Hundreds of Political Prisoners in Nepali Prisons
Premier Collaborating with Criminal Groups
21 June 2007, Kathmandu:
by Mohan Nepali
While the pro-monarchy prime minister and ministers have been celebrating their heyday in power in the name of people’s
movement of April 2006, hundreds of political prisoners jailed under different tags have been spending their torturous
years in Nepal. Bhanubhakta Acharya, a Maoist political prisoner in the Central Jail of Kathmandu has been on an
indefinite hunger strike from 15 June demanding for the immediate release of political prisoners from all prisons of
Nepal. According to him, there are more than 100 Maoist political prisoners in different regional prisons. Besides there
is the lack of knowledge about the political prisoners unaffiliated to any political parties. Human rights groups of
Nepal state that it has become difficult for them to advocate specifically for the release of political prisoners
because many have doubtedly been imprisoned under different other criminal tags. Hundreds of prisoners kept under
different criminal tags in many districts of Nepal have been demanding for their immediate release.
The Ministry of Home Affairs has not been able to supply any particular details as to the number of political prisoners
in the country. The Home officials often boast that Nepal rarely does have prisoners of political conscience and if any
such case is reported they would take an immediate action. Human rights workers state their difficulty reporting about
such unidentified political prisoners. Despite the existence of dozens of human rights organizations in Nepal, they have
not produced any specific statistics of political prisoners.
The government daily newspaper the Gorkhapatra published today has drawn the attention of the government itself to the
continued undemocratic detention of political workers even after one year of the fall of the autocratic regime.
Almost 10 million Nepalis took out to the streets continuously up to 19 days and demanded an immediate abolition of
monarchy. To save feudal monarchy, the US Administration and the Indian ruling class persuaded the Nepali Congress
headed by Girija Prasad Koirala, the Nepali Congress headed by Sher Bahadur Deuba and the Emalay headed by Madhav Kumar
Nepal to accept the reinstitution of the dissolved House. King reinstituted the House just when millions of people were
heading towards the royal palace to end the monarchy and declare republic.
After the House was restored, the first thing done by it was to make a disguised democrat Girija Prasad Koirala the new
prime minister, who took oath not from the parliament but from the feudal monarch. He then made the restored House
declare the king’s successors. This was completely against the mandate of the movement that wanted to do away with
Maoists state that although they have honestly entered the peace process by depositing their weapons and guerrilla
fighters in the UN-monitored cantonments, the other rival parties have been playing underhand games to wipe out their
existence in the country. The Maoists have time and again urged the previously ruling political parties to show
ideological broadness in terms of long-term national well being. When their youth wing members requested the security
forces to capture criminals based on authentic information, the state slighted it. Consequently, they began to capture
criminals themselves. Then the criminals, too, have turned on them. On later days, they have faced more attacks from
armed criminal groups. Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala has reportedly met several leaders of the Madhesi Janadhikar
Forum (MJF), an armed group that massacred 29 unarmed Maoist party workers on 20 March in Rautahat district. Human
rights field reports indicated that none of them was killed in a clash. Several women were murdered after rape and
torture. However, the government has not arrested anybody from the MJF so far. Instead, Prime Minister Koirala two days
ago met the second leaders of the armed group Kishor Bishwas and Laxman Karna in his official quarter and talked about
how to teach Maoists a lesson on coming days. Prime Minister Koirala, political analysts point out, does not want to let
Maoists flourish no matter how democratic and liberal they become. Those familiar with the prime minister’s psychology
guarantee that all he does in the name of coalition and cooperation with leftists is aimed at destroying Nepal’s Marxist
and socialist forces. While the prime minister seems busy exercising on how to strengthen his own hereditary rule (his
son and daughter are powerful leaders in his party on the queue to succeed him like Gandhi family members did in India
in the past), the national agenda of the constituent assembly and state restructuring have got little prime ministerial
Similarly, while the government has been concentrating how to wipe the influence of Maoists among the majority of
grassroot rural and urban masses, many political prisoners have not got attention even from mass media that call
themselves the “voice of the voiceless”.
Most surprisingly, the Maoist participants in the government themselves have been helpless in the matter of their own
political prisoners. The Maoist ministers say that the prime minister and other related ministers evade their complaints
and proposals under different personal and institutional pretexts.
Due to the existing culture of corruption, inactivity and evasiveness to which the Maoists’ rival parties are well-used,
Maoists, the new entrants, have not been able to convince the optimistic people about their accountability after their
entry into the government.