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Criminalization Of Nepalese Politics

Issue 51, December 18, 2011

Siddhi B Ranjitkar

Nepalese politics has been criminalized recently. Every political party including so-called Democratic Party Nepali Congress (NC) has been using criminals for the political and financial gains disregarding the national interest and the damages done to the nation. Every political party calls a nationwide shutdown going against the people’s will and unleash the criminals to smash vehicles on the streets and smash stores if they found opened. The sudden nationwide shutdown called by the NC and its sisters organizations such as Tarundal, and Nepal Student Association protesting against the death of the alleged criminal serving jail term in Chitwan has caused havoc among the long-distance travelers, the tourists, and commuters in general. Why the NC and its sister organizations have caused so much troubles to the people and damaged so many vehicles for the death of the alleged criminal: the chief of the Chitwan Chapter of Tarundal

Chief of the Chitwan Chapter of Tarundal Shiva Poudel died Saturday early morning, December 17, 2011 at the Neuro Hospital, Maharangunj in Kathmandu. Poudel was seriously wounded in the gang fight in the Chitwan jail. Chairman of Chitwan Tarundal Shiva Poudel and his four colleagues have been in the jail for the murder of Sanjay Lama of Bharatpur. At 6:00 AM morning, December 6, 2011, some prisoners of the block ‘A’ snatched the key of the block ‘B’ from the jailer and went to attack the prisoners of the block ‘B’ and assaulted Shiva Poudel and his associates injuring them seriously, the ‘gorkhapatra’ of December 7, 2011 reported.

Making the assault on Tarundal Chief Shiva Poudel a political issue, NC lawmakers obstructed the House session on December 6, 2011 demanding an immediate action against the attackers on the Tarundal Chief in the Chitwan jail. In order to calm down the heated NC lawmakers, next day, Deputy Prime Minister holding the portfolio of Home Ministry Bijya Gacchedar went to the parliament and assured the NC lawmakers of taking strong actions against the culprits.

Deputy Prime Minister Gacchedar also sent a team of medics headed by the renowned neurologist Upendra Devkota by a helicopter to Chitwan to treat the seriously injured Poudel and one of his associates. General Secretary of NC Krishna Prasad Sitaula went to Bharatpur to monitor the health condition of Tarundal Chief Shiva Poudel.

On December 6, 2011, cadres of Tarundal shut down the Bhatapur bazaar in protest against the assault on their jailed leader causing tremendous inconvenience to commuters and common folks there. Some of the Tarundal cadres damaged some stores in Bharatpur.

On December 7, 2011, in response to the disruption of the House by the NC lawmakers protesting against the assault on Tarundal Chief Shiva Poudel jailed for alleged murder, Deputy Prime Minister Bijaya Gacchedar suspended officiating Chief District Officer (CDO) of Chitwan Nandakeshar Tripathi for his inability to stop the gang fight in the Chitwan jail. Previously, the Home Ministry has suspended Chief of District Police Office of Chitwan Superintendent Khinu Prasad Acharya, jailer Chudamani Sharma Poudel and Sub-inspector Shiva Raj Chhetri for not being able to control the gang fight in the Chitwan jail.

The Home Ministry did everything possible to please the NC leaders infuriated by the gang fight in the jail injuring Tarundal Chief Shiva Poudel and his accomplices affiliated to the NC.

On December 17, 2011, Tarundal Chief Shiva Poudel died at the Neuro Hospital in Kathmandu. Members of the central committee of NC sat at the residence of President of NC Sushil Koirala at Maharajgunj and made a decision on immediately unleashing their cadres and members of its sister organizations to the streets across Nepal to stop vehicular traffic and shut down the bazaars elsewhere in the country.

According to the news aired by the Avenue TV on December 17, 2011, the group led by Shiva Poudel and another group affiliated to the CPN-UML have a long-standing enmity concerning the commissions and the contracts they secured in Chitwan. These two groups had been at odds, as they competed for the same contracts and commissions. In course of the fight between these two groups, Gopi Poudel junior brother of Shiva Poudel lost his life.

Obviously in revenge to the death of his brother Gopi Poudel, the group led by Shiva Poudel killed Sanjay Lama of the group affiliated to the CPN-UML. So, Shiva Poudel had been in the Chitwan jail for allegedly killing Sanjay Lama. Obviously, the gang fight in the Chitwan jail on December 7, 2011 injuring Shiva Poudel and his accomplices seriously was in revenge of killing Sanjay Lama of the group associated to the CPN-UML.

Clearly, NC and CPN-UML have been protecting the gangsters in Chitwan either in the name of Tarundal or Youth Association Nepal, as these gangsters have been instrumental to secure the contracts of the government jobs and commissions from such contracts for the respective political party. They have been direct financial sources for the political parties.

Surely, the NC leaders have been mad at the death of Shiva Poudel: leader of Chitwan Tarundal. So, they unleashed NC cadres, Tarundal cadres and Nepal Student Union members to the streets terrorizing the commuters, breaking cars, microbuses and motorcycles in Kathmandu and Lalitpur, and damaging some buses parked in Chitwan and elsewhere in Nepal. These cadres also managed to enter the Bharatpur airport and damaged the plane of the Buddha Air. According to the Avenue TV news, the plane was preparing to take off when Tarundal cadres stoned the plane causing damages.

The NC has demanded the government to declare the alleged murderer Shiva Poudel a martyr and pay compensation to his family. The NC and its sister organizations have made the death of alleged murderer Shiva Poudel a political issue.

The emergency NC Central Working Committee meeting held at the residence of party President Sushil Koirala on Saturday morning, December 17, 2011 demanded the government to revoke the lawsuit against Shiva Poudel, declare him a martyr and provide his family with compensation, to form a high-level probe committee to investigate the case, and made a decision on calling a nationwide shutdown on Monday, December 19, 2011, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of December 18, 2011 reported.

NC also constituted its own probe committee and designated general secretary Krishna Sitaula a coordinator, Balkrishna Khand, Krishna Chandra Nepali, Shankar Bhandari and Chandra Bhandari the members according to ‘The Rising Nepal’ of December 18, 2011.

‘The Rising Nepal’ of December 18, 2011 wrote that many bus passengers and others were caught in the middle of their journey when the angry youths obstructed the traffic movement across the country all of a sudden. They burnt tires, going against their own commitments of the past not to resort to ‘tire burning’, bringing the traffic movement to a complete halt for about six hours in Kathmandu. The protesters damaged a motor vehicle and a scooter in Kathmandu. The angry youths in Chitwan vandalized the Bharatpur Airport for violating the shutdown by operating air services. They pelted stones at the office window, vandalized office chairs and made an attempt to attack a ready to take off plane of Buddha Air. After the incident, all flights to and from Bharatpur were cancelled. The demonstrators vandalized a truck and a tractor in Ratnanagar. According to the Pokhara correspondent of ‘The Rising Nepal’, the demonstrators vandalized a tourist bus, two taxis and a mini truck and a restaurant in Pokhara.

In the emergency NC Central Working Committee meeting held at the residence of President Sushil Koirala, some leaders belonging to the Sher Bahadur Deuba group demanded to suspend Bikash Koirala: NC president of Chitwan district for his alleged involvement in the attack on Shiva Poudel and his associates in the Chitwan jail ‘HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE’ of December 17, 2011 reported. Senior leader of NC Sher Bahadur Deuba did not attend the meeting. However, Deuba went to the Neuro Hospital after Poudel was declared dead, and demanded actions against Bikash Koirala for his involvement in assaulting Shiva Poudel.  Nepali Congress also charged cadres of Youth Association Nepal affiliated to the CPN-UML with their involvement in the attack.

‘HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE’ of December 17, 2011 also reported that an emergency cabinet meeting held late evening at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar decided to request the NC for calling off the planned shutdown on Monday, December 19, 2011 quoting Minister for Law and Justice Brijesh Kumar Gupta. The cabinet also set up a three-member judicial commission headed by former justice Mohan Prasad Sitaula of the Supreme Court of Nepal giving the mandate to investigate the case and report it within a month. The cabinet meeting also decided to provide the victim’s family with Rs 1 million for the compensation of the loss of the loved one. Concerning the declaration of Shiva Poudel a martyr as demanded by the NC, Minister Gupta said, “The government will take a decision after the judicial commission’s report.” Responding to the cabinet decision, NC Vice President Ram Chandra Poudel said, “The government has not withdrawn the lawsuit against Poudel and has not declared him a martyr. However, NC will assess the government response tomorrow and decide.”

NC lawmakers had obstructed the House session protesting against the assault on alleged murderer Shiva Poudel and his associates in the Chitwan jail. However, none of the lawmakers has even spoken a word against the killing of a jeweler in Lalitpur and another youth: an employee of the Nepal Airlines Corporation at Sinamangal recently. These lawmakers don’t think the lives of the common folks as precious as the lives of their cadres. Several recent cases of murder in Kathmandu have been pending but the Home Ministry has failed to do anything to track down the criminals, and has not suspended any police officers for not being able to find the criminals so far. However, the Home Minister has suspended the Chief District Officer of the Chitwan District, District Police Officer, guard and jailer of the Chitwan district for not being able to prevent the gang fight in the jail.

December 18, 2011

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