Nepal | November 17, 2019

Journo who broke ‘rape news’ gets threats

Ujjwal Satyal

Kathmandu, October 3

Journalist Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti has been receiving threats after he broke the news about alleged rape of Parliament Secretariat employee Roshani Shahi by Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who has since stepped down as House speaker.

This undated image shows Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti, editor at hamrakura.com. Photo courtesy: hamrakura.com

“I and my wife have been receiving calls from unidentified callers who intimidate us and enquire about the news that I broke,” said Shiwakoti, the editor of hamrakura.com. “I’ve also been told that plans are being made to kidnap me and vandalise my office.”

Shiwakoti was the first journalist to interview Shahi after her alleged rape. In a video interview on Monday, Shahi told Shiwakoti that Mahara had raped her and indiscriminately beaten her on Sunday night. Mahara stepped down from the post of House of Representatives speaker on Tuesday after the interview appeared on the online portal. “The news that I broke has offended some of the people and they are devising plans to launch an attack on me,” Shiwakoti said.

A high-level security source recently told one of his relatives that someone by the name of Rameshwor Pandey, a former Maoist cadre, was on his way to Kathmandu from his hometown at Birta Deurali of Koshi Pari in Kavre district to vandalise his office and kidnap him.

He has also received information about another plan to vandalise his office and assault him. “I was told this plan was being discussed by five men with western Nepali accent at Baneshwor-based Red Mud Café on Tuesday,” Shiwakoti said. “People I know also heard a group devising similar plans at another Baneshwor-based restaurant.”

Following avalanche of threats, Shiwakoti has sought security from police. He went to Metropolitan Police Office at Rani Pokhari today at 3:30pm and asked its chief Deputy Inspector General Shailesh Thapa Kshetri to ensure his safety.

“DIG Kshetri has promised to deploy adequate number of police personnel around my residence in Balaju and my office at Kamal Pokhari,” Shiwakoti said. “I have also talked to heads of police stations at Balaju and Kamal Pokhari and they have assured me security.”

Deputy Superintendent of Police Hobindra Bogati of Metropolitan Police Range, Teku, said he was in constant touch with Shiwakoti and his team would take prompt action at any given time if he faces security threat.

Several district chapters of Nepal Press Union have expressed serious concern about the safety of Shiwakoti and have warned they will launch protests if security is not guaranteed to the journalist and legal action is not initiated against those who issued the threats.

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A version of this article appears in print on October 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.


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