Sanjeev Joshi, a Nepali national currently studying PhD at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA wrote an open letter to the Prime Minister of Nepal via his Twitter. He describes himself as a simple, ambitious, young guy who wants to smile and be happy. Nepal runs in his blood and heart, he is a worshipper of humanity and kindness. He has announced his travel plans to Nepal between May 11 and June 14 and has also publicly challenged the Nepali government to arrest him for criticizing the government’s actions.
Below is the excerpt of his letter:
My Open Letter to PM of Nepal
Dear PM K.P. Oli Sir,
If asking tough question to you and your government and writing factual critiques against your tyrannic policies (that too on social media) encourages you and your government to arrest a person (a foreign national) in Nepal, then I am sorry to say you will have to arrest at least half of the population of Nepal. Do you have any respect for Freedom of Speech?
I demand the immediate release of Robert Penner. His arrest is a blow to freedom of speech and is setting such a bad picture of our country in the international arena. I am writing this post against your government (and have wrote a lot in the past too), but I am not afraid of my arrest at all (when I visit Nepal soon) – I will always fight this battle for Freedom of Speech.
What makes this letter special is that it is short and simple, written by an ordinary Nepali guy. Sanjeev is not a journalist or high profile Nepali scientist or businessman, which makes it even more relevant. Robert Penner, who was arrested by Nepal Police at the behest of Immigration Department was also an ordinary guy. Rob was not a journalist or a high profile diplomat, he was an ordinary guy working at a information technology company in Lalitpur, Nepal. The only extra-ordinary thing about Robert is his logic. Gifted with a logical mind, Robert critiques false statements and reports which landed him in trouble.
It should be expected that when ordinary people get in trouble, those who come to rescue are also ordinary people. This is consistent with the silence of high profile journalists and proclaimed human rights activists in Kathmandu. While some newspapers in Kathmandu such as The Kathmandu Post, My Republica, and Kantipur Daily have published brief reports, they have quoted officials, accepted them on its face value and failed to do any investigation to discover the truth. This is in contrast to international newspapers such as The New York Times, The Globe and Mail, Vice News, and Hindustan Times that have published alarming reports about Penner’s arrest with an attempt to discover the cause.
When a lot of ordinary people come together for a cause, the collective power can trump even the Mightiest Army in the world. The famous dissident Noam Chomsky says that there are two superpowers in the world, one is the United States and another is the public opinion. The public opinion in case of Robert Penner’s arrest matters just as much as the authority’s jurisdiction. The social media is already buzzing with calls from ordinary people to release Robert Penner #FreeRobertPenner.