Prachanda blames 'party infiltrators' behind Himalmedia assault

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Kathmandu, Dec 23 (ANI): Nepal Prime Minister Prachanda has denied any direct involvement of Maoist party in the assault on Himalmedia and claimed that some immoral agents who have "infiltrated" into the Maoist party and ranks were involved it.

During a meeting with leaders of the civil society here on Monday, Prachanda expressed sadness over the incident and urged everyone to fight against these infiltrators with determination.

He also expressed commitment that the government will probe the incident and take action against those involved in the attack.

"I instructed Home Minister to do everything to catch the culprits whoever they may be. I also called Information Minister and gave him similar instruction," Nepalnews quoted him as saying.

Federation of Nepalese Journalist (FNJ) has called the assault by Maoist aligned trade unions on Himalmedia as a naked aggression against press freedom and strongly condemned the attack.

Nepali Congress spokesperson, Arjun Narsingh KC, said that the attack on Himalmedia personnel was a direct attack on press freedom and a matter of shame for activists of the party, which leads the government.

Standing committee member of the CPN-UML Ishwor Pokhrel said there was no need to launch investigation when the attack was carried out in broad daylight and there were witnesses.

Meanwhile, diplomatic missions have condemned the attack.The US embassy said in a statement, "We condemn the attack on Himalmedia personnel and facilities as a blatant, illegal assault on freedom of the press in Nepal. It was a criminal act to invade the premises and physically assault the Himalmedia staff. The perpetrators of this assault must be held accountable."

"We encourage the police to complete the investigation of this latest incident of criminal violence against the media as soon as possible and press charges against the perpetrators," added the statement.

In its statement, the French Embassy, which holds the presidency of the European Union (EU), said the "EU is deeply worried by the attack."

"The use of violence against journalists and the threat to renew such attacks if the media does not mend ways is particularly preoccupying. This aggression represents completely unacceptable behaviour within the framework of normal and democratic political life," the statement added.

The Maoist affiliated All Nepal Hotel and Restaurant Workers' Union on Sunday attacked the staff of the Himalmedia, inflicting injuries to the journalists and vandalising the office. (ANI)

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