KATHMANDU, Jan 15: A fact-finding mission from the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) that returned from a visit to Dailekh has stated that Dailekh-based journalists are working under great mental stress after Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and Attorney General (AG) Mukti Pradhan instructed prosecutors in the district to halt legal proceedings into Dekendra Thapa murder case.
The four-member mission organized a press conference in the capital Tuesday and said that journalists are not in a position to operate freely after the incident.
Mission coordinator and FNJ Chairman Shiva Gaunle said, "The intervention from higher level in the investigation of journalist Dekendra´s murder has not only angered people but also created confusion among the local officials and stakeholders."
But District Administration Office (DAO) and police have assured to protect the proofs and continue the investigations, he said. However, the investigation process remains halted after the intervention by the prime minister and the attorney general, according to FNJ.
Countering the criticism by the government that FNJ is going against the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2006, Gaule said, "FNJ considers peace and security in the country as a crucial issue so there is no point in accusing us of going against the CPA."
The mission team comprising FNJ advisor Poshan KC, central member Damodar Timilsina and central member and coordinator of the Midwestern region Surya Mani Gautam had collected information relating to the ongoing interrogation into Dekendra Thapa murder case and also held separate discussions with his family members, local journalists and administration.
Pro-Maoist journalists demand probe into Ichhuk killing
While journalists across the country are protesting against the government intervention in the investigation into Dekendra Thapa case, pro-Maoist journalists associated with the Association of Revolutionary Journalists staged protests in various parts of the country on Tuesday demanding stern action against those involved in killing journalists including Krishna Sen Ichhuk.
Addressing journalists in the capital on Tuesday, coordinator of the Association Govinda Acharya warned of withdrawing from the FNJ for not demanding investigation into the killing of other journalists including Ichhuk.
FNJ General Secretary Om Sharma alleged that FNJ protest has been influenced by I/NGOs under the pretext of human rights and press freedom.