Rights body asks Nepal to probe deaths during statute protests

  • Utpal Parashar, Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
  • Updated: Oct 16, 2015 17:16 IST
Demonstrators affiliated with the Maoist Communist Centre in Nepal take part in a protest as they shout anti-India slogans near the Indian embassy in Kathmandu. (REUTERS FILE )

Authorities in Nepal have been asked by an international human rights organisation to investigate the deaths that took place during protests against the new statute in the past two months.

New York-based Human Rights Watch issued a report on Friday saying those responsible for the 45 deaths and other violations in Madhes, the southern plains bordering India, should be brought to book.

It said use of arbitrary and disproportionate force, extra-judicial killing of protesters by police, killing of children and murder of policemen took place during the violent protests in August and September.

“Disagreements cannot be resolved by committing serious human rights abuses,” said Brad Adams, Asia director of HRW.

“The government has the responsibility to ensure there are impartial and effective investigations and cannot simply look the other way”.

In its 44-page report, HRW looked into the deaths of 25 people, 16 protesters and 9 policemen, and found no evidence that any of these victims were posing a threat at any time that they were killed.

The report, documents instances of police opening fire at a hospital injuring people and of killing protesters without attempting to make arrests.

There is mention of how a 14-year-old boy was dragged from behind bushes, pinned to the ground and shot on his face. An unarmed protester, Sanjay Chaudhari, was shot in the back when he attempted to flee.

Both victims died as a result of their wounds.

The report blamed the government for failing to initiate discussions to end the protests and violence, and also for failing to take any action against the policemen involved in rights abuses.

“Nepal’s new leadership should take immediate steps to stem the tide of abuse that has overtaken Nepal the last few months,” said Adams.

Madhesis have been protesting against demarcation of states in the new statute for the past two months. They say structure of the new states will leave them underrepresented in state and national legislatures.

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