Nepali Times Asian Paints
From The Nepali Press
YCL terror in Qatar


21 August, 2008?exactly 111 days after I was transferred to the Arab Bureau of Kantipur, I was invited to a political program. Maoist leaders CP Gajurel and Matrika Yadav were attending and the government was about to be formed. The event was organized by a Maoist sister organization here, Jana Pragatisheel Manch. Although no invitation had been sent to Kantipur, these were public figures and I decided to cover the event. At Doha Airport, I met Yadav, who is from my own district Dhanusa and he was chummy, saying we should get together. We drove to Dukhan, 100 km from Doha. At the venue, we were welcomed by a dozen YCL followers sporting red bandanas with stars on them. Gajurel was speaking, and I took a few pictures. Suddenly a YCL cadre pushed me roughly and ordered me to go out. I figured maybe I was blocking his view, changed my position and took some more pictures. This time, he dragged me out, demanding to know why I was there without an invitation. I tried to argue that I was a journalist and I had a right to be there. The youngster was drunk on luma, a homemade brew available here. Another intoxicated Maoist pushed me around. I was thrown to the ground by 30 to 40 Maoists. A skinny YCL cadre took away my camera. I then called my colleague at the Doha office, Dipendra Bhattarai and told him what was happening. He immediately called the ambassador, who was still inside at the function. If the ambassador hadn't come to my aid, I cannot say if I would have lived or not. On his insistence, the Maoists returned my camera but kept the memory card which contained all my pictures of the past four months. Just then Gajurel came out and saw me pinned down by the YCLs. I shouted out to him: "Is this the democracy you are trying to establish?" Gajurel said he had talked to his followers to return the memory card, and with that he got into the ambassador's car. Even when I pleaded for help, he did not say anything. Then the Madhesi leader, Matrika Yadav walked in. He intervened, I was eventually released and the memory card was returned.

Journalists like Dekendra Thapa and Birendra Shah have died at the hands of the Maoists, and chairman Prachanda has apologised for it. But the Maoists now need to understand that anarchic actions like these can harm bilateral relations between Qatar and Nepal and jeopardize the status of the 300,000 Nepalis working here. The Maoists can't get away with this intimidation and violence in Qatar's strict legal system. Nepali society will never forgive them for the consequences.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)