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NEPAL: Government and police collude in rotten power play

NEPAL: Government and police collude in rotten power play
For the past several years, the Asian Human Rights Commission has been reporting on the widespread practice of abuse of power by the Nepal Police. The extent of abuse of power and politicization within the police today is such that even senior police officers are targeted.

On 24 April 2017, a team of police officers arrested Mr. Nawa Raj Silwal, Director of Central Investigation Bureau (CIB), from his lawyer’s residence. Silwal was in consultation with his lawyer, Senior Advocate Mr. Shambhu Thapa, on his case in the Supreme Court, challenging the government’s appointment of the Police Chief. While arresting him, the officers did not produce any warrant or any valid reasons for detaining a senior civil servant. Silwal was kicked and pushed into the police vehicle, and taken to the Police Headquarters, where he was detained without food or water for a day. Silwal was being framed on fake charges for his audacity to challenge the Government. They wanted to avert the upcoming hearing of his case slated for June 2 in the Supreme Court.
Silwal’s lawyer filed a habeas corpus writ in the Supreme Court on April 24, and the Court ordered the police to produce Silwal before the Supreme Court on the same day. Instead, the police tried to return Silwal to his home, to claim that Silwal was not in police custody.

While Silwal was detained at the police headquarters, some police officers contacted Silwal’s family members and threatened them, informing them that he is treated like this for filing a case in the Supreme Court challenging the government’s decision to appoint the Police Chief. In his litigation, Silwal claims that he was due to be promoted to Police Chief.
Silwal challenged two successive decisions by the Government of Nepal in the Supreme Court. First, was the government’s appointment of Mr. Jaya Bahadur Chand as the Police Chief, which was revoked by the Court for being against the spirit of the Police Act. Although the Court ordered the Government to appoint Silwal as Police Chief, the Government defied the order and appointed Mr. Prakash Aryal. The case against Mr. Aryal is now in court, and the government is trying to prevent Silwal from getting justice. The case is being continuously deferred, with the intention to reconstruct the current bench of seven judges hearing Silwal's case.
To support the government’s decision to appoint Aryal as Police Chief, and to show Silwal as unfit for the job, the government and the police have fabricated charges against Silwal. The government also used the media to run a maligning campaign against Silwal.
Among other things, Silwal’s case highlights the deep rot and politicization that has set into the Nepal police. It also underlines how the police and the government fabricate documents to support their actions. Immune from all accountability in law, Nepal’s police has become such a terror wielding force, that even its own officers are victims of maltreatment.
The extended period of stalemate facing Nepal in all aspects of governance is affecting the police department as well. The government does not follow any law or procedure in administration, as seen by the decision to appoint the Police Chief against the direct order of the Supreme Court. Similarly, the government decided to impeach the Chief Justice merely because the Court’s conclusion was not appreciated. If Nepal continues like this, the administration will completely collapse, leading the country into absolute anarchy and chaos.

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The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) works towards the radical rethinking and fundamental redesigning of justice institutions in order to protect and promote human rights in Asia. Established in 1984, the Hong Kong based organisation is a Laureate of the Right Livelihood Award, 2014.

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