One held for Nepal woman journalist’s murder


Kathmandu : A week after the brutal murder of a woman broadcaster in Nepal’s violence-hit Terai plains, the Maoist government Sunday said the mastermind behind the killing has been arrested.

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Mebilal Paswan, said to be associated with a little-known Terai organisation calling itself the Terai Ekta Parishad, has been arrested for the murder of radio journalist Uma Singh, government spokesman and Minister for Communications and Information Krishna Bahadur Mahara told the interim parliament Sunday.

Mahara said Paswan, arrested Saturday, had admitted involvement in the killing.

On Jan 11, Uma Singh, who worked for a private radio station in Janakpur town in southern Dhanusha district, was hacked to death at her home by a crowd of 10 to 15 people.

The murder has sent shock waves through Nepal with journalists, lawyers, human rights activists and civil society members continuing to hold public protests in the capital and outer districts demanding justice.

A team of journalists who went to Janakpur to investigate the killing concluded that it was linked to the disappearance of Singh’s father and brother three years ago.

The 24-year-old’s father Ranjit Singh and brother Sanjay were abducted by Maoists after a dispute over land and are believed to have been killed.

Singh had been intent on getting justice and had filed a police complaint.

She was said to have been receiving threatening calls, asking her to withdraw the complaint.

Under tremendous pressure at home and from the international community, the Maoist government has announced NRS 1 million compensation for Singh’s family.

Mahara also said that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has ordered that the people who had attacked a communist cadre in the capital earlier this month and hacked off his leg should be punished.

On Jan 5, Bibek Devkota, a local leader of the youth wing of the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist that is an ally of the Maoists, was attacked by Maoist cadres who tried to cut off both his legs.

At a rally in the capital Sunday to protest Uma Singh’s murder, the participants said there was no rule of law in Nepal as the ruling parties were sheltering the guilty and fostering impunity.