Parliamentarians barred from meeting detained colleagues

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, April 6:

The local administration today barred National Assembly members from meeting their colleagues who have been kept under preventive detention at Mahendra Yuvalaya at Jawalakhel since February 1. Five members of the National Assembly, Kashinath Adhikari, Bachaspati Devkota, Beduram Bhusal, Ranga Nath Chaudhary and Laxmi Das Shrestha had gone to the detention centre to meet three detained lawmakers, Bir Bahadur Singh, Lal Bahadur Bishwokarma and Akkal Bahadur Bista. But the police told them that they had no permission to meet them. Three other lawmakers, Shukra Raj Sharma in Pokhara, Ashok Koirala in Biratnagar and Mohan Bam in Dhangadi, are also under preventive detention since the royal takeover. Issuing a press statement, Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) office secretary Kashinath Adhikari said it was “undemocratic” on the part of the government to prevent the sitting parliamentarians from meeting their colleagues.

The 60-member Upper House of the bicameral parliament was reduced to 38 due to the expiry of six-year term of the one-third members and the vacant posts have not been filled in the absence of House of Representatives and local bodies. There are 17 Upper House members from the CPN-UML, 14 from the Nepali Congress and Nepali Congress (Democratic), six royal nominees and one from the Rastriaya Prajatantra Party.

Earlier, 11 National Assembly members had demanded to convene a meeting of the Upper House to get its approval of the government’s decision to declare the state of Emergency in accordance with the constitutional provision. No meeting of the Upper House has been convened since dissolution of the Lower House on May 22, 2002.