By Dinesh Wagle
Updated on 03 AM GMT June 9: Police released all journalists this morning who were arrested from a protest rally in Kathmandu yesterday. Journalists were requested to sign a paper that stated, not exact wordings, “Some people who were arrested today for ignoring the prohibitory orders…have been released..” They didn’t mention specifically about journalist. Scribes replaced People with Journalists to correct the record.
From inside a jail, Nepal journalists vow to continue their crusade for freedom All Pics by Wagle.
Talking to United We Blog! from inside a detention center in Kathmandu, Bishnu Nishturi, president of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) condemned the forceful police intervention in this afternoon’s peaceful demonstration of scribes and the arrest of some four dozen journalists without warrants. “We will continue this fight [for the restoration of freedom of expression and democracy in Nepal]. Today’s unlawful arrest of journalists has proved that this government wants to have total control over the press. But we will fight to the end.”
Journalist friend who are outside will stage demonstrations countrywide against the manhandling of scribes today, the president told me over the mobile phone. He also said that today’s arrest and police intervention have made journalists even more firm on their crusade for democracy and press freedom in Nepal.
Matrika Poudel, a journalist with Nepal One TV and contributer of United We Blog! in Nepali resisted the arrest for about a minute but at last police threw him inside the van.
Bishnu Nishturi told me that all journalists in detention have refused to eat food provided by the state saying that their detention was unconstitutional and against the spirit of the free press. “We have managed to have food on ourselves,” he said. I have gathered from other source that journalists eat Mo Mo, a popular Nepali fast food. When I called his at 10:06 PM, he and other journalists were preparing to sleep. “Police haven’t mistreated us as of now and have provided things to sleep,” said Nishturi.
Punam Baskota, Cameraperson of Kantipur TV, looks at Wagle’s camera from inside a police van after she was arrested this afternoon.
Police have not told them the reason for their arrest, Surendra Pandey, president of FNJ Kantipur Television Chapter, who was also arrested and been kept in the same detention center with Nishturi told me over the phone. “We didn’t eat the police-provided food to protest,” he said. Both journalists and other in the hall were in jubilant mood, which is not unusual because the all powerful authorities and police saw threat on unarmed journalists and arrested them manhandling some.
How The Arrest Took Place?
Around 3 hundred journalists gathered in Bhrikuti Mandap, a park and former ‘industrial’ exhibition zone in Kathmandu, as per the publicly declared plan. At around 4:15, they carried out the rally led by Nishturi and other senior journalists. Even before journalists started their rally, police closed down the exit and entrance gate of the Mandap. In a sense, all journalists were prisoner. They headed toward the exit gate, 100 meters far from where the rally started. Police stopped them at the main gate. About 10 scribes got out form a small gate attached to the bigger one. About 10 plainclothes police started pushing and pulling journalists while those in uniform watched the show.
Look How They Whisked Him
An unidentified reporter being whisked away by the uniformed and plainclothes police
Then scribes started shouting slogans against the royal government demanding press freedom. “Down with Autocracy,” journalists screamed. While they were shouting slogans, I was busy clicking images of the scene from the tall wall of the main gate. I felt like jumping down the floor and start shouting. I thought I should report what has happened. That is also an important job. After the hustling and bustling of about 7 minutes, police forcefully pulled out some journalists including Nishturi from inside the gate and threw them inside the police van. There were four van waiting outside the road known as Exihibition Road or Pradarshani Marga.
Kathmandu District Administration office had issued an order a few weeks ago prohibiting any kind of demonstrations and mass meetings in certain areas in Kathmandu like Exihibition Road, Ratna Park, Putalisadak etc. Bhrikuti Mandap is not included in the prohibitory list.
After the arrest took place, those remaining inside the Mandap tried to go outside the Mandap from another gate. Police were waiting there to arrest them. Avoiding the arrest, they went back to the ground from where the rally originated and held a mass meeting that was addressed by senior journalists, human rights activists and lawyers. “A dog fears water when it is mad,” Editor Shyam Shrestha said, “And a government fears journalists when it is mad. This government is mad and does not know what it is really doing.”
Journalists shouted slogans against the royal government after police stopped them at the gate of Bhrikuti Mandap and before the arrest took place
Protest in Pokhara
Journalists in Pokhara, West Nepal, halted the traffic in the busy Mahendra Pul road for 10 minutes on the afternoon of June 8 demanding press freedom in the country. Pic by Dinesh Regmi
17 Comments »
Look at these horrific pictures: Four or five thugs of KG arresting one journalist. This shows how much the pen is mightier than the gun. This also shows how much autocrats fear the voice of freedom. This shows the end of autocracy is coming in to Nepal.
Every autocrats try to suppress the voice of freedom just like in these pictures and while doing so, they do not they their end is coming. They know only when the end really comes and whisks them away from the reign. Journalists, keep up your job guys. The whole free world is with you.
Comment by Moon — 6/8/2005 @ 11:57 pm
Go journos and lawyers at the frontline. Miilions are behind you. Don’t afraid of gyandendra’s restricted zones. Remember Gyanendra’s brother was forced to give in only after millions marched to the palace.
Comment by Upadhyaya — 6/9/2005 @ 12:49 am
How come Dinesh Wagle is not caught by Police yet? …lol
Comment by Chankhe — 6/9/2005 @ 8:52 am
The King hangs by a thin-red-thread that the Democratic Forces led by Journalist and other activist are about to break !!
It is better to deal with the OUTDATED MONARCHY NOW, THAN TO WAIT FOR THE CROWN PRINCE WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE MENTAL CAPACITY TO RULE…
Comment by http://web.archive.org/web/20050624083950/http://www.kkcr.org/ — 6/9/2005 @ 12:21 pm
Where on earth can you hold rallies in restricted places? These are not even journalists. Very few of them actually work for newspapers. They are NGO workers, thugs, blackmailers in the disguise of journalists. Besides, not all publication houses are involved in this useless rallies. Not Himalayan Times, not Rajdhani, not Samacharpatra, not People’s review, not Hindu, not Spotlight, etc.
Comment by Lawyer — 6/9/2005 @ 12:28 pm
Even in cities like Dhaka-famous for its rallies and daily protests, one cannot hold demonstrations infront of the jama mosque, in the main thoroughfare linking the presidential palace and the Prime Minister’s residence. The primary reason is that it disturba traffic and creates unnecessary hassle to the general people. It creates trouble to school children. Here, everything seems permissible. These journalists are holding these rallies, we know, only to get publicity and nothing else. How can they hold protests against an ordinance that has never been brought out? I don’t understand this. It is utterly crazy and silly.
Comment by Rehman — 6/9/2005 @ 12:32 pm
YES, THESE JOURNALISTS ARE PARTY CADRES AND WANT PUBLICITY. THEY WANT TO BARGE INTO RESTRICTED ZONES JUST TO SHOW THEY ARE BRAVE. BUT THEY ARE THE MOST COWARD PEOPLE. THEY DISTURB OUR DAILY LIVES AND DISTURB TRAFFIC. THEY ARE NOT JOURNALISTS. THEY ARE A CURSE FOR OUR SOCIETY. THEY ASK FOR MONEY AND BLACKMAIL POLITICIANS, BUSINESSPERSONS, ETC. THEY HAVE EVEN MURDERED ONE CINE ACTRESS BECAUSE THEY SHOWED A NUDE PHOTO OF HER IN THE NEWSPAPER WHICH PROMPTED HER TO SUICIDE.
Comment by Samrat — 6/9/2005 @ 1:01 pm
Stop disrupting traffic !! We don’t care if you want to shout your heads off in Tundikhel, but don’t take away our democratic right to travel freely, all in the name of DEMOCRAZY !!! You guys are just a bunch of pathetic losers…shouting for corrupt leaders.. you don’t represent the nepali population…50 guys shouting.. a pathetic JOKE !!
Comment by dontstoptraffic — 6/9/2005 @ 1:28 pm
A gathering of a useless bunch of idiots…with nothing better to do than participate in politically sponsered rallies. People who praise the antics of these thugs are just as useless having nothin to do but sitting at home. Freedom of the Press is must but at what price. INstead of Black clth over their heads and mouth they should put YELLOW cloth to show exactly what they are…a bunch of yellow bellied journalist. Even the media needs some control, the media in USA also has to answer to someone for wrong doings. Only in Nepal can FM stations broadcast News on a regulat daily basis, our neighbours India too does not allow FM stations to broadcast news. FM channels are more used for entertainment and infotainment. Just because we are in Nepal we think we can take out a rally for any excuse. Most of the media houses are backed by some political party, now since their inflow of cash has stopped they want the door open for the money to flow back in. Each and every publication is bias in some way or other, no one has the guts to to lead from the front and cover events as they really happen. I feel sorry for Nepal if this is what the country has come to.
Comment by Sunil — 6/9/2005 @ 2:00 pm
These Journalists are paid hooligans of the corrupt politician. Nepali will not shed any tears for them. They should be beaten up the police as they were also the part of the loot the corrupt politician did in the past
Comment by hari — 6/9/2005 @ 3:50 pm
Look at the names of the journalists arrested. Nobody even has heard their names. Do they work for papers or for marwari businessmen??
Comment by Sanjeev — 6/9/2005 @ 9:56 pm
It seems to me many in Nepal want to revert back to the 15th or 16th centuries, and have their fates decided for them by a bunch of inbred idiots called “the royal family”. That way they don’t have to take any responsibility for the state of their country; everything can be blamed on the Gods and astrological signs.
Comment by Manish — 6/9/2005 @ 11:00 pm
To Sanjeev, Hari and friends!
Amazing, how good you write English. Amazing, that you can use the computer. Usually such mindsets use to fade, if people can use the Internet and become modern international cybercitizens.
But all of you, you are great examples, that higher technical abilities can be reached without personal thinking and without developing political consciousness.
Or maybe you really have to be called fascists, consciously favouring a system, where people are born to rule others by their cast? Amazing, that such a great part of the educated Nepali is seemingly so stupidly nationalistic.
Most people on this world do not know about the existance of this sooooo unbelievable proud-to-be-of kingdom. Most of the others think it is a part of India.
Only very few highly educated people of this world know, that Nepal is an independent, so called ‘constitutional’ Monarchy and the last Hindukingdom on this planet.
Now slowly it is getting new popularity as a country of oppression, but truely not as the famous country of the brave King!
I hope all of you’friends of being strongly guided and heavily protected’ will soon understand, that the modern freely informed world will never make any difference, who is ruling Nepal with the barrel of the gun. It stays unacceptable for all freedom loving humans with democratic mindset.
The longer uncompromising powers in conflict harden their positions, the more violent the outlet!
I hope Nepal fastly understands the importance of PEACEFUL RESISTANCE against improper and authoritaerian rulership from any side, which seems to be treating the common people as if they would be cattle or property.
May peace return to the Himalayas, be aware of NAZI-style-nationalistic propaganda!
Comment by King Kong — 6/9/2005 @ 11:07 pm
King Kong , it is amazing how a pseudo-literate citizen can be so naiive of the developments taking place. Look what India has done to us, it is now urging Girija to tie up with the Maoists. This means Delhi has had connections with the terrorists all along. It was supporting, sponsoring, training and financing Maoist terrorists side by side aiding the RNA. It was sponsoring cross-border terrorism in Nepal. Now, it is crystal clear. IN this context how can w Nepalese support the political parties the protege’ of the terrorists? This way we will become Sikkim. In the 21st century no proud Nepali wants to become a slave of India. That is why timne has come for us to shun these useless raliies a la journalists and lawyers rather unite for a national cause which is to defeat Indian hegemonistic designs against a small and weak neighbour.
Comment by Samrat — 6/10/2005 @ 12:47 pm
Sometimes, the India through its own actions compels all Nepalese to become anti-Indian. This is such occasion. How can Sonia Gandhi who is herself a family member of two assasination cases urge Girija P. Koirala to reconcile with the Maoists? It is incomprehensible? THis hurry from the Indian side is definitely due to the split in the Maoist leadership and Delhi wants Baburam to come up very soon before he gets completely wiped out. What a nasty and an ugle game plan to make Nepal another Sikkim. But, Dhotis well know that all Nepalese whether royalists, republicans, Nepali Congress or Sadbhavana will come together for a decisive struggle against them if they come into Nepal.
Comment by Saigal — 6/10/2005 @ 12:52 pm
samrat, what guarantee is there that letting the king rule will not make nepal a protectorate of india, like sikkim? did you forget that like political parties, the king goes to delhi every now and then to ‘consult’ indian govt before he makes any move? the one and only time he didnt consult india during his feb 1st move, indian govt was so furious it denied participating in saarc and refused to provide military aid. either way, political parties or the king, girija or gyanendra are protégé’ of manmohan singh.
Comment by firstname.lastname@example.org — 6/11/2005 @ 2:59 am
In asharma, no, the King wants to have good relations with India not assure in private and then on reject in public. Girija and others are a bunch of liars but at the same time they lick Delhi’s shoes. King wants to develop his country and at the same time wants good relations with neighbors. THis is not selling Nepal. Parties are willing to do anything for their chair. They become the agents of CIA, RAW and ISI at the same time.
Comment by Asha — 6/11/2005 @ 7:17 pm