Nepal Police arrested citizens for protesting peacefully at a program in Dhangadhi on January 8. Dhangadhi lies in the Sudurpaschim Province of Nepal.
Local youths Binod Khadka, Aarud Sah, Sagar Joshi, Rajendra Shahi, Pravin Khadka, Suresh Joshi, and Naresh Prasad Joshi were arrested for wearing t-shirt with slogans- Where is the rapist of Nirmala Panta?
Nirmala Panta, a 13-year old girl was raped and murdered in Kanchanpur in 2018. The locals claim the 'accused is still roaming scot-free'. The investigation authority had earlier stated that the perpetrator would be arrested soon but no action has been taken yet.
The youths had worn t-shirts to create pressure on government to arrest and punish the rapist and murderer of Nirmala Panta. The program was being addressed by the Prime Minister.
Other attendees in the program also shared that they were not even allowed to wear black mask.
Youths were detained for four hours and released later, informed chief of District Police Office, Kailali.
Freedom Forum condemns the incident as it is gross violation of citizen's right to peaceful protest. It has resulted in suppression of freedom of expression. Such incidents represent government's authoritarian move and intolerance towards public criticism. Citizen's right to freedom of expression and peaceful protest is guaranteed by Nepal's constitution.
Hence, FF strongly urges the concerned authority to respect citizen's fundamental rights and ensure free atmosphere for exercising their rights.
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