JANUARY 18, 2011  The Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) - the largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA) of Nepal - has suppressed universally accepted right to freedom of expression barring its Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai from articulating his dissent views inside the party. The Maoists has the official line of people's revolt on which Bhattarai has expressed his note of dissent stating that the party should focus on peace and constitution rather than rebellion.

Maoist party prevented leader Bhattarai from airing his opinion during nationwide training program held at Bhrikuti Mundap in the capital on January 17 to train cadres about the official line of the party. It has been reported that Bhattarai boycotted the training program after party decided to muzzle his views among cadres.

 During the closed-door training session that saw the participation of over 5,00 cadres of the party, Maoist chairperson Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' heavily criticized the mainstream media for spreading 'falsehood' and hatching conspiracy in collusion with the reactionary forces. 'They are hatching dangerous conspiracy. They are staging a drama and doing their best to get the party imploded", a leader quoted Dahal according to Republica National Daily.

 Similarly, the party has removed the editor of party's mouthpiece Janadesh Weekly, Komal Baral, who is said to be the supporter of Bhattarai. Baral has been removed to promote the views of Bhattarai through Janadesh Weekly.

In similar incidents of violation of freedom of expression, leaders of Janamorcha Nepal have been barred in various parts of eastern and southern plains of Nepal for floating views against federalism. Cadres associated to Madhes-based parties and ethnic Limbuwan-Khumbuwan groups prevented Janamorcha leaders from presenting their views on federal states. Though Nepal is declared to be the Federal Democratic Republic, Janamorcha had conducted nationwide public awareness campaign against delineating Nepal into federal states.

 Freedom Forum has expressed its grave concern over the incidents of suppression on freedom of expression. It would be undemocratic and a violation of right to freedom of expression to suppress differing views and it has again raised the questions over the commitments on protecting fundamental rights of people and democratic values and norms. Freedom Forum would like to remind all political parties, including Maoists that interim constitution has guaranteed the rights to freedom of expression of the citizen. We encourage all parties concerned to respect the right to freedom of expression.

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Freedom Forum
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