Honorable Smt. Sushma Swaraj,
Minister for External Affairs
Government of India, New Delhi
We, the undermentioned civil society members, lawyers and rights activists in Nepal, write to you expressing our deep concern over the arrest of around 22 Nepali youths and students who greeted black flags to the Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli in New Delhi, India.
The students and youth protested the killing of 45 Madhesis by the Government of Nepal during the recent Madhes Movement against the constitution of Nepal to guarantee inclusion and rights of all madhesis and marginalized groups.
On February 19, 2016, Indian police deployed at New Delhi based Nepali Embassy arrested members of United Madhesis of Nepal, for waving black flags to the Nepal’s PM Oli in front of the embassy. PM Oli was there to attend Nepal’s democracy day event.
Freedom of expression in a peaceful way is one of the integral parts of democracy. India as the largest democracy should let the students practice their right to peacefully protest. Detaining them is violation of their fundamental rights and against the basic principle of India’s Constitution.
We are further appalled by the responses of Indian government and security authorities to the frequent queries about the whereabouts and the status of the detainees. Following the detention, some of our colleagues visited the Barakhamba road police station twice. Concerned police authorities are not giving any proper information of the status of detainees, when they would be released, and what is the process. It was, however, reportedly informed last night that they would be released after a quick medical clearance at night itself. This did not happen. The detainees have not been released yet till the afternoon (4 pm) of February 20, 2016.
The delay in release of the detainees appear to be a concerted effort to intimidate Madhesi demonstrators from exercising their right to freedom of expression, a right enshrined under the Constitutions of Nepal and India, and a fundamental right under international human rights laws.
We thus urge you as the Minister for External Affairs to intervene and inform Delhi police to release the Madhesi protesters as soon as possible. We also request the government of India to create conducive environment for the Nepali (Madhesi,Tharu and Janjati) students in New Delhi.
CK Lal, Political Analyst
Dipendra Jha, Advocate
Vijaykant Karn, Former Nepali Ambassador to Denmark
Tula Narayan Sah, Political Analyst
Manoj Kumar Chaudhary, Advocate
Madhesi Youth Team
- Shri Justice Cyriac Joseph
Acting Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, India
- Ranjit Rae
Indian Ambassador to Nepal, Indian Embassy, Kathmandu