Murder-convict Dhungel felicitated in Okhaldhunga

Published On: March 14, 2017 12:10 AM NPT By: Anil Bhandari

Dhungel and seven others had been convicted for the murder. Six have already completed their jail terms while the seventh, Pushkar Gautam, is still in jail.
SINDHULI, MARCH 14: Murder-convict Balkrishna Dhungel has been publicly felicitated in his home district, Okhaldhunga, amid a grand function, Monday.   

Dhungel, who was convicted for the murder of Ujjan Kumar Shrestha of the same district during the Maoist insurgency, is absconding from the law. Nyaik Anweshak tatha Nagarik Samaj, a civil society organization in the district, felicitated him with a letter of appreciation at Dhade of Likhu Village Council, according to Lila Shrestha, a journalist in the district. Along with the main organizer, 22 civil society organizations and schools felicitated Dhungel for his "contribution to society".

 At the function, the organizers demanded a 'fair judicial probe' into his case and questioned the verdict of the apex court confirming his murder conviction. 

The Judgment Execution Directorate at the Supreme Court has been repeatedly ordering the Nepal Police to arrest Dhungel. The security agency, however, have been declining to execute the court order despite tracing Dhungel at several public functions.  They cite 'political pressure' behind their failure to arrest him. 

The directorate has been ordering Nepal Police to take necessary steps to arrest Dhungel, direct all the police offices in the country to that end and the keep the directorate promptly informed regarding what is going on regarding the execution of the verdict.

The directorate had written to Nepal Police after Ujjan's family informed it that police had not arrested Dhungel although he was seen moving about in various places, including in the capital.

On 10 May 2004, Okhaldhunga District Court had convicted Dhungel and seven others of Ujjan's murder. Dhungel served a brief term in jail before being freed in 2006, following a decision of the Rajbiraj Appellate Court to give him a clean chit. 

However, on January 3, 2010, the SC upheld the 2004 verdict of the district court. The apex court had then sentenced Dhungel to life imprisonment along with confiscation of property.

Implementation of the apex court verdict remained on hold as the Baburam Bhattarai government had forwarded Dhungel's name for a presidential clemency. 

However, the Constitutional Bench at the Supreme Court on January 7 ordered the government not to provide any amnesty or presidential clemency to Dhungel. 

He has been absconding since the Supreme Court verdict. A group led by Dhungel had murdered Ujjan Shrestha in 1998.

Of the the seven others convicted for the murder, six have already completed their jail terms while Pushkar Gautam is still in jail.

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