Nepali Times
From The Nepali Press
Who’s responsible?

The news of the death of Krishna Sen "Ichhuk" resulting from intense and inhuman torture in police custody has shocked not only us in Nepal, but journalists all over the world. The first responsibility of any government is to protect the lives of its citizens and also that of foreigners within its territory. The government stops fulfilling that responsibility when it begins murdering citizens it has taken into custody for investigation. Such governments can be sued at the international court. If there are more murders like that of Krishna Sen, the governments (responsible for them) are rejected by the people when it comes time to ask for their support.

Of course, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that anyone-a journalist or a litterateur-would have to face punishment if they have been engaged in terrorist activities. And that everyone has to be ready to face punishment that is meted out in accordance with the law. But the constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal abolishes the death penalty and says that no laws will be made toward that end. In other words, even if government sticks the terrorist label on its detainees, it cannot enforce the death penalty.

The activities of the Maoists were terrorist acts from the very beginning. They attacked the police who were deployed to protect the people and their property; they attacked and killed Nepali Congress workers and even teachers. They attacked development projects. That is why those who thought, when they were doing that, that they were a friendly force, and those who came into power with their support, must also bear the responsibility for their acts. Our constitution does not allow anyone to move around with illegal weapons, but between July and November last year this same government allowed them to organise public meetings where they showcased their weapons. The Maoists built up their organisation on the basis of strength derived from carrying weapons and also set up 'people's governments' in the villages. In these people's governments they appointed a few of their own cadre and more locals fed up with the NC or the Rastriya Prajatantra Party. The Maoists that knew that the talks were only a front, and vanished underground after the emergency was imposed. Now those locals who were in the people's governments have become cannon fodder for the security forces. These incidents will become clear once the state of emergency is lifted. Whether he still occupies this seat, or even of he is out of it by then, the responsibility for these actions lies heavy on the shoulders of the prime minister.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)