Journalist pleads for his safety

Published On: October 4, 2019 07:01 AM NPT By: Republica


KATHMANDU, Oct 4: Ajaya Babu Shiwakoti, the editor of online news website Hamra Kura, whose exclusive story about rape allegation prompted resignation of Speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara has pleaded for his safety amid alleged threats from unidentified callers. 

Shiwakoti claims that he has been receiving threats from various unidentified numbers since his website published the report about rape allegation on Monday. 

“Hamra Kura has sensed marked rise in unusual activities from some groups which had been following editor Shiwakoti and tracking his movement since the story came out,” the website reported on Tuesday.

The online has also alleged that unnamed groups are planning to carry out attack on Shiwakoti and Hamrakura’s office.

Despite the claims of threats, the Federation of Nepali Journalists, an umbrella organization of journalists, has not yet issued any statement. Until Thursday evening, only the Sunsari Chapter of Nepal Press Union had condemned the threats and asked authorities to ensure Shiwakoti’s safety.  

Shiwakoti’s plea comes at a time when the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has been accused of increasing its attacks on dissent and voices critical of the government.

On Saturday, NCP cadres had stopped Nepali Congress leader Minendra Rijal for around three hours while he was on his way to Tanahun. A day earlier, NCP cadres had attacked anti-corruption activist Gyanendra Bahadur Shahi who had confronted Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai over a flight delay. 

Shiwakoti has also complained with the police about the threats. 

Hobendra Bogati, spokesperson for Metropolitan Police Range, told Republica that the police are investigating the complaint.

“He had verbally informed me about the threat although no written complaint has yet been filed. We have made necessary arrangement,” said Bogati. 

Rape allegation against Mahara has rattled the government and the ruling party since HamraKura first reported the incident on Monday afternoon. Following huge public outcry, Mahara had tendered his resignation to deputy speaker of parliament Shiva Maya Tumbahamphe on “moral grounds to facilitate free, fair and independent investigation into the allegations made by media raising serious question about my character”. 

In a recorded interview with HamraKura, the woman had accused Mahara of raping and physically assaulting her.  Speaker Mahara has confessed to have met with the woman at her apartment although on Monday his press advisor had issued a statement denying the meeting. Mahara, however, has denied the allegation of rape, claiming that it was an attempt to tarnish his character.


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