By Om Tat Sat,
Darkness has come to an end. Rabi Lamichhane has been released on a bail of half a million rupees.
People from all over Nepal were galvanized into vigilance following a kidnapping style arrest and taking into custody of a popular TV show host, Rabi Lamichhane, who has endeared himself to millions of people because of his fight against corruption in Nepal. A questionable video clip was the ground for his arrest and to keep him in custody, while the police carried out its investigation to bring the charges. At the end of ten days, the district police finally recommended five years of imprisonment and Rs. 50 thousand fine, maximum recommended, based on their conclusion that the suicide was incited by the three accused. This occurred without consulting the psychiatrist, checking the background of the publicized tape, and totally ruling out any other possible foul play, or the circumstances leading to the suicide.
Posted by Rabi Lamichhane on Monday, August 26, 2019
Prominent former police officers, renowned lawyers, social activists, actors and millions of people have come forth in support of the accused. Rabi Lamichhane supporters on the street accuse the government’s perceived conspiracy to silence the voice of a daring investigative TV program host. The emotions ran high on the streets across Nepal and people expressed their displeasure, suspicion and opinion that In Nepal anyone who tries to do the right thing will meet a bad fate.
According to expert opinions of lawyers and former high ranking police officers, Chitwan police did not consider foul play and took a hurried action to arrest Rabi Lamichhane into custody and prove him to be guilty. An interesting fact that came out due to this case was that the arrest was abated by a newly minted legal provision that hold people accountable in cases of suicides, if there is a suicide note. The video is alleged to have been leaked by the Chitwan police to a journalist who is known to be a sworn enemy of the accused, who in the past tried to expel Rabi Lamichhane from the country.
There are many red flags raised about the suicide video:
- They way the video was leaked by the police to a journalist of questionable repute.
- Inconsistency of message and the way the victim addresses the accused Rabi Lamichhane.
- Suspicion that there were other individuals prodding or orchestrating the suicide message.
- The discrepancy between the physical appearance during the suicide note and the state of hanging.
- Signs of physical abuse of the victim.
- Question about who edited the video and why it was tampered with.
The Nepalese people overwhelmingly questioned the impartiality of the police, given the fact that Maoists cadres have been assimilated in the force. Powerful people might be orchestrating the event to frame the popular TV host, who had become a pain to powerful people. This suspicion gets even more credence as the venue is a stronghold of known opponents of the accused. During the street protests in Chitwan many people came forward to share information. Among them was a woman who revealed an existence of an enemy list of Dahal family–the mayor and the former PM Dahal. She was picked up by the police the same night after she shared the information in public.
What has been evident from this catalyzing event of treating a prominent TV program host like a common criminal and filing a charge sheet was that justice had become a casualty. Millions of people rightfully exercised their freedom to spill over on to the street for justice. This kind of public sentiment comes after a series of incidents like silencing a song writer, beating up Gyenendra Shahi, a known activist against corruption, and the dismal failure to make any headway in the rape and murder of Nirmala Panta last year.
Public has decided that Rabi has been framed by a powerful cabal, possibly close to the former Maoists group. The fact that the investigating SSP of Chitwan happened to be a former bodyguard of the former PM Dahal, irked the observers. The mayor of the city won the election by tampering with the balloting process and full force of her father’s establishment. The venue of the incident smelled foul from the beginning.
प्रहरीको अनुसन्धानलाई सघाईरहेको छु । पूर्ण रुपमा सघाउँने छु । न्याय अझै मरेको छैन । यो १० दिनको दौरानमा विश्व भरि छरिएर…
Nepalese are sentimental people, and have been taken advantage of by all the political forces and personalities for the past half a century. Their hope and faith has been peaked by a TV personality. No matter what, there is a positive sign that Nepal is on the threshold of a new age, where people are coming to stand against injustice. They are willing to defy political authority and let loose their ire against any force that seeks to oppress them.
Nepalese are no longer willing to be taken for granted.
The writer is a graduate of Arizona State University in Political Science. He is working as a social activist and motivational speaker for students across Nepal since 2007.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necesarily reflect the official policy or position of Nepalisite.