.
As of 16 December 2005, some 150 children had been deprived of primary education after Maoists padlocked six child development centers (CDC) for the last three months in the rural areas of Rupendehi district. Gyankunj, Budhajyoti, Udaya, Jhutthur, Dishanirdesh and Santideep CDCs from Amawa, Manmatoriya and Khadgavan VDCs of the district have been padlocked by the cadres.
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. No work in 19 courts triggers judicial rethink, The Himalayan Times, 2 January 2004
. SC judges fail to inspect courts, The Himalayan Times, 7 January 2004
. CJ defends rejection of legal remedy, The Kathmandu Post, 23 February 2005
. SC special stricture to govt to follow orders, The Himalayan Times, 2005
. Govt apathy forces SC to issue reminders, The Kathmandu Post, 13 June 2005
. Defiance of SC for nth time, to nth degree, The Himalayan Times, 5 November 2005
. RNA PEACEKEEPING MISSIONS CASE: Ministry admits to agreement with UN, The Himalayan Times, 26 November 2005
. No pact signed on peacekeeping: MoFA, The Kathmandu Post, 23 November 2005
. Former minister Gupta rearrested, Nepal News.com, 27 April 2005
. Thapa, Gupta re-arrested defying court order, Nepal News.com, 6 May 2005
. Fear of arrest keeps JP from his house, The Kathmandu Post, 31 May 2005
. SC defied again, Gagan re-arrested, The Kathmandu Post, 6 May 2005
. SC orders to release Thapa again, Kantipur Online, 25 May 2005
. Govt releases Gagan Thapa, Kantipur Online, 26 May 2005
. Gagan Thapa arrested, Nepalnews.com, 27 July 2005
. Govt to file sedition case against Gagan, The Kathmandu Post, 13 August 2005
. Gagan Thapa Released, The Himalayan Times, 14 August 2005
. Court frees Rai, police re-arrest, The Himalayan Times, 17 May 2005
. Rajendra Rai freed, Kantipur Online, 21 May 2005
. Ishwor Pokharel re-arrested, Nepal News.com, 27 May 2005
. Freed man re-arrested, The Kathmandu Post, 9 June 2005
. Securitymen try to flout SC order, The Kathmandu Post, 5 July 2005
. Subedi re-arrested; Serchan, Pokhrel released, Kantipur Online, 16 June 2005
. Govt denies Subedi's rearrest, The Himalayan Times, 23 June 2005
. Govt lies to Supreme Court; Subedi found in custody, Kantipur Online, 23 June 2005
. Man freed by court rearrested, The Kathmandu Post, 25 July 2005
. Police defy court orders, re-arrest two, The Kathmandu Post, 5 August 2005
. Army blamed for rearrest, torture, The Kathmandu Post, 17 August 2005
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. ANNISU-R man re-arrested flouting court order, The Kathamndu Post, 21 November 2005
. Police re-arrest man released by court, The Kathmandu Post, 23 November 2005
. 2 youths rearrested flouting court order, The Kathmandu Post, 25 November 2005
. 3 Maoists re-arrested, The Himalayan Times, 28 November 2005
. HURFON seeks whereabouts, The Kathmandu Post, 6 December 2005
. Cops flout SC order, re-arrest ANNISU-R leader, The Himalayan Times, 20 December 2005
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. NHRC member prevented from traveling, The Kathmandu Post, 6 March 2005
. NHRC chairman's tenure extended, Kantipur Online, 28 May 2005
. The Ugly Case: NHRC of Nepal, Asian Centre for Human Rights, 10 August 2005
. SC order has no effect: Krishna KC rearrested, The Himalayan Times, 23 September 2005
. 3 more months of detention for Pahadi, The Kathmandu Post, 12 May 2005
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. Apex court continues stay on NGO code, The Himalayan Times, 27 December 2005
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. Schools reopen in Kathmandu, The Hindustan Times, 7 February 2005
. Govt resumes Indian news channels, Kantipur Online, 12 June 2005
. Govt bans online news service, Nepal News.com, 9 September 2005
. Gyanendra declares new measures to muzzle media, The Indian Express, 11 October 2005
. BBC 103 FM blocked, Nepalnews.com, 6 April 2005
. Government bans Communication Corner, The Kathmandu Post, 28 May 2005
. SC stays CC closure order, The Kathmandu Post, 8 June 2005
. Nepal FM threatened with closure, The Kathmandu Post, 4 August 2005
. SC issues stay order against govt ban on Nepal FM, Kantipur Online, 10 August 2005
. SC extends FM radios' freedom, The Himalayan Times, 8 September 2005
. Nepali police raid pvt radio station, The Daily Star, 23 October 2005
. Govt returns Kantipur FM's radio equipment, Kantipur Online, 21 December 2005
. Govt directs FM radio to stop airing news, Kantipur Online, 23 October 2005
. Govt closes down Radio Sagarmatha, arrests journalists, Kantipur Online, 27 November 2005
. Sagarmatha gets stay till December 7, The Himalayan Times, 30 November 2005
. SC allows FM stations to broadcast news, Nepal News.com, 30 November 2005
. Govt flouts SC stay order on Sagarmatha FM, The Kathmandu Post, 30 November 2005
. Allow BBC Nepali Service on Radio Sagarmatha: SC, Kantipur Online, 7 December 2005
. Government returns equipment of Radio Sagarmatha, Nepal News.com, 14 December 2005
. Journalists flay govt's policy on ads, The Himalayan Times, 13 August 2005
. Govt suspends sanctioned Rs4.5m to FNJ, Kantipur Online, 4 May 2005
. Govt to resume public welfare adverts to newspapers, The Himalayan Times, 17 December 2005
. Riot police detain 58 journalists, Kantipur Online, 9 June 2005
. Four dozen journalists arrested in Kathmandu, Nepal News.com, 13 June 2005
. Journos stage protests, 10 arrested, The Kathmandu Post, 23 June 2005
. Reuters lensman manhandled, The Kathmandu Post, 16 March 2005
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. FNJ flays manhandling of journos, The Kathmandu Post, 21 December 2005
. Police beat up journalists in Kalaiya, Nepal News.com, 9 June 2005
. Journos thrashed mercilessly, The Kathmandu Post, 23 August 2005
. Plainclothes cops incite violence, The Kathmandu Post, 7 September 2005
. NTV's Kohalpur regional station set ablaze, The Himalayan Times, 26 February 2005
. 11 cadres killed, NTV station bombed, The Kathmandu Post, 19 May 2005
. FM station looted in Kailali, Kantipur Online, 20 May 2005
. Editor Shrestha dies, Nepal News.com, 3 April 2005
. Himal Khabarpatrika reporter released, The Nepal News, 12 March 2005
. Journalist freed from Maoist captivity after 56 days, Nepal News.com, 10 July 2005
 . Maoists free Kantipur reporter, another abducted journalist "living on potatoes", Nepal News.com, 11 June 2005
. Maoists free journo after brief detention, Nepal News.com, 23 November 2005
. Maoists force journo to quit his job, Kantipur Online, 29 June 2005
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. Violence against women on rise, The Rising Nepal, 3 December 2005
. Women Protesters Accuse Cops of Sexual Molestation, The Himalayan Times, 22 September 2005
. Securitymen kill innocent civilian: Locals, The Kathmandu Post, 5 July 2005
. 'After killing mother, they hid a gun...', The Kathmandu Post, 7 July 2005
. 'Rama was summarily executed', The Kathmandu Post, 18 July 2005
. Army starts probe into Ghatandubba killing, The Kathmandu Post, 23 July 2005
. Zero tolerance' policy towards sexual abuse of children, women: RNA, Nepal News.com, 2 August 2005
. MoD dismisses HRW remarks, The Kathmandu Post, 2 October 2005
. Maoist rapes woman, Kantipur Online, 9 May 2005
. Only one victimized in Jagatpur: NHRC, The Kathmandu Post, 6 September 2005
. Maoists behead woman, kill handicapped man, The Kathmandu Post, 24 July 2005
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. Mandals thrash 40 dalit families, The Kathmandu Post, 4 January 2005
. SC orders govt to make law against untouchability, The Himalayan Times, 22 April 2005
. Dalit thrashed for using public tap, The Kathmandu Post, 27 June 2005
. Blockade imposed on Dalit village, The Kathmandu Post, 17 October 2005
. Forest becomes untouchable for dalits, The Kathmandu Post, 7 March 2005
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. Maoists torture children, Kantipur Online, 29 November 2005
. Political detainees demand newspapers, Nepal News.com, 23 May 2005
. Congested prisons, Kantipur Online, 2 May 2005
. Detainees falling sick at Kharipati, Kantipur Online, 11 May 2005
. PFN leader's health worsening, The Kathmandu Post, 28 April 2005
. Ailing Poudel being kept in company's godown, The Himalayan Times, 14 May 2005
. NC condemns Rajbiraj jail incident, Kantipur Online, 7 May 2005
. ICRC suspends visit to RNA barracks, Nepal news.com, 1 June 2005
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. Maoist victim succumbs to police beating, Nepal News.com, 5 June 2005
. Police intervene at Maoist victims' sit-in programme, over 200 detained, Nepal News.com, 15 May 2005
. Maoist victims take out rally, The Kathmandu Post, 27 May 2005
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. Maoist mine claims 41 lives, The Kathmandu Post, 7 June 2005
. Suspected Maoists kill Hindu leader in Surkhet, abduct youths in Dhading, The Nepal News, 25 February 2005
. Maoists kill four civilians, The Kathmandu Post, 28 February 2005
. Maoists kill five civilians in Rupandehi, Nepal News.com, 25 April 2005
. Maoists kill 10 civilians, The Himalayan Times, 17 April 2005
. NHRC team leaves for Nawalparasi to probe Maoist attack, The Himalayan Times, 19 April 2005
. Govt to compensate families of Nawalparasi killings, Kantipur Online, 6 May 2005
. Maoists kill elderly man in Banke, army man kills cop, Nepalnews.com, 24 July 2005
. Maoists behead woman, kill handicapped man, The Kathmandu Post, 24 July 2005
. Maoists kill DSO, injure RNA Major, The Kathmandu Post, 31 March 2005
. Maoists kill business leader in Sindhuli, Nepal News.com, 2 April 2005
. Maoists shoot dead acting chief district officer, Kantipur Online, 12 April 2005
. Cadres kill another govt appointee, The Kathmandu Post, 10 May 2005
. Maoists kill DMC coordinator, The Kathmandu Post, 25 August 2005
. Three killed, five injured, The Kathmandu Post, 10 March 2005
. Three minors killed in Janakpur, Nepal News.com, 27 March 2005
. Minor dies in bomb explosion, Nepal News.com, 10 April 2005
. Insurgency claims 2 kids, The Kathmandu Post, 23 May 2005
. Stray bomb kills a child, injures two, The Kathmandu Post, 5 June 2005
. 2 girls killed in stray bomb blast, The Kathmandu Post, 14 June 2005
. Indian girl killed in bomb blast, Kantipur Online, 25 June 2005
. Bomb explosion kills 2 kids, Kantipur Online, 12 July 2005
. Child killed, another injured in explosion, Kantipur Online, 3 August 2005
. Bomb kills two civilians, The Kathmandu Post, 26 August 2005
. 25 civilians under Maoist house arrest, The Kathmandu Post, 2 July 2005
. Maoists release 25 civilians in Dailekh, Kantipur Online, 5 July 2005
. Maoists break legs of 2 civilians, The Kathmandu Post, 3 July 2005
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. Arun Chand Released, Kantipur Online, 8 November 2005
. Maoists harass journos, seize cameras, Kantipur Online, 1 December 2005
. Maoists release Dahal, The Kathmandu Post, 3 December 2005
. Indian driver killed by Nepal's Maoists, The Times, 22 February 2005
. 13 vehicles torched on Prithvi Highway, The Kathmandu Post, 20 February 2005
. Maoist bomb an ambulance, The Nepal News, 23 February 2005
. Acute food shortage in Mid-west, The Kathmandu Post, 25 February 2005
. Maoists bomb NEA sub-station; two killed, four districts without power, The Nepal News, 22 February 2005
. 5 vehicles destroyed, The Kathmandu Post, 28 February 2005
. Maoists attack Sandhikharka, The Kathmandu Post, 5 March 2005
. Explosions at Nepal Telecom and other offices, Nepal News.com, 17 March 2005
. Nine Maoists killed, The Kathmandu Post, 23 March 2005
. Maoist bomb power supply system in Dhangadi, Kantipur Online, 4 June 2005
. Maoists bomb Jyoti Spinning Mills, The Kathmandu Post, 19 August 2005
. Cadres destroy six schools, SLC students affected, The Kathmandu Post, 20 February 2005
. Cadres destroy six schools, SLC students affected, The Kathmandu Post, 20 February 2005
. Bomb exploded at Mahendranagar Medical College, The Kantipur Online, 11 March 2005
. Four people freed, head master abducted, Nepal News.com, 4 April 2005
. Maoists bomb school in Siddarthnagar, Nepal News.com, 1 May 2005
. Maoists bomb school in Dang, Kantipur Online, 11 June 2005
. Maoists bomb two schools, The Kathmandu Post, 18 June 2005
. Minor blast at a school in Kathmandu, Kantipur Online, 22 June 2005
. Maoists bomb school- Abduct 90 students, 250 villagers, The Kathmandu Post, 27 June 2005
. Arsonists destroy school building, The Kathmandu Post, 4 May 2005
. Maoists shut schools in Bardiya, Chitwan; abduct students in Nuwakot, The Nepal News, 26 February 2005
. Schools, colleges shut nationwide, The Kathmandu Post, 14 May 2005
. Ilam community schools closed after Maoist threat, Nepal News.com, 9 August 2005
. ANNISU-R shuts schools, colleges in Chitwan, Kantipur Online, 22 August 2005
. ANNISU-R closes down schools in Udayapur, The Kathmandu Post, 13 August 2005
. ANNISU-R close over 50 schools, The Kathmandu Post, 2 October 2005
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. ANNISU-R slams shut Dharan govt schools, The Himalayan Times, 15 November 2005
. Maoists seize question papers, The Kathmandu Post, 15 November 2005
. Maoists lock school, The Kathmandu Post, 9 December 2005
. Maoists Lock Farmer's House, School, The Himalayan Times, 9 December 2005
. Maoist Threat Closes Ramechhap Schools, The Himalayan Times, 11 December 2005
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