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Victory Of Criminals Over Rule Of Law

Issue 25, June 19, 2011

Siddhi B. Ranjitkar

Release of Chairman of Youth Association of Nepal (YAN) Mahesh Basnet and his accomplices under the pressure of the YAN and the students’ organization affiliated to the CPN-UML is the clear victory of criminals over the rule of law in Nepal. It also indicates that Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal has been not only the Chairman of the CPN-UML but also the leader of the organizations associated with the criminal gangs. So, he has lost legitimacy to remain in office. The police have arrested Mahesh Basnet while preparing to hold a press conference at the River Side Resort in Itahari in Eastern Nepal on Thursday, June 16, 2011. He has publicly said that Parshuram Basnet: the man charged with the assault on reporter Khilnath Dhakal in Biratnagar on June 5, 2011, has been under his protection but has not turned him over to the police for legal proceedings. Wearing the masks of leaders of one political party or another, such so-called political leaders associated with criminal gangs have disappointed the Nepalis aspiring to the rule of law. Reporters also need to maintain their reporting ethics rather than following the party line they are affiliated.

On the morning of Thursday, June 16, 2011, the police have arrested Mahesh Basnet while he is preparing for holding a press conference at the River Side Resort in Itahari in Eastern Nepal. Previously, Mr. Basnet has said that Parshuram Basnet allegedly involved in deadly assault on reporter Khilnath Khanal in Biratnagar is in his protection and would turn him over to the police only after the police prove that Parshuram Basnet is involved in assaulting reporter Khilnath Dhakal in Biratnagar

Mahesh Basnet is the leader of YAN: a new incarnation of Youth Force, Prime Minister Khanal has set up and has been once very proud of it. At that time, Mr. Khanal has said that his party has set up the Youth Force to fight against the bullying of the YCL of the UCPN-Maoist if need with weapons. So, clearly, YAN has not deviated from its ideology of violence and has strictly maintained it since its creation.

On the night of Sunday, June 5, 2011, Youth Force Morang District Chief Parshuram Basnet has attempted on the life of reporter of the newspaper called ‘Nagarik’ Khilnath Dhakal for publishing an investigative report on the gang attack Parshuram Basnet has made against the rival group. Fortunately, Mr. Dhaka has survived the attack and has been undergoing medical treatment at a hospital.

The police have been searching for Parshuram Basnet but could not find him because of the protection given to him by his boss Mahesh Basnet: the leader of YAN. As the first step toward the arrest of the criminal, the police have taken Mahesh Basnet under the custody on June 16, 2011 for giving protection to the criminal. Then, the members of the YAN and students’ organization called All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (ANNFSU) affiliated to the CPN-UML have gone on a rampage and burned down vehicles and shut down traffic and markets in various parts of the country protesting against the arrest of their leader Mahesh Basnet and demanding the immediate release of him, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 17, 2011 writes. In Kathmandu, they set fire on the government vehicle.

Some so-called students have even damaged school buses elsewhere in Nepal. In the name of students, most probably gangsters have been acting on behalf of YAN and ANNFSU. Really students would never vandalize the school buses because they know the importance of school buses and their cost. However, criminal-minded gangsters wearing the mask of members of ANNFSU and YAN must have committed the criminal acts.

Political parties have set the tradition of employing criminals for enforcing the shutdowns they call for getting their demands met. Recently, even small parties not previously known political parties have enforced shutdowns in Nepal deploying criminals for burning down vehicles plying on the streets and forcibly closing markets and business of other people not related to their demands.

These so-called organizations affiliated to the CPN-UML have also declared the shutdown of Nepal on Friday, June 18, 2011 demanding the immediate release of their boss Mahesh Basnet. The current government has been helpless and has been at the mercy of the organizations that have clearly shown the characters of criminal gangs. So, the Home Minister has invited the leaders of these organizations to talk to them about the release of the boss of YAN.

General Secretary of YAN Niraj Acharya, Chief of Youth Wing of CPN-UML Yogesh Bhattarai and Minister Ghanashyam Bhusal among others have represented the protest group to talk to the Home Minister concerning the undesirable situation in the country after the arrest of the man called Mahesh Basnet for protecting Parshuram Basnet allegedly involved in the assault on the reporter Dhakal in Biratnagar. The Home Minister has agreed on releasing Mahesh Basnet on the condition that the group of the organizations supporting the criminals involved in the attempt on the life of the reporter would cooperate on finding the criminals. Then, the YAN and the ANNFSU have called off the previously declared the nation-wise shutdown to be enforced on Friday, June 17, 2011.

Is it the rule of law or the rule of gangsters? If it is the rule of law, the criminals making an attempt on the life of a reporter need to be in jail rather than at the offices of the organizations affiliated to the CPN-UML. Obviously, it is the rule of gangsters because members of the gangsters dictate the government what to do otherwise they would show their strength on the streets closing down everything in the country until their demands are met. This is not a new phenomenon but the old sickness the country has contracted after the criminals have started entering the party offices and running them in their interest. Now, none of the political parties could survive without the support of the criminal gangs.

At the meeting held with the representatives of YAN, Youth Wing of the CPN-UML and the ANNFSU, the government has also agreed to pay for the medical-treatment of those students and YAN leaders injured in the clashes with the security police that have attempted to keep them away from committing any further criminal acts in Kathmandu, in Biratnagar and Itahari districts. At the same time, the so-called youth and student leaders have demanded the public apology of the Home Minister for deploying the police to maintain law and order. So, we can imagine how far the criminals have made victory over the rule of law in Nepal.

The two sides have also agreed on cooperating on the detailed investigation into the attempted murder of reporter Khilnath Dhakal in which YAN members allegedly involved. YAN Morang chairman Parshuram Basnet is allegedly involved in the assault on reporter Dhakal, Chief of Youth Wing of CPN-UML Yogesh Bhattarai has told reporters after the meeting, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 17, 2011 writes. They have also agreed on holding a round table meeting with members of Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), YAN and the government for finding out the ways and means of resolving the incident of the assault on reporter Dhakal, ‘The Rising Nepal’ of June 17, 2011 writes.

On Monday, June 6, 2011, the second day of the assault on reporter Khilnath Dhakal, President of FNJ Shiva Gaunle has led a delegation to meet Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara holding the portfolio of Home Minister at his office and has drawn the minister’s attention to the assault on reporter Dhakal, and demanded immediate actions against the criminals. President of FNJ Gaunle also has reminded the deputy prime minister of similar incidents have been happening elsewhere in Nepal recently but the government has failed in taking any actions against the criminals.

On June 12, 2011, members of the Morang Chapter of FNJ have held a protest rally in Biratnagar demanding the government to bring the assailants to justice. It has been already six days since the assailants have seriously injured reporter Khilnath Dhakal in Biratnagar but the police have not been able to arrest the culprits, the members of FNJ have said to the Home Minister.

On June 12, 2011, Deputy Prime Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara holding the portfolio of Home has said that the security personnel have not been able to arrest the assailant because of the political protection the assailant has received. DPM Mahara met with Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal seeking his cooperation on arresting the alleged assailant Parshuram Basnet.

On June 15, 2011, members of the FNJ have held one-hour rally at the Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu, and various parts of Nepal demanding the arrest of Parshuram Basnet involved in the assault on reporter Dhakal. Some of the speakers at the rally have severely criticized the government for not bringing the culprits to justice rather letting them commit crimes with impunity.

On June 16, 2011, members of YAN, Youth Wing of CPN-UML and the ANNFSU affiliated to the CPN-UML went on a rampage in Biratnagar clashing with the police, burning vehicles and announcing a countrywide shutdown for putting the pressure on the police to release the assailants. The local administration has imposed a prohibition on holding any rally in Biratnagar until 9 P.M to avoid any violence.

On June 17, 2011, in a statement issued, the FNJ Nawalparasi chapter has said that it would not cover the news about Ministers and cadres of YAN unless the assailants of Khilnath Dhakal punished; President of FNJ Nawalparasi chapter Homraj Ranabhat has accused the government of covering up the assailants instead of bringing them to justice; and has also demanded strong actions against chairman of YAN Mahesh Basnet and YAN Morang chairman Parshuram Basnet, ‘The Himalayan times’ online of today reports.

On June 18, 2011, chief of YAN Mahesh Basnet that has been brought into limelight after the police have arrested him on charges of protecting criminal Parshuram Basnet has ordered his cadres to counter the movement of the FNJ Morang chapter if necessary making false charges on the FNJ activists, ‘The Himalayan Times’ online of today writes.

At the same time, Vice-chairman of CPN-UML Bamdev Gautam has said that his party would take actions against Mahesh Basnet if he refuses to leave the police custody. Mahesh Basnet has refused to leave the police custody demanding the apology of the Home Minister for arresting him. How powerful criminals have been in Nepal.

Chief of Publicity Department of CPN-UML Pradeep Gyawali has called on Parshuram Basnet allegedly involved in the deadly assault on reporter Khilnath Dhakal to surrender to the police for investigation into the allegation and prove his innocence. Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal has also said that the perpetrators of violence against reporter Khilnath Dhakal would not go free with impunity.

However, on Thursday, June 16, 2011, the government has surrendered its authority to the criminals that have stopped traffic, burned down vehicles and even threatened to shut down the nation on Friday, June 17, 2011 if the government holds Mahesh Basnet anymore, and agreed on setting free the man protecting the criminal that has assaulted reporter Dhakal. So, whatever the leaders of CPN-UML have been saying is only for covering up their cadres with criminal background.

The Nepalese private-print media and FM radios have been conspicuously unreliable because of the unbridled freedom they have enjoyed to publish and air news and views in Nepal. Consequently, serious Nepalis have been careful to believe in the materials published by the private newspapers. Some Nepalis have relied only on the state-run newspapers such as ‘Gorkhapatra’ in Nepali and ‘The Rising Nepal’ in English, and the state-run radio ‘Radio Nepal.’

The state-run newspapers and radio have their weakness. They certainly follow the party line of the political power in the government but these media maintain credibility publishing and airing the truth only and don’t rush to make public anything based on the hearsay without verification. Unfortunately, most of the private news media and radios are not serious enough to verify the news and views they receive for publication and for airing.

In absence of a serious law that makes the media owners liable for publishing and airing news and views in Nepal, the media owners need to maintain self discipline, and publish and air only the verifiable materials so that Nepalis could entirely depend on the private media and don’t need to wait for the state-run media for making sure that the news and the views they have received are really the true ones.

Most of the reporters follow the party line they are affiliated. So, rival groups tend to fight; then reporters become the victims of such fights. Reporters need to be impartial and report every facts and figures without prejudice. Reporters have been the targets of governments, criminal groups and politicians tended to be criminals. Reporters need to be careful about the reporting, and certainly impartial and defend their ethics of reporting. They need to fight for the rule of law, defend the human rights, and fight against the tendency of criminalization of politics, and institutionalization of corruption in the administration and in the politics, and never allow the victory of criminals over the rule of law.

June 18, 2011

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