Thursday, April 13, 2006
NEWS FROM NEPAL
Following are a bunch of articles I picked up today on the on going people's struggle in Nepal.
The first two articles are from Nepalnews. The next three are from Kantipur Report. Following those is an article from the Himalayan Times.
Police open fire at the lawyers’ rally, dozens arrested
In what is seen as yet another evidence of ‘zero tolerance’ policy of the royal regime towards anti-government protests, police on Thursday opened fire at a peaceful rally being carried out by the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) in the capital, Kathmandu, Thursday morning without provocation.
Lawyers Ramchandra Simkhada, Bharat Mani Gautam, Tanka Chaulagain have received rubber bullet injuries while over a dozen lawyers, including NBA president Shambhu Thapa, were injured in police baton charging.
Police have manhandled and arrested over 50 lawyers from the rally.
According to a Nepalnews correspondent who was on the scene, police first tried to stop the rally of nearly 400 lawyers-- who were donning black coats-- as it was coming out of the central office of the Nepal Bar Association at 9:20 a. m.. Seven police vans were parked outside the NBA to stop the demonstration. The lawyers, anyhow, managed to break through the police cordon and proceeded towards Babarmahal past Maitighar Mandala.
Police pursued the rally—that was heading towards New Baeswore, which doesn’t fall in the ‘prohibited zone—and opened fire all of a sudden from the backside of the rally. Police personnel then threw tear gas shells targeting NBA president Thapa, advocate Indra Lohani and other lawyers.
“All the journalists and lawyers are Maoists,” a police officer was heard as saying as enraged policemen were raining batons on the peaceful demonstrators. There was no warning and nobody knew why the police was using force.
NBA and rights groups have condemned the police action on a peaceful demonstration with strongest possible words.
NBA—that represents over 5,000 practicing lawyers -- was the first professional body in the country that termed the seizure of power by King Gyanendra as ‘unconstitutional’ and demanded resignation of the royal government.
NBA has been in the forefront of a civic movement calling for respect to human rights and rule of law in the country.
Inujured lawyers including Thapa are undergoing treatment at the Kathmandu Model hospital while other detained lawyers are being kept at the Covered Hall, Dasarath Stadium, Tripureswore.
Police arrest over 200 development workers
Police on Thursday intervened in a peaceful sit-in programme being organised by Kathmandu-based development agencies and took into custody over 200 of them.
Police intervened in the sit-in programme being organised by the Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN) this afternoon at Maitighar Mandala. Police officers told the demonstrators that all type of rallies and demonstrations were prohibited inside the Ring Road. They first asked them to disperse, when they refused they intervened and drove them away in police vans and mini-trucks.
Over 200 development workers courted arrest silently in a graceful manner. Nobody raised slogans. Placards being carried by the development workers read: We want peace, We want human rights, Start peace negotiations immediately.
Talking to Nepalnews while being escorted by policemen to a van, president of the AIN and country director of the Action Aid Nepal, Dr. Shivesh Chandra Regmi, said it is the gross violation of citizen’s right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression.
“We have got no political agenda. We decided to express our concerns since development works have been affected badly due to the prolonged conflict,” he added.
Sixty member organisations of the AIN pump in nearly Rs eight billion every year to implement development works, provide humanitarian assistance and empower dalit, women and ethnic communities even in the remote areas where there is no presence of the government.
Peaceful rallies taken out across Nepal
KATHMANDU, April 13 - The eighth day of the seven-party alliance (SPA) called nation wide general strike saw peaceful demonstrations staged throughout the country today.
Pro-democracy demonstrations launched by the agitating SPA have been gaining momentum with large public participation across the country.
Expressing solidarity with the ongoing pro-democracy movement, various sectors including civil servants, lawyers, artists, teachers, doctors, business entrepreneurs, and disabled persons, among others, have joined the SPA’s mass movement.
As the authorities continued to arrest demonstrators today, security personnel opened fire at protesters in Kathmandu and Itahari.
Tens of thousands of people took to the streets defying curfew orders in Chitwan today.
The SPA has said that the movement would not stop unless “autocratic monarchy” is brought to an end and complete democracy is restored in the country.
A meeting of the Mass Movement Central Coordination Committee of the SPA held in the capital today called on national and international organizations to begin a search for those who went missing during the SPA demonstrations.
Asking for pardon over the inconvenience due to the general strike, the SPA also requested the general public to encourage the movement.
Thousands attend peaceful gathering at Gongabu
Meanwhile, thousands of people participated in the SPA’s peaceful gathering at Gongabu, the area which had remained tense for the last few days due to the brutal crackdown by the police.
Leaders of the SPA addressed the gathering which was peaceful compared to the previous days. The leaders expressed their commitment to take action against those security personnel who used excessive force to quell the demonstrations at Gongabu.
Addressing the gathering, Nepali Congress leader Ram Sharan Mahat said that the SPA would not make any compromise with anyone unless people’s sovereignty is restored.
Nepali Congress-Democratic leader Prakash Man Singh said that the mass movement, “which has gained new height,” will not be stopped unless “autocratic monarchy” is brought to an end.
Thousands of people following the meeting took to a peaceful rally which went through Samakhushi, Bashundhara, and Balaju defying the government prohibitory orders.
In Kirtipur, protesters, throughout the day, organized pro-democracy demonstrations. The protesters brought traffic along the major roads to a halt by putting up obstacles. Rallies were taken out from various corners of the town this afternoon and converged into a mass gathering at Naya Bazaar.
Curfew lifted, mobile phones resume
The government lifted the night curfew imposed within the Ring Road over the last few days, with effect from tonight.
The government also resumed mobile phone services halted for the last few days to quell the SPA-called general strike and political showdown that began from April 6.
Demonstrations in Pokhara
Thousands of activists participated in peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations in Pokhara today. The rally, which began early in the morning, went through major thoroughfares and converged at Mahendrapul, where Bhimsen Dahal, a pro-democracy protester was shot dead by police during demonstrations on April 8.
The SPA also renamed the area as Bhimsen Chowk.
Activists from nearby villages gathered in Pokhara after the authorities lifted the curfew imposed for the last four days.
10 professors arrested
KATHMANDU, April 13 - Police rounded up 10 professors from a peaceful rally
at Trichandra College in Kathamndu on Thursday morning.
Around 100 professors of Nepal University Teachers' Association took out the rally in support the ongoing agitation of the seven-party alliance in the area that has been declared off-limit areas for demonstrations by the government.
Among the arrested were former president of NUTA Keshabananda Giri, Netra Dhital, Tulsiman Shrestha, Dr. Indra Bahadur Karki, Hom Prasad Grihasthi, Asha Watsa, Laxmi Prasad Parajuli, Yubaraj Adhikari, Bhanu Bhakta Sharma and Narayan Prasad Sangraula.
Journalists, human rights activists arrested
KATHMANDU, April 12 - Police arrested at least 25 journalists and five human rights activists from two different protests in Kathmandu Wednesday.
The journalists were rounded up from Bhrikuti Mandap who took out the rally protesting police high-handedness on protesters and were demanding press freedom.
The rally was organized by the Federation of Nepalese Journalists.
"Around 25 journalists were arrested for taking out the rally in a restricted area," a police officer said.
Separately, police arrested at least five human rights activists who took out a protest rally in Bagbazaar.
Thousands turn up to pay homage to ‘martyrs’
The police today arrested scores of demonstrators who had gathered near the Bir Hospital to enter Shahid Manch to pay tributes to those killed in Pokhara, Chitwan and Banepa during the general strike called by the seven-party alliance.
The riot police intervened before the rally could enter the Shahid Manch to pay tributes to Tulsi Chhetri, Shiv Hari Kunwar, Bhimsen Dahal and a mentally-ill man killed in Butwal during the general strike.
Meanwhile, alliance leaders met here and decided to further intensify the stir expecting definite changes in the Nepali New Year.
Nepali Congress central working committee member Dr Shashank Koirala, Suprabha Ghimire, CPN-UML’s Pradeep Gyawali, former lawmakers Tirtharam Dangol and Rabindra Lal Shrestha, Chhanya Devi Parajuli and Rupa Swanr and Gangalal Tuladhar of the CPN-UML, Ghanashyam Poudel of Janamorcha Nepal were among those arrested in front of the hospital.
The police also arrested Nepali Congress (Democratic) leader Dip Kumar Upadhyaya. A woman and her 12-year-old daughter, who had come to the hospital check-up, were also arrested.
The seven-party alliance had scheduled to converge rallies from Kirtipur, Koteshwor, Baneshwor, Gongabu, Patan and Kalanki at the Shahid Manch. But the police prevented the rallyists from marching to the city centre at the Ring Road areas, leading to clashes and arrests.
As many as 15,000 people had gathered at Gongabu and over 7,000 at Kirtipur. The number of those arrested has been put at over 200.
Meanwhile, doctors associated with the Nepal Medical Association continued their defiance and threatened to close down all medical facilities across the country if the democracy was not restored.
The security forces also rounded up 75 journalist from three districts. According to an FNJ press release, 25 journalists and Human Rights activists were hurt in police action at Udayapur. As many as 21 scribes were held in Pokhara, while 29 were held from Kathmandu.
Kapil Kafle, Kishor Shrestha, Mahendra Bista and, Nirmala Sharma are among those arrested. Journalists Rabindra Kumar Chaudhari, Kushal Babu Basnet, Shanta Rai and Mohan Gole were injured in Kathmandu.