Kathmandu: Despite its preoccupation with yoga guru Baba Ramdev’s protest on one hand and the Gorkhaland movement in eastern India on the other, the daylight killing of a journalist in Mumbai also touched a chord in Nepal Sunday, where its own journalists have been facing murder attempts.
Though Mumbai tabloid Mid Day has not been very popular in Nepal and its special investigations editor Jyotirmoy Dey’s reports had not found their way into the Nepali media, yet the news of his being gunned down by four motorcycle borne assailants in front of a supermarket in Mumbai made it to the front page of several Nepali dailies. The 56-year-old Indian journalist’s death is the third incident in a series of attacks on media personnel in South Asia recently. It was preceded by the torture to death of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad, suspected to be the handiwork of Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI despite its denial, and a murderous attack on Nepali journalist Khilanath Dhakal in eastern Nepal in a separate incident.
Dhakal, a reporter with Nepali daily Nagarik, was attacked on the orders of a local leader affiliated to Nepal’s ruling Communist party. Though Dhakal identified the mastermind as the local chief of the youth wing of Nepal’s ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, police are yet to arrest the man, who is alleged to be under the protection of powerful Communist leaders. Nepal’s media world is also poised for a legal battle with a veteran editor, Kanak Mani Dixit of Himal South Asia magazine, having filed a case against Nepal’s Information and Communications Minister Agni Prasad Sapkota, who belongs to the Maoist party.
Dixit and other human rights activists are contending in their writ that Sapkota was named as the Maoist leader who ordered the killing of a school teacher, Arjun Lama, during the 10-year Maoist insurgency.