A failure by Nepal’s Maoist-led government to address security issues has exacerbated lawlessness, violent political strikes and growing disenchantment with the government, according to human rights groups.
Most incidents have occurred in the southern Terai region, but there are indications the violence is spreading to central, western and eastern areas.
According to the rights group Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), the most affected areas have been the Terai districts of Ilam, Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari, as well as the hill districts of Pachthar, Sankuwasabha, Tehrathum, Taplejung, Surkhet, Gorkha, Kaski and Mugi.
Even the media is afraid to report on cases, resulting in an increased culture of impunity for the perpetrators.
“There’s a lot of self-censorship among journalists when reporting on political parties, street protesters or criminal gangs,” said Gopal Guragain, director of Ujyalo Network, which runs a network of 45 FM radio stations across Nepal. He said journalists were increasingly being assaulted.
“If journalists are attacked, you can only imagine the state of the ordinary citizens,” a young civilian, Ravi Chettri, told IRIN in Kathmandu.
Human rights activists also expressed concern about the increasing number of road blockades, strikes, and attacks on public transport by various groups - in both the capital and other major cities.
|Incidents of abduction, killing and assaults have been growing and the government keeps silent and is virtually doing nothing|
“Incidents of abduction, killing and assaults have been growing and the government keeps silent and is virtually doing nothing,” said Seema Shrestha, a local resident in the capital.
From 10 March to 10 April, INSEC documented more than 50 politically and criminally motivated violent incidents nationwide, including armed attacks, bombings, killings, abductions and street violence. Ten people were killed. INSEC said the violence was increasing.
The political violence is reportedly being perpetrated by Maoist-affiliated groups and various ethnic-political groups fighting for greater rights and autonomy.
Most parliamentarians - spread over 17 national political parties in the Constituent Assembly - have been boycotting proceedings in protest against the failure of the Maoist-led government to restore law and order.
At a recent gathering in Hetauda, some 200km south of the capital, more than 70 human rights organisations warned that human rights abuses were getting out of hand.
In 2006, the Maoist rebels and Nepalese government signed a peace agreement to end a decade-long armed conflict which killed more than 13,000 people and displaced nearly 200,000.