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Barring Bista from going abroad to attend Int'l program an authoritarian move

Freedom Forum has been seriously concerned over government's increasingly intimidating behaviour toward citizens by violating their rights in the recent days.

In a series of violation of citizens' rights and intimidations, the government led by Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), on August 24, barred former child soldier of the Maoist party, Lenin Bista, from going abroad to attend an international seminar on youths' role on social engagement.

The former child solider of the Maoist party and currently working as a social activist, Bista, was grilled by the airport official and arred from boarding while he was leaving for Bangkok, Thailand.

Earlier, the government in the similar fashion had barred the Vice-Chancellor of the Nepal Sanskrit University, Kul Prasad Koirala, from going to Canada to attend the global program on Sanskrit language. He was also barred by the airport official after taking boarding pass to emplane for Canada. It had also received wider criticism.

Some weeks back, grilling a doctor by the Home Ministry over patients' report was sheer interference on professional rights.

Bista after being barred by the airport told media that the immigration official asked him to stay awhile because 'he was recently put in semi-black list from the authority above.'

"After the plane took off, they said the order was from higher body," Bista said, adding he asked the officials whether they could give him in written why he was denied from going abroad but in vain.

Moreover, he said, "I think they might have feared of my views on child solder in the international forum though the program was not about it."

He even claimed that Home Minister's chief advisor was directly involved in preventing him.

"Although child solider was practiced in Nepal in the past as I was myself a child solider during Maoist insurgency, I'm continuously advocating for the national legislation that prevents child solider in future."

He shared the plight: "Can the State attack a citizen in this manner?"

Bista further shared that the Home Ministry had even directed the employees at the gate of Singha Durbar, the central administrative office of the country, not to allow his entry to the Ministry.

To this, Freedom Forum Executive Chief Mr Taranath Dahal observes, "Citizen's freedom and their supremacy is the corner stone of democracy. Barring Bista from attending international program and expressing his views has not only violated his right to free movement but also his right to freedom of expression. Although we claim of country's democracy a reformed one calling it loktantra where citizen should be the supreme, the government activities in the recent time are contradictory to democratic norms and values."

FF reiterates that government must abide by the constitution that has enshrined rights to citizens. Suppression of citizens' voice is the suppression of their fundamental rights. Breach of fundamental rights erodes system and fulfills authoritarian interest. The government is therefore urged again not to repeat such activities. At a time when Nepal is in the phase of implementing new constitution, the symptoms of authoritarianism, no doubt, would cost the hard earned achievements of citizen's rights and freedoms in Nepal.


For More Information
Freedom Forum
Thapathali, Kathmandu
Post Box No: 24292
Phone No. 4102030, 4102022
Website: www.nepalpressfreedom.org; www.freedomforum.org.np
Email: monitoring@freedomforum.org; info@freedomforum.org.np