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Concern over pressure to withdraw case on Dekendra's Murder

Freedom Forum has been concerned over the ill-efforts of the UCPN-Maoist leaders to withdraw the murder case of journalist Dekendra Thapa.

It is learnt that former prime minister and chairman of the UCPN-Maoist, Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Vice-Chairman Mohan Baidya had given undue pressure to the Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to withdraw the murder case of Dailekha-based journalist Thapa.

Local reporter to the Radio Nepal, journalist Thapa was abducted and subsequently killed by the UCPN-Maoist (then CPN-Maoist) cadres on August 10, 2004. He was abducted from Chhanna Bazar of Bhawani VDC on June 4, 2004.

The murder of journalist Thapa was confirmed by the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) by excavating the dead body on June 25, 2008 in the presence of a team of forensic experts.

Dekendra's wife, Laxmi had filed FIR in the District Police Office, against Maoist cadres- Bag Bahadur Khadka, Keshav Khadka, Lachhiram Gharti and Bam Bahadur Khadka on August on August 29, 2008. However, no action is taken against them.

Now, the Maoist party which is leading the government is making ill efforts to release the party cadres convicted of various crimes. The recent effort to cancel/withdraw the murder case implicating the party cadres comes as a series of political protection to the criminals.

Freedom Forum condemns the pressure put on the Prime Minister to withdraw the murder case. Rather, the Forum urges the government to punish those involved in the heinous crime.

"With the rising state of impunity in the country, if the government withdraws this case as well, it becomes sheer mockery of rule of law and media freedom. So, the government must not withdraw but take stern action to all involved in the murder. The political protection to the criminals is a great threat to rule of law," says Freedom Forum Chairman, Taranath Dahal.

Meanwhile, with the legal facilitation of the Freedom Forum, the attackers on journalist Govinda KC of Dailekh district have been arrested.