KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Expressing serious concerns over the decision of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) to field murder-accused Agni Prasad Sapkota as candidate for House Speaker, a group of civil society leaders on Tuesday urged the ruling party, the government and political leadership concerned not to elect him to the post.
Issuing a public appeal on Tuesday, over two dozen civil society leaders including prominent human rights activists said that the decision has made a mockery of the rule of law, ignored Nepal’s human rights obligations and put Purnimaya Lama, widow of Arjun Bahadur Lama, into grave injustice.
Sapkota, along with others, is accused of murdering Lama after his abduction from Kavre in April, 2005. A murder case against Sapkota is sub judice in the Supreme Court.
The civil society leaders have also expressed concern that the decision of the NCP to field Sapkota as candidate for speaker is set to put Nepal’s commitment to human rights under question in the upcoming meeting of the UN Human Rights Council scheduled for March. Stating that Sapkota remains a fugitive in view of the court order, the rights activists have alleged that the decision to elect him as House Speaker could have been made with an intention to give him immunity against a criminal case he faces.
They have also urged the general public stage civil defiance against the decision, which they said is against the norms and values of democracy, rule of law, human rights and good governance, and fulfill their duty as responsible citizens.
Those making the appeal include Hari Sharma, Kanak Mani Dixit, Charan Prasain, Kapil Shrestha, Tika Dhakal, Suman Adhikari, Raju Prasad Chapagain, Om Prakash Aryal, Prakash Aryal, Pushpa Raj Poudel, Rajan Prasad Kuinkel, Indu Tuladhar, Anita Thapaliya, Shreejana Pokharel, Gopal Shah, Phanindra Luintel and Mohan Pariyar.
Likewise, Om Prakash Sen Thakuri, Som Prasad Niraula, Bikash Bansnet, Nirajan Thapaliya, Badri Prasad Bhusal, Nitu Pokharel, Netra Bahadur Bhandari, Bhakta Bishwakarma, Kamal Basel, Krishna Raut and Subhash Timilsena are also among those making the public appeal.
Issuing a separate statement on Tuesday, the Informal Sector Service Center (Insec) has also urged the ruling NCP to reconsider its decision to elect the murder-accused Sapkota as speaker. It said that the NCP’s decision goes against the laws of the land and Nepal’s commitment to human rights.