3-9 November 2017 #882

Dhungel in dungeon

Editorial in Nagarik, 1 November

It took Nepal Police eight years to nab Maoist Centre leader Balkrishna Dhungel whom the Supreme Court had sentenced to life imprisonment. When Police Chief Prakash Aryal refused to follow the Court’s order to arrest him, Aryal himself had to face a contempt of court. It can be understood that the main reason the Police did not arrest the man was because of political pressure. It is disappointing that an accused found guilty of murder by the courts cannot be arrested by the Police. A photograph showing Dhungel sharing the podium with the Police Chief at a function (left)became symbolic of the state of impunity in this country. After removing a king, we now have many kings who seem to be above the law. This a worrying situation for the future of democracy in this country.

Even though Dhungel was moving around in broad daylight in full view of the public, the state was pretending it couldn’t find him. Chief Justice Sushila Karki had to issue an order to the Police to catch Dhungel within one week. Even then, Dhungel was at large and after the left alliance was formed he seemed to have been even more emboldened. This confirms the suspicion that with the alliance between the UML and Maoist Centre human rights violations and transitional justice will face a setback. This will entrench impunity even more, and there will increase public outrage as well as the pain of the families of the victims of conflict.

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