Jana Aastha, 10 January
A videotape of the incidents in Nepalganj on 26 December in the possession of Jana Aastha shows police involved in the violence. They are seen destroying shops and throwing furniture onto fires. In the clash between pahadis and madhesis, the Nepal Police is seen siding with pahadis and firing at madhesis. People in green jackets are visible, provoking the crowd, and mandaleys who work with Kamal Thapa and Rabindranath Sharma are also amongst those involved in the violence. The audio track of videotape contains sections of the crowd saying “Nepal Police jindabad.”
The police recorded are in half uniform and their faces are covered. One heard the words: “This shop is a Nepali’s, don’t destroy it.” The groups systematically attacked shops and homes, and SSP Rajendra Singh Bhandari insulted madhesi protestors, telling them to “go to India to protest”.
Many argue that the violence intensified because the Home Ministry is not strong enough. The ministry should pay very careful attention while selecting regional and district administrators. Rumour has it that the Ministry has become the dumping ground for retiring officers, who are being sent out as chief district officers.
Regional administrators are to play a big role in the elections to the constituent assembly, yet the administrator sent to the eastern region is Shankar Chaudhary from the Ministry of Agriculture. Similarly the mid-west got Shankar Pandey, who has never been in the Home Ministry. Before him it was Ananda Prasad Shrestha, Joint Secterary from the Finance Ministry.
There are many government officers who have worked with the Home Ministry and are capable of being CDOs. The government should be busy making ministerial cabinet-level decisions and transferring officers to districts to hold things together until the elections. Instead, it is transferring people who have no credentials. Recently the Home Ministry transferred Tilakram Deuja, Land Revenue Chief, to Makwanpur. Meanwhile CDOs accused by the Rayamajhi Commission of being involved in the suppression of Jana Andolan II are yet to be recalled.
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