Rights activists protesting against Sapkota as Speaker rounded up from capitalThe activists were protesting outside Sheetal Niwas where Sapkota was being sworn in.
Police on Monday rounded up 12 human rights activists and conflict victims who were protesting outside Sheetal Niwas against the appointment of Agni Sapkota as Speaker
They were protesting outside the Office of the President where Sapkota was being sworn in.
Janak Raut, general secretary of Conflict Victims Common Platform, said that he and other rights activists were arrested and taken to the Metropolitan Police Circle, Maharajgunj.
Purnimaya Lama, Charan Prasai, Alina Gautam, Nirajan Thapaliya, Bipin Budhathoki, Sankar Budathoki and Jesselina Rana among others are the arrestees.
Umesh Lamsal, chief of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range, said the protestors were arrested as they were demonstrating in a restricted area.
“We have taken them into custody,” Lamsal told the Post. "We cannot say when they will be released.”
Despite concerns from rights activists, conflict victims and international rights bodies, the House elected the former Maoist leader on Sunday afternoon, hours after a court hearing on a writ against him was stalled. The Nepali Congress chose not to field any candidate against Sapkota, paving the way for his election as Speaker unopposed.
Sapkota, also a two-time minister, faces charges of the abduction and murder of Arjun Lama of Kavrepalanchowk in 2005. A hearing on the case at the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Bench is scheduled for February 5. The Speaker post had been vacant since early October last year after Krishna Bahadur Mahara stepped down following allegations of attempted rape.
Sapkota’s appointment as Speaker has drawn criticism from conflict victims and rights defenders, given the murder charge. Activists claim it is morally wrong on the part of the ruling party to appoint Sapkota as Speaker even as a murder case is pending at court.