NHRC team leaves for Nawalparasi to probe Maoist attack

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 18:

A team of the National Human Rights Commission left for Nawalparasi district today to monitor

Friday’s Maoist attack on civilians in Bargadwa of Somni VDC. “A two-member team comprising Murari Kharel and Madhav Gautam left for Nawalparasi to probe the incident,” said Achyut Acharya, a commission official, speaking at the Reporters’ Club here today. He said the NHRC has taken the incident very seriously. Ten civilians were killed and 15 houses torched in the Maoist attack, which forced villagers to flee to the neighbouring villages. “The Nawalparasi incident is condemnable,” said human rights defender Malla K Sundar, emphasising that no party can violate the right to life.

“An independent civilian team should probe the incident,” he said urging the government to bring the guilty to book. He said the state should stop provoking civilians to resist Maoist activities. Condemning the Maoist act in Nawalparasi, Raju Sakar, representative of the Amnesty International Nepal, said: “It is shameful and against humanity and international humanitarian laws. The alternative to killing and violence should not be the same.” Gopal Kirshna Sivakoti, chairman of the HimRights, who was barred from visiting the incident site, said it is difficult to monitor human rights abuses due the state’s reluctance to allow human rights activists to travel outside Kathmandu.

“It is the misuse of power to attack unarmed individuals and that Friday’s incident is alarming.” he said. He warned that a civil war was inevitable if civilians were to be armed and if the authorities failed to address the situation on time. Sudip Pathak, chairman of the Human Rights Organisation of Nepal, urged the Maoists to end episodes of violence and their inhuman activities and called on the government to end impunity. Gopal Shrestha, a representative of the HimRights who visited the spot, said the villagers are under constant fear and have demanded that the security forces be present in the village. The area has not seen the security forces’ presence for the last three years, he added.