Saturday, June 10, 2023

Top Madhes rights activist arrested in Nepal


Kathmandu, Feb 3 (IANS) Nepal Police on Thursday arrested C.K. Raut — a prominent Madhes rights activist advocating an independent Madhes — on the charge of sedition from Janakpur, the southern-most city of Nepal bordering India.

He was arrested from a rented dwelling in Janakpur, where he had been living for the last six months.

Raut launched a massive campaign across Nepal’s Terai region in the south through his Alliance for Independent Madhes (AIM) platform some five years ago, and it got both popular and political support in several Terai-based districts.

At a time when the Nepal government is being accused of failing to amend the Constitution to address the demands of the Madhesi population, his arrest is likely to have a ripple effect in the entire Terai region.

Talking to the local media, Inspector General of Nepal Police Upendra Kanta Aryal confirmed Raut’s arrest. “Police will investigate each and every case against him.”

Raut was arrested on the request of Siraha district police, where Raut has his permanent residence. Recently, he had held a protest rally in Lahan in Siraha district, demanding separation of the Terai area from Nepal.

The government agencies of Nepal have been accusing him of forming an armed outfit to fight for a separate Terai. After the arrest, he was sent to Siraha for police investigation.

According to the local media, Nepal Police has prepared a 26-page investigation report on Raut, who has been building networks in various districts of Terai and “preparing to raise an armed force”.

Talking to the media after his arrest, Raut said police have no right to smash the door to enter my room. “I was not even served a legal notice for arrest.”

An appeal has been issued by his campaign to maintain calm and exercise restraint in the wake of his arrest. It also dared the government to prove charges against him and reveal on what basis he was arrested.

He is facing charges of treason in the Special Court of Kathmandu and in some local courts.

Raut was first arrested on September 14, 2014 on a sedition charge brought by Morang district police and acquitted by the Special Court in April 2015 on a Rs 50,000 surety bond.

Police is preparing to lodge a fresh treason case against Raut on the basis of his provocative speech delivered in Lahan recently.

A scientist by profession, he holds a Ph.D degree from Cambridge University and worked as a scientist in the US before becoming active in politics through the AIM in 2011.

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