Col. Basnet promoted despite rights groups' protest
KATHMANDU, Oct 4: Amidst concerns raised by rights activists over his alleged involvement in human rights violations, the government has promoted Nepal Army (NA) Colonel Raju Basnet to the rank of brigadier general.
A cabinet meeting held Thursday decided to promote five colonels including Basnet, who was implicated in the forced disappearance of 49 Maoist cadres from Bhairavnath Battalion during the insurgency.
Various national and international human rights organizations had been piling pressure against Basnet´s promotion, citing his alleged role in the torture and disappearance cases.
As per the cabinet decision, the four other colonels promoted are Prabhu Ram Sharma, Bijay Dhowj Karki, Samir Shahi and Subarna Mahat.
According to Information and Communications Minister Rajkishor Yadav, who is also the government spokesperson, the cabinet meeting likewise decided to promote five lieutenant colonels, including Baburam Shrestha, Arun Kumar Pal, Pradip Jaung KC, Santosh Dhakal and Niraj Paudel, to the rank of full colonel.
Similarly, the government has decided to allow National Trading Ltd and Salt Trading Corporation to import 20,000 metric tons of sugar with customs duty exemption in view of the upcoming season of festivals. It has also decided to open fair price shops at various places.
Likewise, the cabinet endorsed the Governance Reform Work Plan 2012 and decided to accept the resignation of two secretaries, Baman Prasad Neupane and Umakant Jha.
Meanwhile, the Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC) has expressed serious concern over the government´s decision to promote Col. Basnet. Issuing a press statement on Thursday evening, INSEC said the government´s decision would promote a state of impunity in the country.
INSEC has also stated that the government´s decision would lead the country away from the rule of law.