Bhimduttanagar, June 17
The District Police Office of Kanchanpur today arrested district-based journalists Khem Bhandari and Ganesh Dutta Bhatta.
The DPO, Kanchanpur said Bhandari, the publisher and editor of the Bhimduttanagar-based Manaskhanda Daily and Bhatta, executive editor with the same daily, were arrested on a complaint filed by the family of Puja Nath and Kanchan Nath of Shuklaphanta Municipality, both of whom are currently in police detention.
The newspaper a few days ago had published news about the arrest of Puja and Kanchan, with the news report stating they were detained for disturbing the peace by getting drunk and that they were to be tried under the Public Offence Act.
Khemraj Nath, the father of Kanchan and brother of Puja, reached DPO with complaint against the newspaper for ‘hurting’ the social life of his daughter and sister by continuously disseminating news about their arrest.
The Nath family has sought action against the newspaper under the Public Offence Act, according to DPO, Kanchanpur spokesperson Deputy Superintendent of Police Bhim Dahal.
Khemraj claimed that his sister’s engagement could not take place due to the news report carried by the daily.
Bhandari is the former chair of Minimum Wages Fixation Committee for working journalists and currently operates the Bhimduttanagar-based Radio Mahakali as well.
Meanwhile, the Federation of Nepali Journalists has termed the arrest of Khem Bhandari, editor of the Dainik Manaskhanda, a vernacular daily published from Kanchanpur, and executive editor G Bhatta from the same offices on the charge of public offence.
A press release issued by FNJ General Secretary Ujir Magar today stated that the government had turned to autocratic ways by arresting the editor and the executive editor that led to the closure of the newspaper.
A team from the Kanchanpur district police office arrested the two editors today reportedly for questioning in connection with the complaint.
Meanwhile, the FNJ Kanchanpur chapter has also expressed its serious concern about the arrest of journalists. It has strongly demanded that the two journalists be immediately released.
The media fraternity in Kanchanpur has decided to organise various protest programmes, including sit-in in front of the concerned government bodies until the two journalists are released.
A version of this article appears in print on June 18, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.