Gyanendra Khadka

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A country silenced

Nepal After the Coup
Nepal

Amid an explosive civil conflict between Maoist rebels and government forces, the safety of the Nepalese press hung on the fragile prospects for peace. Estimates of the death toll since the collapse of a six-month cease-fire in August 2003 vary, but local journalists say heavy fighting in 2004 killed several thousand people. According to the BBC, 10,000 have been killed since the insurgency began eight years ago.
There was hope for a peaceful resolution toe the political violence in Nepal on January 29, 2003, when the government and Maoist rebels signed a cease-fire agreement to halt their seven-year civil conflict. However, the deepening political crisis within the country's constitutional monarchy and the eventual collapse of the cease-fire in August sparked a sharp increase in violence, with grave consequences for the press.
New York, January 2, 2004—A total of 36 journalists were killed worldwide as a direct result of their work in 2003, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). This is a sharp increase from 2002, when 19 journalists were killed. The war in Iraq was the primary reason for the increase, as 13 journalists, more than a third of this year's casualties, were killed in hostile actions.

In fact, according to CPJ's statistics, the death toll in Iraq was the highest annual total from a single country since 24 journalists were killed in Algeria in 1995 at the height of civil strife between the government and Islamist militants.
New York, September 15, 2003— The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemns the recent wave of attacks on journalists by government security forces and by Maoist rebel forces in Nepal. Since rebels broke a cease-fire agreement on August 27, reports of journalists being kidnapped, arrested, threatened, and even murdered have risen dramatically.

According to local journalists, government security forces have kidnapped at least three journalists in recent weeks in the capital, Kathmandu: Sitaram Baral, the assistant editor of the weekly Janaastha, was abducted after leaving his house to conduct an interview on Saturday, September 13; Subhashankar Kandel, editor of the weekly Janadharana, was reportedly taken from his home on September 9 by plainclothes security forces; and Ramahari Chaulugain, a reporter with the weekly Sanghu, was kidnapped on August 28 by an unknown group suspected to be linked to security forces.
New York, September 8, 2003—Gyanendra Khadka, a journalist with the government news agency Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS), was killed on Sunday, September 7, in Jyamire, in Nepal’s eastern Sindhupalchowk District. CPJ is investigating the incident.

According to RSS, a group of suspected Maoist rebels took Khadka away from a school where he taught part-time and led him to a nearby field, where they tied his hands to a pole and slit his throat. No motive is known for his murder.

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