No credible basis to conclude Paudel was killed in encounter: Rights groups

Published On: August 5, 2019 07:11 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Aug 5: Two human rights organizations on Sunday  said there was no substantial evidence to justify the government’s claim that Kumar Paudel, the Sarlahi district in-charge of the outlawed Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand, was killed in a police encounter.

Releasing their preliminary report prepared jointly after field studies, the Advocacy Forum Nepal and Informal Sector Service Center (Insec) said locals were barred from walking along the area where Paudel was killed from early in the morning and local police have little knowledge about the killing.

The conclusion, according to the organizations, was drawn after analyzing the shootout site, photos captured from the site and the statements made by doctors involved in conducting the autopsy, locals and relatives of deceased Paudel.  

In their conversation with the representatives of the organizations, locals residing around the “shootout site” have stated that they had not ever heard the sound of a gunfire on June 20, the day when police said Paudel was killed in an encounter in Sarlahi. 

“Since the locals were barred from walking around the crime scene areas, local police were uninformed and locals even didn’t hear the sound of a gun fight, no credible base was seen to justify Kumar Paudel was killed in an encounter,” states the preliminary report released by the organizations on Sunday. 

Initially, police had claimed that the outlawed party’s cadre Paudel, who was involved in extorting and terrorizing the local businesspersons, had died in an encounter. 

The encounter, according to police, was triggered after Chand’s cadres fired at the police while the police was chasing them. The police had claimed Paudel was killed in an exchange of fire. 

The statement from the rights bodies comes at a time when questions are being raised against the police for a possible ‘foul play’. Some rights bodies and opposition parties in parliament claim that Paudel was killed in cold blood. 

Unconvinced with the police’s claim, the National Human Rights Commission is probing the matter whereas the parliamentarians from Nepali Congress and Rastriya Janata Party Nepal have been obstructing parliament for the last one week demanding a parliamentary probe. 

Advocacy Forum and Insec have demanded that the government form a high-level probe committee to investigate the killing and hold those involved in the unlawful killing of leader Paudel. Expressing concern over the recent trend of fake encounters, both organizations have urged the government to control such cases and hold those involved in unlawful killings accountable.

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