PUCL Bulletin, Sept., 2002

Press Release
Democracy, not monarchy is the need of Nepalese people

Also read, Arrest of Nepalese activists in New Delhi condemned


Unless the constitutional Monarchy is abolished in Nepal, the State will keep on gunning down the journalists, writers and poets branding them sometimes as Maoists, sometimes as anti-establishment, sometimes as terrorists and sometimes as communists, said eminent journalist and literature Kamleshwar.
Shri Kamleshwar was speaking in the meeting of the India-Nepal People's Solidarity Forum convened to condemn the alleged killing of the senior Nepalese journalist and poet Krishna Sen by the Nepalese government and to protest against the reign of terror unleashed by the Nepalese government against the people in general and journalists, in particular.

The meeting was attended by the leading journalists, poets and cultural activists of India.

Shri Kamleshwar said that the Monarchy in Nepal embodies the instinct of violence is born out by the fact that the King of Nepal, during his Indian visit ordered the slaughtering of animals at temples while back in his country he has been indulging in the slaughter of innocent human beings. He said that if this violent streak spreading throughout South East Asia is not checked in time, the days are not far off when the Indian journalists will meet the same fate.

In Nepal there is a declared emergency but in India a sort of undeclared emergency exists and when the twin combine, there emerges a deadly situation, said Kamleshwar. He further said that whatever is happening in Nepal today has already happened in India and whatever is happening in Nepal shall be happening in India in near future. Shri Kamleshwar said that very few information of whatever is happening in Nepal are reaching us but they are sufficient to reveal the frightful situation prevailing there. The people of Nepal want to change this situation and the Indian masses have always been with those seeking a change, said Kamleshwar.

Earlier speaking on behalf of the Coordination Committee of the Forum, the senior journalist Shri Anand Swaroop Verma told about the atrocities being committed on journalists, writers, poets, intellectuals and cultural activists in Nepal by the Monarchy. He said that since the promulgation of the state of emergency, more than 100 journalists have been arrested and the whereabouts of 30 journalists is still unknown. He also said that the poet-journalist Krishna Sen has been killed in the police custody, though it has not yet been declared officially. BBC and 'Reporters without Frontiers' organisation have confirmed his killing but the Nepalese government is reluctant to admit it. Shri Verma further said that in the name of combating the Maoist rebellion, attempts are being made by the King to re-install Monarchy in Nepal and in his endeavour, the King is being assisted by US, Britain, Israel and India.

Speaking on the occasion, Nepalese journalist P. Chhetri told about the dreadful incidents of atrocities being committed by the Nepalese armed forces on innocent men, women and children. He said that there has been a systematic suppression of those journalists and cultural activists who have been speaking against the King and his army. Those who have never seen a gun in their lives or have never smelled gun-powder are, today, being labelled Maoists and being subjected to atrocities in police custody or unknown army camps.

Hindi poet Pankaj Singh said that non-confirmation of Krishna Sen's killing by the Nepalese government amounts to the lack of moral courage on its part. Describing King Gyanendra as a pawn in the game of US imperialism, Shri Pankaj Singh said that the protagonists of imperialism find it difficult to face a democratic set up, hence the US is fully supporting the Monarchy in suppressing the Nepalese people struggling to establish democracy in Nepal.
Calling developments in Nepal as an eye-opener for the entire South Asia, the eminent journalist Kuldip Nayyar said that journalists are being hounded out not only in Nepal but are facing the same fate in Bangladesh also and gradually this trend will be witnessed in India as well.

He suggested the need for united efforts towards granting an identity to the whole of South Asia irrespective of the differences in religion, cast or language. Mr. Nayyar also stressed on the need to evolve a system whereby the exchange of information could be attained among the people of different countries situated in South and South East Asian region.

Calling the struggle of the Nepalese people as the struggle for their independence, the Editor of "Hans" magazine Shri Rajendra Yadav said that atrocities being committed on the journalists of Nepal is reminiscent of the days of emergency in India.

Resolution Passed in the Meeting of the Forum held on 4th July 2002
We, the writers, journalists, cultural activists and the people from different walks of life in India are upset with the news of the killing of Krishna Sen, a senior and leading journalist, poet and the Editor-in-Chief of the weekly 'Janadesh' of Nepal. We thoroughly condemn this cowardice act of the Nepalese government. Mr. Krishna Sen was arrested last month. As per the reports appearing in media and the reports submitted by various national and international organizations, Mr. Sen was subjected to severe torture in the custody. Such was the intensity of the torture that he died in the custody itself. However, the Nepalese government has, till now, neither confirmed his death nor has denied the reports about his killing. We demand Nepalese government to immediately clarify the situation.

Since the proclamation of a state of Emergency in Nepal, more than hundred journalists are languishing in jails. Some of them have even been reported 'missing'. This is a matter of great concern for all of us. We are even more concerned with the way the freedom of statement is being throttled in the name of suppressing the Maoist rebellion in Nepal. The arrested Nepalese journalists were given strict instructions not to publish news regarding the violation of human rights by the armed forces in Nepal. The Pratinidhi Sabha (Lower House) in Nepal has been dissolved, people's freedom has been taken away, and the Nepalese police and armed forces have been given unlimited powers and the democratic system, acquired through the historical struggle of 1990, has been nullified.

We appeal to the Indian journalists to pay attention to the plight of Nepalese journalists working under the most trying conditions. We also appeal them to raise their voices against the arbitrary and despotic acts of Nepalese government in detaining without trial the Nepalese journalists, harassing them and declaring them 'untraceable' after their abduction by the police itself.
We demand the Nepalese government to immediately revoke the emergency and stop the violation of human rights in Nepal.

We also appeal to the government of Nepal to restart the dialogue with the Maoists so that a lasting peace can be achieved in the area, thereby frustrating the designs of the foreign powers to meddle in.

We also appeal to the government of India to stop supply of armaments to the despotic Monarchy of Nepal since the arms are being misused against the innocent Nepali citizens.

We also oppose all types of army interventions in Nepal. It is our firm belief that only the people of Nepal have the legitimate right to decide as to which form of government they desire.

We appeal to the government of India to immediately lift the ban imposed under POTA on "Akhil Bharat Nepali Ekta Samaj", essentially a social organization working for the welfare of the Nepali people residing in India.

-- Anand Swaroop Verma; Gautam Navlakha; Anoop Saraya; Pankaj Singh; Anil Chamadia; N.K. Bhattacharya


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