RNA warns rights activists against falling prey to Maoist propaganda

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, December 31:

The Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) has urged the human rights act-ivists not to give “unnecessary comments” against the security personnel by getting carried away by Maoist propaganda. The army has said that some international human rights organisations accuse the security forces of threatening rights activists, influenced by Maoist propaganda.

“Security forces express serious concern regarding rights activists’ statements saying that they are under risk at the hands of security forces,” said Brigadier General Dipak Kumar Gurung, director of the army’s Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) at a press briefing today. Claiming the allegations to be false, he assured that the forces “will never threaten any rights activist in future as well.” According to him, the incident refers to the arrest of Kailash Thakur, Nasrulla Ansari and Dhan Sharma at Paklihawa and Suryapura VDCs in Nawalparasi district. “The villagers had requested the forces to arrest these men who called themselves rights activists but were actually threatening civilians,” he said.

Gurung urged rights activists to coordinate with the forces so that those violating rights can be punished. Six soldiers are to be handed over to the police in connection with their involvement in raping a 15-year-old girl at Bharaul VDC in Sunsari district. “The probe committee found that six personnel were involved in raping the girl on November 8. They will be handed over to civilian court,” he said. Meanwhile, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances had given a list of 217 missing persons recently. Brigadier Gurung said that 85 out of 217 were arrested before the army was mobilised for quelling the insurgency, so the army “can’t tell their whereabouts.”

Forty people have been released after investigations while 16 have been handed over to civil administration, according to the DPR statistics. The army blamed the Maoists for recruiting children for combat purposes. A boy named ‘comrade Raju’ had surrendered in Bhalubang recently. The boy worked under ‘Pasang’ a Maoist military leader in the western division and is shown in a video as saying, “Pasang had many young comrades than adults. They beat me when I refused to carry the dead after Arghakhachi encounter.” Meanwhile, 22 Maoists’ bodies have been found at Lamidamar in Arghakhachi. The army denied reports of Indian government’s suggestion not to send troops for UN peace keeping missions in view of the conflict. “We have a commitment of 3,000 plus troops to UN, and India as a sovereign country will never interfere in the internal affairs of another nation,” said Gurung.

Meanwhile, the army and police denied reports of a rebellious unit which returned from the unified post in Chyangthapu of Panchthar. “The reports are baseless as the unit was being replaced,” the officials said.