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Journalist’s murder sparks tension

world Updated: Jan 12, 2009 16:45 IST
Anirban Roy
Anirban Roy
Hindustan Times
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Even as gender-equality and women’s rights are top agenda of the Maoist-led government in “new” Nepal, gruesome murder of a woman journalist has created tension in the holy city of Janakpur and protests across the country.

A large group of armed miscreants on Sunday evening attacked journalist Uma Singh at her residence in Janakpur and serious injured her. The 26-year-old journalist succumbed to her injuries on way to the hospital.

Singh was a journalist with Janakpur Today Radio, and is the first Nepali woman journalist to be killed by miscreants.

The holy city of Janakpur, which is the abode of Sita, was tense and wore a pall of gloom as the funeral procession went around.

Since Monday morning all six FM radio stations in Janakpur are on mourning and are not airing any entertainment programme and news.

The leaders of Dhanusha unit of Federation of Nepalese Journalists held meeting with Chief District Officer Shambhu Koirala and demanded arrest of the culprits immediately.

Though police are yet to identify the armed gang, family members said Uma Singh was murdered for publishing an article in a magazine in Kathmandu.

Three years ago, Uma Singh’s father and elder brother had also disappeared from Mirchaiya village in Siraha district. Since then, the family always accused Maoist leaders for disappearance of father-son duo.

Demanding immediate arrest, journalist also staged protest demonstrations in front of the District Administration Office and the District Police Office.

They demanded resignation from the Prime Minister Prachanda and Home Minister Bamdev Gautam for their failure to provide security to women and journalists.

The situation in Janakpur was tense during the as unidentified armed groups threatened another woman journalist Manika Jha. Special security arrangements were made for Jha, the journalists claimed.

Protests were also staged in nearby Mahottari, Sarlahi, Sindhuli, Siraha and Saptari districts. In Bara districts, the journalists black badges. A high-level team of Federation of Nepalese Journalists, led by its President Dharmendra Jha left for Janakpur.

The members of Federation of Nepalese Journalists took out a protest rally at Ratna Park in Kathmandu. “The government should immediately arrest the culprits,” Poshan KC, General Secretary of Federation of Nepalese Journalists said.