As a photojournalist, I usually don't write much, preferring to use pictures. But a recent incident has filled me with so much anger and disgust that I am writing this.
As I was heading to work at 11AM on Wednesday, a group of YCL fighters blocked my path in the middle of the road in Lokhanthali. They let me pass after I showed my press pass and managed to reach Koteswor. There, a furious YCL guerrilla rushed towards me as if I was his enemy. "We actually don't want a Kantipur journalist to pass through," he spat, "you better get off your motorcycle and walk." Around me, others had also been forced to walk since none of them had heard of this sudden strike called by the Maoists. After walking about 200 metres, another YCL let me get back on my bike.
Years ago, I had to go through a similar experience during the king's rule and it brought back bad memories. We often had to go through such humiliating experiences at the hands of the security forces in those day, forced to tow our motorcycles past security checks.
At the office, I tried to figure out the differences between these two incidents but found none. The behaviour of the king's soldiers and the YCL was identical. The same arrogance and rudeness and disregard for the hardships of ordinary people.
During the king's repressive regime, the Maoists used to treat Kantipur as their own while reporting against the king's repression. Now we are considered their enemies because we report excesses like these. If this is their definition of a free press, what is the difference between Prachandapath and Gyanendrapath?