Govt move to introduce ordinance to release Resham Chaudhary from jail draws flak

Published On: December 13, 2022 09:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Deuba finds himself alienated within the party over his move to introduce a controversial ordinance to release Resham Chaudhary

KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Prime Minister and Nepali Congress (NC) President Sher Bahadur Deuba is increasingly alienated within his party following his decision to introduce a controversial ordinance that paves the way for releasing convicted criminals serving jail terms under the guise of political cases.

A Cabinet meeting held on Sunday had decided to recommend to President Bidya Devi Bhandari to introduce the ordinance, mainly to pave the way to release Resham Chaudhary, who is an advisor to the Nagarik Unmukti Party that bagged three seats in the House of Representatives (HoR) in the recently-held elections. Accordingly, the ordinance has already reached the Office of the President for authentication.

Deuba is looking to form a new government under his leadership with the support of the ruling alliance. The support of Nagarik Unmukti Party that has won three seats in the House of Representatives is crucially important to secure a comfortable majority in parliament. 

Those protesting against Prime Minister Deuba include his rival Dr Shekhar Koirala, general secretaries duo Gagan Thapa and Bishwa Prakash Sharma and the party’s newly-elected lawmaker Pradip Poudel. They have argued that the caretaker government should not take any such move as the newly-elected parliament is set to convene within the next few days.

Dr Koirala on social media has said that no one has the right to bend the laws to make it easy to meet his/her vested political interests. He argued that such a move only makes a mockery of democratic principles.

General Secretaries Sharma and Thapa have argued that the government cannot withdraw a case that is subjudice at the court. They said that the government has tried to interfere with the jurisdiction of the court and parliament through this ordinance. They both have demanded the withdrawal of the ordinance. Another NC youth leader Pradip Poudel also demanded the withdrawal of the ordinance to honor democratic values.

Meanwhile, other political parties have also taken a strong exception to the decision of the government to release Chaudhary as well as others from jail by amending the Civil Criminal Procedures Code 2074 BS through the controversial ordinance. Those protesting against the move include Rastriya Swatantra Party Chairman Rabi Lamichhane, who said that the government's decision to introduce an ordinance to release criminals serving jail terms is the height of political shamelessness.

“How long will it take now to hold a meeting of the new parliament? 1 week? 2 weeks? 3 weeks? Is it such an emergency that they cannot even wait for 1-2 weeks. The ordinance has violated the meaning of the new mandate, and there has been an attempt to violate the rights of the new parliament. This step is the height of political shamelessness. It should be withdrawn immediately,” Chairman Lamichhane wrote in his social media post.

Chaudhary was the mastermind of the Tikapur (Kailali) carnage that erupted on August 17, 2015. The agitating Tharu activists had brutally killed eight people including Senior Superintendent of Police SSP Lakshman Neupane, who was the head of the then Seti zone at the time, five members of the Nepal Police, two members of the Armed Police Force and one infant in the ensuing clash with police.

Local Tharu people led by Chaudhary had launched a series of protests after the political parties in Kathmandu decided to put Kailali district with other seven hill districts in the Sudur Pashchim Province. They had demanded all districts with Tharu population in a single province in order to increase their political participation.

In March, 2019, Kailali District Court handed down a life sentence to 11 people including Chaudhary in connection with the incident. The High Court also upheld the verdict and the case is currently subjudice at the Supreme Court.

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