CPN (Maoist) responsible for attacking journalists: FNJ

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Kathmandu, Jun 1 (UNI) Kailali Chapter of Federation of Nepali Journalists (FNJ) has held CPN (Maoist) responsible for the firing which killed three people in front of the District Administration Office (DAO) in Dhangadhi on Wednesday, Kantipur reported today.

All newspapers in the district have suspended publication from Thursday.

Three people were killed in a clash with police as the Maoists brought people from neighboring villages in front of the DAO for counter-protest while journalists were staging a sit-in at the DAO itself with demands for their security, Kantipur quoted a statement issued by the FNJ chapter as saying.

The journalists were demanding protection from cadres of CPN (Maoist) who had beaten the editor and publisher of Hamar Pahura, Lucky Chaudhari, over a news item.

The FNJ has also blamed police administration 'apathy' for the incident. It has urged the government to provide compensation to the victims families and all those concerned to accept responsibility in such cases.

According to Kantipur, FNJ chapter said Maoist CA candidate Ramsamaj Rana and another cadre Ful Ram Chaudhari had beaten up journalist Chaudhari at Urma VDC-4 at a gathering on Monday for publishing a news report about Baheda Temple and Mahadev Pond.

''A Maoist group attacked the journalists, who reached the DAO demanding security on Tuesday afternoon,'' the statement said.

''The Dhangadhi-based journalists had staged a sit-in protest whole night at the office of the Chief District Officer as Maoists attacked them right in front of the administration office,'' it added.

Following the incident, journalists in the district have been feeling increasing threat from the Maoists, the paper said.

The FNJ statement, signed by a group of 12 editors and publishers, has also stated that journalists and media in the district are not even in a position to continue their work as the state itself failed to ensure necessary security to mediapersons.

FNJ has deplored remarks by Maoist Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal against Kantipur publications.

The FNJ said such remarks made by the Maoist chairman against the independent press cannot be taken as normal at a time when the Maoists are preparing to head the new government as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly (CA).

''This kind of pointed remarks against a particular publication from the chairman of the CPN (Maoist), the largest party in the CA, has raised serious doubts over Maoist commitment to a free press,'' the statement said.

Maoists emerged as the largest party in the recent election with 220 seats in the 601 seat in CA and has claimed major posts including the president, prime minister and other important ministries.

UNI XC PD PM1308

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