BANEPA, Jan 30: The Young Communist League (YCL),youth wing of the UCPN (Maoist), on Tuesday attacked a peaceful demonstration organized by opposition parties, injuring local party leaders as well as journalists reporting the event.
Opposition parties´ attempt to show black flags to Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who was attending his party´s Kavre district convention, was jointly disrupted by police and the YCL attacking the demonstrators.
At an all party meeting three days ago with Kavre Chief District Officer Rishi Ram Dhakal, the opposition political parties had agreed to conduct peaceful protests on Tuesday.
“Anyone can protest in a democracy. We were rallying peacefully from Tindobato Chowk toward Pulbazar, but police did not provide us any security. Instead, they started chasing us and the YCL pelted stones,” said Nepali Congress Kavre district president Shiva Prasad Humagain.
The demonstrators entered the area police office to dodge the YCL attack. But YCL cadres pelted stone at the police office also and smashed window panes.
Kavre district secretary of the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) Motiram Timalsina sustained injuries.
YCL cadres also issued a death threat against journalist Manoj Basnet.
Similarly, NC General Committee member Kunsang Lama, CPN-UML district committee member Indra Tamang, UML reginal member Lilabadahur Lama, and NC Anaikot village committee chairman Ganesh KC were injured in the attack.
KC has been referred to Kathmandu for further treatment. YCL activist Narayan Fuyal was also injured. With the YCL attack, Tintobato Chowk looked like a battle ground at midday.
“We had no intention of disrupting the Maoist district convention. They could not even countenance a peaceful protest,” said Humagain.
Nepal Television reporter Bhola Thapa and Keshav Raj Poudel of Rajadhani daily were mistreated by YCL cadres.
Meanwhile, the YCL threshed journalists who had come to cover the Maoist district convention.
Ramkrisha Chapagain of Nepal Samachar Patra , Krishna Chandra Banjara of Abhiyan daily, Krishna Neupane of Grace FM and Prakash Sundash of Nepal FM were thrashed at the entrance to the venue.The YCL also took away the reporters´ diaries.
The Kavre-based journalists were organizing a symbolic protest, wearing T-shirts with the slogan “Ensure press freedom, bring journalist killers to book”.
The T-shirts were torn up by YCL cadres deployed for security at the program.
“Dawa Lama, regional chief of the UCPN(Maoist), also issued a death threat against me,” said Banajara.
Dozens of YCL cadres on moterbikes along with police had escorted Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and UCPN(Maoist) leaders including Puspa Kamal Dahal and Narayan Kaji Shrestha right from Bhaktapur.
“Ensure that not a single person shows black flags,” a YCL chief was heard directing cadres at Tindobato Chowk.
The YCL had deployed a special task force (STF) at various places to foil opposing party protests.
“At the meeting, the CDO had assured security not only to journalists but to all people in Kavre, but the opposite of that happened,” said FNJ district president Mahesh Poudel.
FNJ has decided not to cover any news about the UCPN(Maoist) until the YCL apologizes for their misconduct.
Similarly, the CPN-UML and NC have condemned the YCL attack on a peaceful protest and on journalists covering the event.