Government to issue ordinance to free Resham ChaudharyHis release is the Nagarik Unmukti Party’s main precondition for supporting the ruling coalition.
The caretaker government of Sher Bahadur Deuba has decided to issue an ordinance to revise the criminal code clearing legal hurdles to grant amnesty to anyone convicted of heinous crimes.
A Cabinet meeting on Sunday decided to issue such an ordinance to give amnesty particularly to Resham Chaudhary, who is serving a life term in connection to the Tikapur carnage of August 2015. The Kailali district court in March 2019 convicted Chaudhary of masterminding the incident in which eight people including a toddler were killed. The Dipayal High court in December 2020 upheld the district court’s decision.
“The Cabinet meeting today [Sunday] has decided to issue an ordinance in this connection, but the draft is yet to be finalized,” a Cabinet minister told the Post requesting anonymity.
The Nepali Congress, which leads a five-party alliance, is preparing to form a new government, but it lacks 138 seats to prove its majority in parliament. The alliance has 136 members in the 275-strong House. As Tek Bahadur Gurung, a Congress lawmaker, can’t perform his parliamentary responsibilities because of the corruption charges he is facing, the alliance needs support of at least three more lawmakers to prove a parliamentary majority.
Currently, the Congress is approaching the Nagarik Unmukti Party, led by Ranjita Shrestha, wife of Chaudhary, for the party’s support. It has three lawmakers. Release of Chaudhary is the main precondition of the party for extending its support to the ruling coalition.
The government’s decision has been squarely criticised by politicians including Congress’ own leaders and human rights activists. Nepali Congress General Secretary Bishwa Prakash Sharma criticised Prime Minister Deuba for the decision. “It is wrong in all sense to issue an ordinance at a time of transition and that too without holding any discussion in the party and among parties,” Sharma wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening. He said the action of the government will raise not only political questions, but legal and moral questions also.
Likewise, human rights activist Charan Prasai termed the government’s decision objectionable and condemnable. “This is an example that impunity has been institutionslized in this country,” Prasai wrote on Twitter.