NHRC chief draws flak for condemning Mohna Ansari


National Human Rights Commission Chairman Anup Raj Sharma has drawn flak for issuing a press release condemning NHRC member Mohna Ansari for criticising Samajwadi Party-Nepal’s decision to expel Sarita Giri from both the party and the House of Representatives.

Sharma had issued a press release yesterday condemning Ansari for taking sides with Giri, who faced action for ignoring SP-N whip and abstaining from voting when the amendment bill to update Nepal’s map was put to vote in the HoR. The map depicts Limpiyadhura, Lipulekh and Kalapani as Nepal’s territories.

India has political and administrative control over the three and claims them to be part of India.

Ansari had mocked the ‘probe report’ on the basis of which SP-N took action against Giri. She had condemned SP-N for punishing Giri for merely expressing her views, stating that the party’s action was against ‘freedom of expression and democratic norms’.

Civil society member Devendra Raj Pandey wondered on Twitter whether an office bearer should lose his/her free life, thinking, values and norms just because s/he was paid by the government.

Human rights activist Charan Prasai said nationality should not be invoked to curtail somebody’s freedom of expression.

Executive Director of Freedom of Expression Taranath Dahal said NHRC office bearers were free to express their views on issues of public importance.

Ansari told THT that it was ironic that NHRC, which was created to protect and promote human rights in the country, did not respect its member’s fundamental right.

“As an NHRC office bearer, I must respond to people who feel their rights have been violated. I cannot wait for the NHRC’s decision to assist people whose rights have been violated. And I also have the right to say what I think is right,” she said.

“How can an NHRC member be expected to speak only in favour of NHRC decision? Why is dissent not entertained by the NHRC?” she wondered.

A version of this article appears in e-paper on July 11, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.