Government Wants Us to Think that Airport is the World

Travel Ban Continues in Nepal

The royal government is not tired of repeating that everyone is free to travel within and outside Nepal. That’s in plain words. It does just opposite. Nepalis willing to travel abroad go to the international airport with all their documents: valid tickets, visas etc. When they are about to board the flight, some officials from the government suddenly pop up on the tarmac and serve them vague orders there by effectively canceling the travel. Many prominent personalities have gone through such ordeal. For Chitra Lekha Yadav, deputy speaker of the dissolved House of Representative, today was the fourth time since the Feb 1 royal takeover when civil liberties and democracy were suspended.

This morning, a team of politicians and journalists was forced to cancel the Pakistan visit when one member of the team was barred from flying. Nabaraj Subedi, former Member of Parliament and General Secretary of Samyukta Jana Morcha, one of the seven political parties that are planning a mass movement for democracy, was stopped at the airport. Security personnel stopped him and other members of the team wanted to why he was barred from going to Pakistan. Police informed about the incident to “higher authorities”. Still, Subedi wasn’t allowed to travel. Expressing solidarity to Subedi, other members of the cancelled the trip.

The team included Bishnu Nishthuri and Mahendra Bista, president and general secretary, respectively, of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ). Others in the team were Jhalanath Khanal and Predeep Nepal of CPN UML, Binayadhowj Chand and Dilendra Prasad Badu or NC, Gopal Man Shrestha of NCD, CP Mainali of CPM ML and Ramchandra Raya of RPP. All of these parties except RPP are members of the recently formed United Front for the restoration of democracy in Nepal. They were going to Pakistan to participate in the South Asian Parliamentary Forum to be organized from May 14-21 by South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).

In a press release issued by Balaram Baniya, secretary of FNJ, the umbrella organization of journalists have condemned the government decision to restrict movement of citizens terming it undemocratic and unconstitutional.

Prominent journalist Kanak Mani Dixit was barred twice from flying abroad. At the first instance, he just returned from the airport and stayed in Kathmandu. When he was bounced back from the airport last Friday for the second time, he didn’t just keep quite. He took a ride all the way to the Indian boarder and from India took a flight to Colombo, Sri Lanka. He participated in a conference and, to the surprise of the authorities, returned Nepal this Wednesday.

2 Comments »

Why is freedom of expression stopped if the king is right, democratic and doing as per the aspirations of the people? Yes, freedom of expression is dangerous for an autocratic regime.

Comment by Vishnu — 5/14/2005 @ 5:01 pm

Hey UWB, it’s not the govt’s mistake if it wants u to think that TIA is the world……rather it’s your mistake that you think so. I think the govt is won on convincing you that. Think about it. You journos are the ones who wright news with 50pt font on the front page if some one is barred from boarding a plane at TIA. If you think govt is wrong then why the hue and cry huh??

Comment by Electra — 5/16/2005 @ 4:23 pm

Published by UWB

Pioneering blog from Nepal...since 2004.

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