Resham’s manacled leg enrages PM

Kathmandu, June 22

Enraged by the manacles that bound Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal lawmaker Resham Chaudhary’s leg to the bed at Bir Hospital, where Chaudhary is undergoing treatment, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli ordered Chief Secretary Lok Darshan Regmi to take action against erring police officers.

The PM’s Secretariat team member Chetan Adhikari said the PM called the chief secretary and told him to take action against the erring officers.

The PM’s directive came after political leaders and commoners expressed outrage on social networking sites at the inhuman treatment meted out to Chaudhary, who was admitted to Bir Hospital on Thursday evening.

Chaudhary remains in jail as he was recently convicted by Kailali District Court in the Tikapur carnage case. He has challenged his conviction in the High Court.

Samajwadi Party-Nepal leader and former prime minister Baburam Bhattarai met Chaudhary yesterday and condemned the treatment meted out to him in an an angry facebook post.

He wrote: What an irony this is that those who were tortured by the Panchayat regime in the past on the charges of being terrorist and anti-national are meting out the same injustice on oppressed Tharu agitators? But before writing the angry post on facebook, Dr Bhattarai confronted the police personnel accompanying Chaudhary to the hospital, spoke to a higher ranking police officer against the iron chain around Chaudhary’s leg and took a photo with his mobile phone despite police objection, according to Resham’s brother Mithu.

It was because of Bhattarai’s intervention that police removed the manacle from Chaudhary’s leg last night.

Human rights lawyer Mohan Kumar Karna said the manacle was a violation of his human rights.

Article 22 (1) of the constitution stipulates that no person who is arrested or detained shall be subjected to physical or mental torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.

Director General of Prison Department Hari Prasad Mainali said his office had not received any directive on this yet and his office was yet to investigate the matter. “But clamping iron chain around an inmate’s body during treatment is wrong,” he said.

Member of the National Human Rights Commission Mohna Ansari said her office would visit the hospital tomorrow to get first hand information.

“This is a clear case of Chaudhary’s rights violation and we will draw the attention of the authorities concerned to the issue. If the erring official(s) repeat such mistakes, then the NHRC will seek disciplinary action against them,” she said.

Resham’s younger brother Mithu told THT that his brother could not freely change side on the hospital bed on Thursday night as his leg was shackled. “My brother had a backache and as police had chained his leg, it was difficult for him to change side on the bed,” he added.

The manacle has caused Resham’s leg muscles to swell. Doctors have told Chaudhary that he might have to spend a week or two at the hospital to fully recover from his illness.

Mithu said his brother had started suffering back pain three weeks ago. About a week ago, he felt excruciating pain while exercising. He had to use crutches to walk around before he was admitted to Bir Hospital on Thursday. He said police also wanted to manacle one hand of his brother’s, but gave up the idea after Resham said he would not allow that irrespective of the consequences he might have to face.