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HindustanTimes Tue,02 Sep 2014

World

Online campaign launched for jailed Nepali teacher
Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times
Kathmandu, May 10, 2013
First Published: 13:32 IST(10/5/2013)
Last Updated: 00:57 IST(11/5/2013)

An online campaign is underway seeking release of a Nepali teacher who has been lodged in a Qatari jail for over a week now on charges of insulting Islam.

Dorje Gurung, a chemistry teacher of the Doha-based Qatar Academy, who hails from Pokhara in Nepal, was arrested last Wednesday, on charges of insulting Islam. He has denied the charge.

Gurung, who was fired last week following an argument with three 12-year-old students of the school in April, was preparing the leave Qatar when he was arrested and put in jail.

Reports say Gurung was being harassed by the students for his Mongoloid looks, but things turned worse when he reportedly asked them to refrain from stereotyping people.

The teacher has been accused to terming all Muslims as terrorists, but reports say his statement to students on how would they feel if they are stereotyped as terrorists was given a wrong interpretation.

If convicted, Gurung, could be sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Reports say he has no legal representation and the Nepali embassy in Doha is trying to get in touch with him.

As the news of the arrest reached Nepal, a campaign to release the teacher, who has spent 24 years abroad pursuing higher studies in USA and UK and then teaching in nearly dozen countries, has begun.

Gurung’s friends since his schooldays at the prestigious St. Xavier’s School in Kathmandu have started a Facebook page called Free Dorje Gurung to drum up support for his release.

The former students are trying to exert pressure on the country’s foreign affairs ministry to take up the matter with the Qatar government.

An online petition is also being signed urging the Qatar government to release Gurung from his “wrongful imprisonment”.


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