DAILEKH, Jan 9: Thousands of locals have taken to the street in the Dailekh district headquarters on Wednesday in protest of the prime minister allegedly having, through his office, pressured police not to proceed with investigation after the arrest of UCPN (Maoist) cadres in connection with the murder of journalist Dekedra Thapa some eight years ago.
The demonstrators from different political parties, including Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, students, businessmen, civil society members and people from various walks of life have descended on the road, demanding that police immediately record statements of the murder accused and take them to the district attorney´s office.
The mass has converged into a gathering outside the district police office and the participants have been chanting slogans against Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. They have also obstructed vehicular movement for two hours.
Locals in Dailekh enforce strike after taking out protest rally against PM in relation to the murder of scribe Dekendra Thapa.Photo:Govinda KC
The five days’ time given for investigation is expiring today. A large number of security personnel have been deployed in the district headquarters in view of possible clashes between the demonstrators and supporters of UCPN (Maoist) and its breakaway party CPN-Maoist.
Dailekh police chief DSP Sharada Prasad Chaudhary has made it clear that police, defying any pressure, will remain undeterred in carrying out their investigation into the murder case and said the accused will be produced before the district court to extend their detention after recording their statements today itself.
Last Thursday, police had arrested Laxmi Ram Gharti Magar of Dwari VDC-1, and Jaya Bahadur Shahi of Raniban-1, Nirak Bahadur Gharti of Baluwatar-9 , Bir Bahadur KC of Baluwatar-7 and Harilal Pun of Dwari-3 on Friday, in connection with Thapa´s murder.
Both the UPCN (Maoist) and CPN-Maoist have been exerting intense pressure for immediate release of their cadres. They have threatened local journalists with grave consequences if the accused are not set free.
UML condemns PM interference
Meanwhile, CPN-UML,has taken serious exception to the PM’s recent description of the police investigation into the murder case as a ploy to derail the peace process and an act incited by human rights activists.
“The CPN-UML condemns the prime minister’s bid to influence the investigation into the brutal murder of journalist Dekendra Thapa, shield the criminals and promote the culture of impunity and political crime,” the party said in a statement.
It has also urged the police administration and the district attorney’s office to continue with their proceedings without any fear or favor and expressed solidarity with the Federation of Nepali Journalists, working journalists and Dailekh locals in their campaign to bring Thapa’s killers to justice.