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Attack mode

Friday, April 2nd, 2010

The three women killed by Nepal Army soldiers in Bardiya National Park on 10 March were not poachers as claimed by the army and the defence minister, National Human Rights Commission has said. Republica writes:

“A study of the evidence shows that the deceased Devisara BK, Amrita BK and Chandra Kala BK visited Baspani area in Bardiya National Park to collect bark of the kaulo tree,” NHRC said in its report, “There is no ground for saying that they carried weapons and were involved in poaching.”

The finding of the national rights watchdog is contrary to the claim of the Nepal Army. In a statement on March 22, the army had said that the women were poachers and were carrying weapons. A court of inquiry from the army had also given a clean chit to the security personnel involved in the killing.

Defence Minister Bidya Bhandari is no stranger to controversies. On Thursday she was accused of impeding the peace process after she announced that the army has resumed recruitment to fill vacant positions. The Kathmandu Post writes:

“I gave a go-ahead for the recruitment of technical manpower in the Army before leaving for Beijing on an official visit,” Defence Minister Bidhya Bhandari told reporters on Thursday. She said the government will approve the intake in the infantry soon.

The government had stopped recruitment in the Army following Supreme Court’s March 2009 stay order, which came in response to INHURED International’s petition against the Army’s bid to recruit 3,010 soldiers last year.

The Maoist party has claimed that this decision contradicts the peace agreement. Kantipur writes:

“The decision to open recruitment even after the Supreme Court had ordered not to violates the peace agreement. There is no reason for us to the part of the peace process, we will leave it.” Maoist army in-chare Barshaman Pun said.

Bhandari has claimed that the recruitment will only fill older vacant positions, and will not create any new posts or increase the overall size of the army.

A sad note to end on: over a hundred houses were burnt to the ground in a fire at a landless settlement in Badarjhula, Chitwan. No casualties have been reported so far, but the fire which started at 3 p.m. on Friday afternoon was said to be spreading until late in the evening.

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