Freedom Forum vehemently condemns the series of attacks on peaceful election campaigning in different parts of the country.
As Nepal is all set to holding the second round of the elections to the House of Representatives and Provincial parliament in 45 districts two days later (on December 7), the attacks on election candidates has not only worried political parties and candidates but also badly panicked voters and raised security threat to journalists.
The fatal injuries on the election campaigners and candidates with bomb blasts have grown severe concern from various sides.
Former minister, a youth leader and constituency no 4 election candidate to the House of Representatives from Kathmandu, Gagan Thapa, was attacked during his door-to-door election campaign at Chapali, Kathmandu, on December 4. Thapa received minor injuries while his two supporters are said to be in critical condition.
Similarly, election candidate in Udayapur, a district in southern plains, Narayan Karki, and his supporter Ms Meera Katuwal sustained severe injuries as the vehicle they were riding was exploded by an ambush a week back. Katuwal had to get her leg amputated, while leader Karki had both his legs fractured.
Eight Journalists arrested
FF has also come to know that eight journalists were arrested by security persons from different districts across the country for their alleged ‘role of anti-election activities’.
The fellow journalists close to the arrested ones claimed they were held without sufficient ground.
FF is investigating into the arrests.
Such incidents come at a time when the people are exercising the most democratic practice of selecting their representatives through secret ballot are the sheer violation of their rights.
Similarly, with the series of bombing and detonation of IEDs (Improvised Explosive Devices), the atmosphere for free reporting is at the receiving end.
To this, FF Executive Chief, Mr Taranath Dahal, observes: “Peaceful atmosphere is pre-requisite for voters to exercise their rights in a fear-free atmosphere. Also, peaceful atmosphere is required for free and fair reporting. But, the series of blasts targeting peaceful election campaign have put voters, candidates and journalists to risk. So, in order to protect and promote people’s right to freedom of expression, and right to vote, and journalists’ right to free reporting, peace must be ensured, otherwise it would erode democratic values.”
FF therefore strongly urges the government, political parties, security agencies and other stakeholders to play their roles to create conducive atmosphere for free and fair elections.
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