KATHMANDU, Jan 24: Major opposition parties - the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML -- and various media organizations, including the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ), have accused the security agencies and the ruling UCPN (Maoist) of attacking leaders and cadres of opposition parties in Dailekh on Wednesday.
Issuing a statement, NC said over 40 party cadres, including the party´s Dailekh district president Krishna Kumar BC, secretary Bhupendra Shahi, assistant secretary Resham BK were injured in the attack. Shahi got his arm fractured, while BK received deep head injury.
NC claimed that the ruling party and the security agencies mercilessly attacked the opposition party members even as the latter had staged peaceful demonstration against the caretaker prime minister´s arrival in the district. “Security forces fired 500 rounds of tear gas shells. The government has terrorized people in Dailekh by firing tear gas shells and charging batons,” reads the statement. “NC denounces this blatant abuse of state forces against peaceful protestors."
CPN-UML Spokesman Pradeep Gyawali said the irresponsible and provocative statements given by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had fuelled tension even as the opposition parties had just planned to greet the prime minister with black flags for protecting the murderers of Dekendra Thapa.
Gyawali said UML denounced the government´s abuse of authority and use of excessive force by the security personnel against peaceful protestors.
“The prime minister has ordered the security agencies to use excessive force and the ruling party has sent trucks of weapons-wielding cadres to suppress peaceful protestors. We strongly deplore such an act of the prime minister and the ruling party,” Gyawali told Republica. He also denounced vandalism at local media office and threat to journalists.
FNJ in a statement denounced vandalism at the office of a local newspaper Hamro Tesro Aankha Dainik on Wednesday terming the attack an act against press freedom.
Stating that vandalism at the office of local dailies was carried out by UCPN (Maoist) cadres, the NC-affiliated Nepal Press Union has said the Maoist cadres also threatened local journalists to be prepared to face the fate of Dekendra Thapa, who was reportedly murdered by then rebel Maoist cadres during the insurgency. The union demanded action against those involved in vandalism.
Similarly, CPN-UML-affiliated Press Chautari also denounced vandalism and the threat issued to journalists. The media organization demanded action against those involved in the assault.
Also, Freedom Forum, a Kathmandu-based NGO, condemned the threats and vandalism in Dailekh.
"The journalists in Dailekh said the district headquarters remained tense as the Maoist cadres were rallying with pistols and homemade weapons and issuing threats to local journalists. Feeling insecure, some journalists are hiding," said the NGO in its statement.