Lamichhane Arrest: Tensions flare, restrictions imposed in several areas of Bharatpur

KATHMANDU, Aug 19: The District Administration Office (DAO)  Chitwan has clamped down restrictions in several areas of its jurisdiction effective from Monday. Restricted zones are Chaubiskoth to Malpot Chowk in Bharatpur sub-metropolitan according to the DAO. This was initiated in order to effectively avoid any unwarranted incidents resulting out of severe protests from the public.

Demonstrators have been active since the arrest of popular media personality Rabi Lamichhane in the abetment of suicide of deceased journo Salikram Pudasaini. Whereas one group which include a large fan base of Rabi have demanded his immediate release, the other group has voiced concern for justice to Pudasaini.

“Due to the presence of hospitals, the district court and several government offices in the vicinity, we have to ensure their smooth operation and hence restricted the area from Chaubiskoth to Malpot Chowk due to large scale protests,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Deependra Shah of the District Police in Chitwan.

Police have tightened security in order to make peace and calm in the metropolitan. Since Lamichhane’s arrest on August 15 in connection with the abetment of suicide of journo Pudasaini, the entire area of Bharatpur has been tense with hundreds of demonstrators continuing their protests.

A Mountain television journalist, Pudasaini was found hanging by a ceiling fan in a room at Hotel Kangaroo in Narayangadh on August 5. Days later a heart-rending video clip recorded by Pudasaini “in his final moments” emerged on social media. In the video, Pusadaini held Lamichhane “responsible” for encouraging him to take his own life. Yuvraj Kandel and Asmita Karki, who was also mentioned by Pudasaini in his video, were also arrested for investigation.

The Chitwan District Court remanded the trio to five-day custody for further investigation on Friday.

On Sunday, Pusadaini’s wife Samjhana Ghimire filed an FIR against Lamichhane, Kandel and Karki at Chitwan District Police through Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range.

Earlier, Pudasaini’s family had also registered a complaint demanding an investigation into the case

According to sources, Police are preparing to produce Lamichhane and two others before the court to increase their custody as investigation into the incident remain inconclusive and underway.