January 31, 2013
At least 13 people, including six journalists, were injured in Banepa of Kavre district yesterday after a clash flared up between activists of the Young Communist League (YCL) and opposition parties. The YCL is the youth wing of the Maoists and have often been cited for violence in the past.
The clash ensued after YCL hoodlums, many armed with lathis and stones and bussed in from neighboring villages and districts by the Maoists, attacked journalists and activists of non-Maoist parties who had converged on Banepa to protest alleged misuse of state coffers by Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. Bhattarai was slated to a attend a Maoist district conference, which was to be held later that day.
According to Himalayan:
YCL men first hit Prakash Sundas, news coordinator of Radio Namobuddha, on his face before tearing his clothes into pieces and then fell upon Krishnachandra Banjara, a reporter for Abhiyan daily, [who was beaten] with rods because Banjara was wearing a black jacket. Bhola Thapa of Nepal Television, Ramkrishna Chapagain of Nepal Samacharpatra daily and Motilal Timalsina, executive editor of Chesta Weekly, were also injured in the clash. Grace FM’s Krishna Neupane, who was injured after YCL cadres beat him up, has been sent to Kathmandu for treatment.
YCL cadres forced Rajdhani daily reporter Keshavraj Poudel, Mountain TV correspondent Kapil Koirala and Kantipur daily reporter Manoj Basnet to delete photos from their cameras and threatened them with death ‘if they dispatched news against them’.
YCL activists also detained and beat up Basudev Sapkota of Anaikot. Seriously injured Sapkota has received bruises all over his body and is undergoing treatment in Banepa.
Nepali Congress Mahasamiti member Kunsang Lama of Khanalthok lost three teeth, while 63-year-old Homnath Adhikari of Rabiopi was wounded. NC Anaikot VDC unit president Ganesh KC, who received a major injury on his head with a stone, has been sent to the Capital for treatment. Other injured include CPN-UML district committee member Indra Bahadur Tamang of Sarsyukharka, UML area committee member Lila Bahadur Ghimire of Nala and Rupak Mahat of Panauti.
According to Republica, the approximately 700 YCL cadres were strategically dispersed along the road leading to the Maoist program venue. The peaceful demonstration, organized by opposition parties, which had planned to greet the prime minister’s motorcade with black flags, was foiled by the YCL attack. The violence occurred before the PM actually arrived.
It was also reported that YCL cadres issued death threats. According to Kantipur, “YCL threatened to 'finish off' Kantipur district correspondent Manoj Basnet. ‘Kantipur is on a mission to eliminate the UCPN (Maoist). We will not spare them and finish them off,’ YCL cadres vented their ire. “
After the incident, the Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) condemned the attack on journalists and threats and promised to boycott all UCPN-Maoist events until the YCL assailants are detained by the police.
Similarly, the CPN-UML and NC parties have condemned the YCL attack on a peaceful demonstration and on the injured journalists.