Ananta Raj Luitel

Kathmandu, March 2:

Despite the National Human Rights Commission report that says at least 900 people are still missing in the country, security agencies have told the courts that only eight people are under preventive detention since July 2003.

Security agencies told the Kathmandu and the Lalitpur District Courts that eight people had been detained within the last eight months under suspicion of being Maoists.

The security agencies had earlier told the KDC that around 66 people were held before the said period on charges of threatening law and order situation in accordance with the Security Act of 1989.

According to the KDC administrative Chief, Krishnakamal Adhikary, the agencies have said only three individuals were under preventive detention, while a high ranking official at the Lalitpur District Court (LDC) said security agencies told the court that five people were in custody.

While the LDC has been told that those detained include Ganesh Shrestha, Anuman Shrestha, Krishna Bhakta Shrestha, Surendra Khagdi and Prem Bahadur Maharjan, the KDC was told that Bishal Khadka alias Bibek of Jugu village in Dolakha district, Nabaraj Dulal of Katunge village in Bhaktapur district and Bhagirath Kharel of Burtibang village in Baglung District, were being detained.

"We cannot believe the figures provided by the security agencies," Shambhu Thapa, president of Nepal Bar Association said. "This is a gross violation of fundamental rights and rule of law on the part of the security agencies."

Security forces have the right to detain any individual for 90 days as per the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Control and Punishment) Act, 2002 and for six months under the Security Act, 1989. However, the concerned district court has to be informed of the same.

"The official figures show the gross violation of the rule of law and human rights in the country," president of Human Rights and Peace Society Krishan Pahadi said. He urged the government to officially file cases against the detainees.

Article 15 of the Constitution gives a security officer the right to take under preventive detention anyone who threatens the sovereignty and integrity of the state and the law and order situation. He can further detain any citizen of an enemy state under the same charges.

The security agencies have not informed the Bhaktapur District Court (BDC) of any

such detention. "We do not have any information of anyone being detained," administrative chief of the BDC Bashantajung Thapa said.