1 March 2005, King Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
Dev completed one month of the coup détat. In
his first comments to the Nepalese media on 24 February
2005 since 1 February 2005, King Gyanendra shrugged off
the suspension of military aid by India and Britain and
reiterated his demand for three years to restore democracy. Finance Minister Madhukar
Shumsher Rana claimed that the government has adequate
internal resources to finance military deployment. King Gyanendra and the Royal Nepal Army (RNA) made it amply clear to the
international community to choose between the Maoists
and the King.
While the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
called off the indefinite blockade imposed on highways
across the country on 26 February 2005, international community is
faced with defiance by King Gyanendra. The coup in Nepal must not be perceived as a simple case of an old
fashioned monarch's grab for more power. Only at the age
of four, Prince Gyanendra was declared as the King by
Prime Minister Shamsher Rana in 1950 after Gyanendra 's
father King Tribhuvan fled to India with late Bir Bikram
Shah Dev. As a prince, Gyanendra was infamous for meddling
in political affairs and even allegedly supported the
Maoists in the beginning to discredit the democratic forces.
The psychological aspect for certain amount of irrationality
in the decision making by King Gyanendra cannot be overlooked.
The conditions and deadlines often set by King Gyanendra
should be noted.
Truth has become a casualty in Nepal. And as this
4th Briefing Paper covering the events from 24 February
to 2 March 2004 shows, human rights catastrophe is gradually
unfolding. With press freedom gagged and virtually all
human rights activists and political activists being detained
in Kathmandu valley, Nepal presently witnesses enforced
normality if the lack of any major political protest is
any yardstick. Yet, the telecast of civilians flogging
the dead bodies of the Maoists in presence of the RNA
personnel in Kapilavastu district in late February 2005
adds credence to the allegations that the reported lynching
of the Maoists by the public was pre-planned. Otherwise,
given the censorship and Maoist blockade, how could the
TV cameras managed to reach the spot?
The choice must not be between two anarchist forces
- the Maoists and King Gyanendra. International community
must ensure that the anarchists – both King Gyanendra
and his storm troopers and the Maoists –find a solution
with the democratic forces.
The decision of the World Bank to suspend its US$
70 million budgetary support for the current fiscal year
under the Poverty Reduction Strategy Credit (PRSC)-II,
albeit for financial reasons - extremely slow implementation
of agreed reform measures - is welcome. The government
had failed to honour three of the four conditions agreed
upon during the PRSC-I negotiations - strong action against
the willful defaulters, expediting governance reforms,
and enacting flexible labour laws. Under the present circumstances,
the government of Nepal cannot implement any of the reform
programmes. It is essential that other financial
institutions such as IMF and the Asian Development Bank,
United Nations agencies and bilateral donors suspend all
humanitarian and development aid until the King restores
democracy. The government of Nepal simply does not have
the capacity to deliver aid or undertake any development
activity. The potentiality for the mis-use of development
and humanitarian aid to prolong the suffering of the people
of Nepal must not be overlooked.
The United States, European Union including the United
Kingdom, India and others must address the human rights
catastrophe in Nepal. These countries must sponsor a motion
at the forthcoming 61st session of the United
Nations Commission on Human Rights to hold a Special Sitting
on the situation of human rights in Nepal.
The defiance by King Gyanendra must be addressed effectively
for the sake of bringing an end to the sufferings of the
people of Nepal.
The Royal Nepal Army continues to claim heavy casualties
on the side of the Maoists. On the night of 28 February
2005, at least 70 Maoist rebels and 4 security forces
personnel were reportedly killed in a violent gun battle
between the Maoists and the security forces in Ganeshpur
village on the Gulariya-Nepalgunj road section of Bardiya
district.It is impossible to verify
the claims. In the past, many such claims were either
found to be massacre of civilians or untrue.
Hundreds of villagers reportedly
attacked several houses of suspected Maoist sympathisers
and set afire 20 such houses in Singhokhor, Parsohia and
Labani VDCs in Kapilavastu district on 23 February 2005.
The villagers also beat a Maoist cadre to death in Lalbani.
In the last fortnight, villagers reportedly lynched 22
Maoist cadres in retaliation to attacks on them. On 23 February 2005, the villagers had burnt
some 300 sheds in Shibapur VDC.
The telecast of civilians flogging the dead bodies
of the Maoists in presence of the RNA personnel in Kapilavastu
district in late February 2005 adds credence to the allegations
that the reported lynching of the Maoists by the public
was pre-planned. Otherwise, given the censorship and Maoist
blockade, how could the TV cameras manage to reach the
Maoists alleged that a group of 500 RNA personnel led
police, criminals and vigilantes from India went to Sishihawa
and Ganeshpur and dragged out more than 15 civilians from
their houses. They were ruthlessly tortured and killed
in the base camp of Armed Police in Krishnanagar. Bishnu
Panthi, district convener of All Nepal Trade Union and
Yam Bahadur Dala Magar and Jhilkan Yadhav were killed
in Krishnanagar base camp on 17 February 2005. Shivaram
Gupta, Ram Charitra Pakhi, Abadhram Keber, Shiwa Kahar
of Sishihawa Village, Sunder Mourch, Baburam Upadhya,
Rajwali Mourch of Ganeshpur village, Sobhai Pasi, Bahu
Pasi, Gobere Pasi, Bekaru Pasi of Bhagawanpur were also
tortured to death on the same day.
On 24 February 2005, one Surendra Shrestha, a mentally
challenged civilian, was killed at Ratdada area of Baglung
municipality-4. Chief District Officer Prem Narayan Sharma
after verifying the incident said the security forces
shot dead the victim suspecting him as a Maoist as he
had tried to flee after seeing the security patrol. Shrestha
is survived by his wife, a son and two daughters.
On 25 February 2005, three civilians were reportedly
injured in an alleged crossfire between the Maoist rebels
and security forces at Badaipur area of Kailali district.
The injured were airlifted to Nepalgunj for medical treatment.
On the morning of 25 February 2005, at least four
security personnel and about a dozen Maoists were reportedly
killed during an encounter in Badepur area of Masuriya
village in Kailali district. The RNA sources also claimed
that scores of rebels were killed in another fighting
in Pathariya area.
On 27 February 2005, Dhan
Bahadur Oli alias Bijaya, an alleged Maoist was killed
during security operations at Nisti of Gulmi district.
Though the government of
Neopal has released nine political leaders on 25 February
2005, the ban on political activities continues unabated.
Telephone lines of about two dozens leaders still
remain cut off, including those of Nepali Congress President
Girija Prasad Koirala, CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav
Kumar Nepal, People’s Front Nepal leader Amik Sherchan,
Nepal Workers and Peasants Party Chairman Narayan Man
Bijukchhe, Youth leaders Binod Kayastha, Gokarna Bista
and Gagan Thapa, Kathmandu NC leaders Tirtha Ram Dangol,
Bhimsen Das Pradhan, Bhaktapur NC leader Lekhanath Neupane,
WPP leader Prem Suwal, PFN leaders Lila Mani Pokharel
and Ghanashyam Poudel. Hundreds of political activists
remain under house arrest or in prisons under the Public
On 1 March 2005, US Ambassador to Nepal,
James F Moriarty was prevented on from meeting Nepali
Congress President Girija Prasad Koirala, who is under
house arrest. This was the second time that Ambassador
Moriarty had been denied access to Koirala since 1 February
On 1 March 2005, security forces arrested
31 CPN-UML activists who were demanding the restoration
of democracy in different parts of Pokhara city. Police
however said only 29 workers were arrested. On the same
day, three workers of the CPN-UML were also arrested in
On 27 February 2005, police arrested 17 cadres of
the Nepali Congress across the country, as they staged
protest demonstrations demanding the restoration of peace
and democracy. Sirjana Adhikari, a central member of Nepali
Students’ Union, and Medini Sitaula, a former NSU vice-president,
were arrested from Kathmandu. While eight NC activists
were arrested in Parsa district, NC District President
Raghu Paudel and Purushutam Kafle were detained in Tanahun
district.Five NC activists were arrested in Dhangadi
while taking out a protest rally.The detainees include NC district
chief Chandra Singh Bhattarai.
On 23 February 2005, an elderly leader of NC, Bhaktapur
Tilak Prasad Kayastha, was arrested.
On 25 February 2005, nine
detainees including former ministers Homnath Dahal of
the Nepali Congress (Democratic), Astha Laxmi Shakya of
the CPN-UML, Prof Lokraj Baral, UML leader Pradip Nepal,
General Secretary of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists
Bishnu Nisthuri, former president of University Teachers’
Association Khagendra Bhattarai, former lawmaker from
the Nepali Congress, Shiva Basnet, NC leader Nona Koirala,
and CPN-ML general secretary C P Mainali were released.
Although Gauri Pradhan of Child Workers in Nepal Concern
Centre (CWIN) was released on 28 February 2005 following
a Supreme Court order, most human rights defenders and
political activists remain under detention in Kathmandu
valley. They are not permitted to move out of the valley.
The government is also reportedly planning to regulate
the activities of human rights organisations and the International
Committee of the Red Cross.
After the release, some plain-clothes security personnel
followed Gauri Pradhan from the Supreme Court premises
and arrested him at Maitighar. They dragged him out of
his car and whisked him off to Singhadurbar Ward Police
Office. It was not clear whether he has been threatened
with dire consequences. He was later released.
On 26 February 2005, human rights defender Subodh
Raj Pyakurel, Chairperson of Informal Sector Service Center
(INSEC) was prevented from traveling to Nepalgunj where
he was supposed to conduct a training workshop on humanitarian
laws for security persons located in the Mid-Western Development
Region. This is despite the fact that it was the security
forces who requested to hold the training workshop.
On 24 February 2005, security
officials at the immigration department in Kathmandu did
not allow Dr Om Gurung, general secretary of the Nepal
Federation of Indigenous Nationalities to fly to Kolkata
from Tribhuvan International Airport. Dr Gurung was scheduled
to participate in regional preparatory meetings of the
4th session of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous
Issues being held in India. Gurung was leading a 25-member
delegation representing about 25 organisations of indigenous
communities in Nepal. All delegates had to cancel
their flights due to the uncalled-for action of the security
On 21 February 2005, former Supreme Court Justice
Laxman Aryal was stopped at the Airport at the eleventh
hour. He was about to fly to Mumbai to attend a regional
conference on women’s rights and anti-trafficking organized
by South Asian Regional Equity Program.
The press freedom continues to remain under complete
On 23 February 2005, the District Administration Office
(DAO) had summoned five editors to explain - as to why
they had left the editorial columns blank in their last
week's editions. Two of them Rajendra Vaidya, chief editor
of Bimarsha, and Kabir Rana, chief editor of Deshantar
were questioned by the DAO. On 24 February 2005, DAO questioned
editors of three vernacular weeklies- Gopal Budathoki,
publisher/editor of Sanghu; Nawaraj Timalsina, editor
of Prakash; and Shashidhar Bhandari, editor of Haank.
The editors were released on the condition that they appear
in person before the DAO whenever required.
On 1 March 2005, the Ministry of Communication and
Information issued fresh directive prohibiting the media
to disseminate any information or publish news related
to security matters without obtaining prior information
from the security sources. The media directive said any
news, interview, information, article and opinion published
or disseminated through media that supports terrorism
and subversive activities would be liable to be punished
under Press and Publication Act-2048 BS and National Broadcasting
Act-2049 BS. Chief District Officer of Kathmandu Bavan
Prasad Neupane asked the editors to comply with the government
directives while covering news on security matters.
28 February 2005, the Supreme Court of Nepal admitted
a petition challenging the rejection of a writ petition
on the exercise of non-suspended rights under Article
88(2) during the state of emergency. An SC bench ordered
its administration to furnish details regarding its decision
to reject a writ petition filed by Chetendra Badhadur
Singh earlier. The SC administration rejected the writ petition stating that SC
cannot entertain such writ petitions on legal rights during
the state of emergency as most fundamental rights, including
right to constitutional remedy, have been suspended. The SC had entertained over 400 writ petitions on
legal remedy during the last emergency in 2001-2002.
The Royal Commission on Corruption Control
(RCCC) is not aimed to address corruption but to silence
all forms of dissent whether by the political leaders
or the judges. The Royal Commission on Corruption Control
has paralysed the existing bodies for investigation into
corruption i.e. the Commission for Investigation of Abuse
of Authority (CIAA) and the Special Court meant to consider
the CIAA’s prosecutions.
The prosecutor under the King’s royal edit
is the judge and jury. The RCCC can even investigate “the
judges of the Supreme Court and office bearers of all
constitutional bodies”. The RCCC may proceed with prosecution
against such individuals as long as it has informed the
King. For a Supreme Court already submissive and intimidated,
the independence of judges has been destroyed.
The royal edit on the RCCC forbids any criticism
of the commission and provides for punishment for such
criticims. It also prohibits anyone from protesting an
investigation being conducted by the commission and provides
for punishment for such protest. While there is a provision
for appeal to the Supreme Court within 35 days of a decision
by the commission, with the Supreme Court judges coming
under the purview of the Royal Commission on Corruption,
there is no forum to seek justice.
A look at the members of the Commission is
self-explanatory. It is chaired by Bhakta Bahadur Koirala
who was the Secretary of Home Affairs during the repression
of the People’s Movement of 1990. He was found to be the
most culpable by the Mallik Commission that inquired into
human rights violations during pro-democracy movement
of 1990s. Other members are Raghu Chandra Bahadur Singh,
a retired army general, pilot and royal relative; Hari
Babu Chaudhary, former head of the Department of Intelligence;
Sambhu Prasad Khanal, a retired official from the Revenue
Service; and Prem Bahadur Khati, whose antecedents are
unclear. The only person with judicial experience in the
commission is Sambhu Bahadur Khadka, who has been appointed
secretary. He is a relatively junior in the judicial service
and currently a sitting judge of the Kaski District Court.
The royal edit on the RCCC has effectively
empowered a district judge to prosecute the Supreme Court
judges for alleged corruption.
The decision of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)
to call off the indefinite blockade imposed on highways
across the country on 26 February 2005 has brought much
needed relief across the country. However, the Maoists
warned of similar strikes next month if the “situation
doesn’t improve in the country”.
The drivers and vehicle
owners are caught between the devil and deep blue sea.
The Maoists sought to violently impose the blockade as
stated in our previous Briefing Papers. On the morning
of 27 February 2005, Maoist insurgents torched some vehicles
plying along the Mahendra Highway near the 3 No Pool of
Bara district. Most of the vehicles were reportedly carrying
the incident, the Maoist insurgents ambushed a vehicle
of the Royal Nepalese Army heading to the
incident site. A few security personnel were reportedly
seriously injured. On
the same day, on 27 February 2005, Maoists torched five
vehicles on the Hetauda-Patlaiya section of Mahendra Highway.
Among the vehicles destroyed were trucks with huge loads
of food grains heading to Hetauda from Birgunj.
If the violence by the Maoist
was not enough, the government of Nepal has adopted equally
draconian measures. Following the Maoists blockade, the
Department of Transportation Management recently decided
to nullify the registration of public vehicles that do
not ply on the highways they have acquired permit order
for. In case of non-compliance to ply the specified
highways, even the license of the driver of such vehicle
could be cancelled. The new rules have been enforced
throughout the country.
The people in the remote hill districts of the mid-western
region suffered from acute food shortage as the authorities
have failed to supply the required quota of food grains
to these districts. Though it’s been quite sometime since the rice
stocks in the food godowns of Jumla, Humla, Kalikot, Dolpa
and Mugu districts have been exhausted, the authorities
are yet to supply the allotted quotas to these districts.
Residents of far away villages, who have been coming to
the district headquarters in the hope of acquiring food
grains, have to return home empty handed. One Lokmani
Acharya of Pina Village Development Committee (VDC) in
Mugu district told the press that he did not have a single
grain of food left in his house and had come to collect
rice but was asked to come back only after the helicopter
brought in the supply. Out of the 5,900 quintals of rice
allotted by the government to the Mugu district for the
current fiscal year, only 2,400 quintals have actually
reached so far.
There were reports of severe
shortage of essentials commodities such as kerosene, gas
and salt in three hill districts of the eastern region
— Ilam, Panchthar and Terhathum. Annual exams in the schools
have been postponed. More than 50,000 students are stranded.
The Maoists also imposed
an indefinite educational bandh in Bardiya and Chitwan
A total of 371 schools have been closed in Bardiya district
following the Maoist threats. The Maoists have reportedly
instructed the teachers and students to boycott classes
until further notice. The
Maoists’ diktat comes a month before the School Leaving
Certificate examinations and over 100,000 students in
Bardiya district have been affected. In Chitwan district, over
70,000 students belonging to 240 schools (private and
public) have been affected by the Maoists’ educational
bandh. The Maoists reportedly abducted over 200 students
and teachers from Bhumadevi Secondary School at Deurali
VDC in Nuwakot district.
The routine vaccination programmes
haves also been badly affected in the eastern hilly and
Himali districts after the drugs supply was cut off following
the disruption of transportation services. Medicine could
not be delivered to the hill districts of Terhathum, Khotang,
Taplejung, Okhaldhunga, Dhankuta, Sankhuwasabha, Bhojpur,
Ilam, Phidim and Solukhumbu. The stock of vaccines against
polio, BCG, DPT, measles and hepatitis B has come near
to an end, thereby affecting the regular vaccination programmes,
which are conducted in the first and last week of every
Maoists continue to be responsible for gross violations
of international humanitarian laws.
On 23 February 2005, two civilians were injured when
a bomb planted by the Maoists on the Lamahi-Bhaluwang
section of the Mahendra Highway went off. They have been
identified as Shiba Shankar Chaudhari, 12, and Santu Chaudhari,
25, of Chaulahi VDC-6.
According to Shiba Shankar, the explosion took place
when he stepped on the bomb unknowingly. The injured are
undergoing treatment at Mahendra Hospital in Ghorahi,
the district headquarters.
On the morning of 24 February
2005, suspected Maoist insurgents shot dead central member
of the World Hindu Youth Federation, Chandra Prakash Rathaur
his residence in Bulbule gate of Birendranagar municipality
in Surkhet district. He died on the way to hospital.
On the night of 25 February 2005, a civilian identified
as Ghar Baran Teli was shot dead in Labani VDC in Kapilvastu
district. On the night of 26 February 2005, the Maoists
reportedly killed Bedullah Jolha, Maksoor Alam and Mohammed
Hakik in Jahari village development committee (VDC) in
the same district. The deceased were allegedly involved
in retaliatory action against Maoists.
On the night of 26 February
2005, Maoist insurgents reportedly killed three brothers
of a family at Masina VDC in Rupandehi district on charge
of being members of a resistance committee against them.
On 27 February 2005, Deputy
Superintendent of Police, Bikram Chand, and his body guard,
police constable Dilli Raj Panthi were shot dead by Maoists
Although on 27 February 2005, the Maoists reportedly
freed more than 250 students and teachers of Thumdevi
Secondary School of Deurali VDC, who were abducted on
24 February 2005, there have been regular reports
of abductions of innocent civilians including students.
On the night of 21 February
2005, suspected Maoist insurgents allegedly abducted three
youth identified as Gautam Ghale, Dhana Bahadur Pariyaar
and Rudal from their houses in Dhading district. The youths
were preparing to go to bed before being abducted. Their
whereabouts is not known.
On 26 February 2005, Maoists abducted Raju Panta and
Uddhav Panta of Belkot -3 in Nuwakot district for alleged
On the night of 24 February
2005, Maoists attacked and set ablaze the state run Nepal
Television’s regional programme production and broadcasting
centre in Kohalpur in Banke district, inflicting damage
to the tune of crores of rupees.After cutting the telephone
line, they kept on carrying off machines from the centre
for about two hours. Those they did not want to take or
could not take away including the studio, control room,
storeroom, administration wing and the accounts section
were torched. All furniture, machines and electronic equipment
were destroyed in the fire.
On the evening of 26 February 2005, Maoists damaged
two government office buildings used by the Department
of Survey and Revenue Office in Hetauda by exploding bombs.
The Ministry of Home Affairs
of the government of India has reportedly prepared a plan
for approval by the Cabinet to virtually seal the IndoNepal
border by almost doubling the strength of the Sashastra
Seema Bal (SSB) which keeps a vigil along Indo-Nepal border.
The Home Ministry proposes to raise an additional 20 battalions
of the SSB, in addition to the existing 25 battalions.
Each battalion has 1,000 personnel.
On 21 February 2005, an alternate
central committee member of the CPN (Maoist) identified
as Kali Bahadur Malla was arrested in Siliguri in West
Bengal. A mobile phone set, cash of Indian Rupees 60,000
and Maoist documents were recovered form him.
On 22 February 2005, at
least seven Maoists including two regional level leaders
were taken into custody in Patna, Bihar (India). They
included regional level leaders -Rajendra Karki alias
Jatin and Durga Prasad Dhungel alias Dipak, Karki’s wife
Indira, Gajendra Jiaswal of Bara, Arjun Yadav of Mahotattari,
Lal Bahadur Lama of Kavrepalanchowk and Rupesh Singh.
A mobile phone set, IRS. 67,000, some AK 47 bullets, a
satellite phone, two mobile phones, two computers, and
800 kg of Maoist documents and uniforms were recovered
On 26 February 2005, the
SSB personnel intercepted a jeep bringing four persons
into India, one of whom had a bullet injury. Interrogations
revealed that he was allegedly a company commander of
the armed wing of the Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist)
and he sustained injury while carrying out operations
against RNA and security forces.
the night of 28 February 200, two
Maoists identified as Bhaubi Lal alias Roshan of Surkhet
district and Kishan Bahadur Rukai of Julmla district in
Nepal were arrested by the SSB near Indo-Nepal border out-post
at Laukahi in Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh. The arrested Maoists
were trying to flee Nepal. One AK-47, two SLRs and one
.303 rifle along with two magazines and 44 rounds of ammunitions
have been reportedly recovered from them.
Indian security forces reportedly handed over Prem
Bahadur Khatri of Fulbara in Dang, one of the two Maoists
arrested by Indian Police from Sisiya area to Nepal. According
to India's Baharaich district police, Khatri was arrested
along with another Maoist cadre. They possessed automatic