Government, the apex body to control every mechanism in a State is apathetic to the prime concern of people while the junior bodies to implement any decision are awaiting government directives. Home Minister makes commitments to take action against the perpetrators but is helpless as he is not able to direct and mobilize the police administration to arrest the perpetrators. As the leading political party is giving political protection to the prime accused of the attack, he is enjoying a normal life while the tortured/victim is awaiting justice. There is mounting pressure from all sides to mete out punishment to the culprit but the government is turning deaf ear to this.
It is exactly what we can see at current state of Nepali media.
Journalist Khilanath Dhakal, a reporter to the Nagarik national daily, who was attacked brutally by the cadres of Youth Force, a youth wing of the ruling CPN-UML, is receiving treatment at a hospital in Biratnagar, an eastern city in the southern plain of the country, for a week after he got severe injuries in the attack on June 5. He also underwent nose surgery on June 8 in course of treatment. But the prime accused of the attack, Parshuram Basnet, who is Morang District In-Charge of Youth Force, is enjoying political protection and living a normal life in the capital city.
Not only in the local level but also in the central level, various civil society bodies, media houses, rights activists, political leaders have been mounting pressure on the government to immediately arrest the prime accused Basnet and bring him to book; political parties in the parliament meeting raised voice against brutal against journalist Dhakal; Home Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara has committed several times publicly to take action against the accused; case is filed in Morang district court against attackers; media has covered the news on attack and its follow ups extensively and even the Prime Minister is saying the culprits would not be left, criminal Basnet is learnt to be enjoying political protection, the protection by the CPN-UML, the party leading government.
Police arrested only one aide Rohit Koirala on June 7 while another aide of prime accused Basnet, Manoj Rai is absconding.
Two more anti-press incidents relating to attack on journalist Dhakal have occurred since then. Journalists in Biratnagar were threatened of not filing criminal case against Basnet and his two aides on June 7 and the newspapers- Nagarik and Republica dailies to which Dhakal was reporter- were burnt down in Jhapa by the cadres of same youth wing, Youth Force on June 11.
The journalists have been agitating throughout the country and announcing protest programs too.
It is very ridiculous on the part of the government that it is giving words but taking no action.
It is the manifestation how the government, the supreme body to check impunity, is itself promoting the impunity culture. It is obvious how the government is cowering before the partisan interest and giving political protection to the criminal cadres. It has questioned government's stand whether it is working for the people or for certain political parties and political leaders. What is the government's stand on press, media, human rights and democracy? It needs to be clear.
This situation paints very bleak picture of Nepal in terms of impunity, attack on press, and human rights, democracy.
Freedom Forum, as an organization working for the right to information, human rights, media freedom and democracy, holds the stand if the government wants to respect people's right to information, human rights, democracy and media freedom, the attackers on journo Dhakal disregarding their political affiliation must be brought to book.
Unless the impunity is checked, the democracy can not flourish.
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