Aides suspect foul play in Dhamala case:With boss in jail, Reporters’ Club wears a deserted look

Kathmandu, March 5:

Reporters’ Club Nepal, which used to be crowded all the time, has now worn a deserted look. Most of the time the club remains closed nowadays and whenever it is opened, only a few staffers can be seen watching television.

Following the arrest of Rishi Dhamala, the sole identity of the club, it has hardly organised four face-to-face programmes, including the one related to Dhamala’s arrest.

The most seen face in Nepali journalism, Dhamala had established the Club, which helped almost all media houses to gather news and views from all walks of life. The club that used to be the most happening place in the nation’s media sector is now quiet and peaceful.

The club used to organise four to five programmes a day concerning the burning issues of the nation. But with Dhamala not in the scene, his aides remain busy meeting leaders and authorities requesting them for initiatives to release their boss.

“Dhamala had been warned by Maoist union workers for not inviting the owners of Himalmedia in one of the interaction organised by the Club following the attack on journalists by the Maoists,” said Dharma Adhikary, one of the aides of Dhamala.

He claimed that Dhamala had been the target of Maoist leaders because the club had been a platform for the opposition parties to publicise their views against the government and expose the Maoists.

Meanwhile, Jana Sanchar Abhiyan (People’s Communication Campaign) has appeared in the scene to organise similar programmes that the Reporters’ Club used to hold in the past as soon as the club became defunct. This new organisation has been organising face-to-face programmes with Maoist leaders and other functions.

Ranjit Dhamala, another aide of Rishi Dhamala, challenged the government to produce the three journalists, who reportedly claimed Rishi’s involvement in criminal activities, and the so-called ‘imaginary’ businessman whom Rishi reportedly targeted for extortion.

Adhikary borrowed the words of prominent NC and other parties’ leaders to claim that Dhamala’s arrest was nothing but a strategic attempt to threaten journalists to rein in the media that had been exposing the Maoist-led government by disseminating the wrong doings of the government.

“Have you heard any negative news against the government after Dhamala’s arrest?” he questioned, adding that the Maoists had been successful in their strategy. “Aren’t these the points to ponder?” he asked.