THT 10 YEARS AGO: Over 150 held to thwart mass protest
Kathmandu, January 19, 2006
Over 150 persons, including leaders of the seven-party alliance, prominent human rights activists and student leaders were arrested in the wee hours of today to foil the alliance’s peaceful rally planned in the capital tomorrow, according to separate press statements issued by the parties and the National Human Rights Commission. Home Ministry spokesperson Gopendra Bahadur Pandey, however, said 100 persons were detained from different parts of the Kathmandu Valley today. Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala and Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist-Leninist) general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal have been put under house-arrest and the rest were taken to different detention centres. Nepal was put under house arrest in the evening when he returned home after addressing a programme organised by the Valley unit of the Press Chautari Nepal. The government also cut landline telephone connections of some prominent leaders. An NHRC statement said the security personnel had been keeping track of the Nepal Workers’ and Peasants’ Party president Narayan Man Bijukchhe’s movements for the last four days. Five prominent rights activists and members of civil society — Nilambar Acharya, Dr Mathura Prasad Shrestha, Dr Devendra Raj Pandey, Krishna Pahadi and Shyam Shrestha were also arrested from their homes early in the morning, read an NHRC statement.
European Union, India condemn crackdown
Kathmandu, January 19, 2006
In the first international reaction to the crackdown on opposition leaders and rights activists by the government, the European Union said today that it is “extremely concerned” about the recent developments in the country. A brief statement issued by the Finnish Embassy this afternoon said, “The European Union Heads of Mission in Kathmandu are extremely concerned about the recent developments in Nepal, in particular about the arrests of democratic party leaders, members of civil society and human rights activists.” “The EU is urgently considering implications of these developments,” the statement added. Likewise, India termed “regrettable” the arrests of political leaders and human rights activists. “These actions are regrettable and a matter of grave concern to all those who wish to see the constitutional forces in Nepal working together to achieve peace and stability in the country,” Indian external affairs ministry spokesperson Navtej Sarna in a response to a question said. Meanwhile, the National Human Right Commission met Nepali Congress president Girija Prasad Koirala, CPN-UML general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, Rastriya Prajatantra Party president Pashupati Shumsher Rana and Rastriya Janashakti Party president Surya Bahadur Thapa today.