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Slain Journalist Yadav Poudel Was Preparing to Launch Newspaper

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He felt he was doing well in journalism and there was no reason to worry about his safety, recalls a family member of the slain Jhapa journalist Yadav Poudel.



A large number of people, including media workers and entrepreneurs from Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari and Ilam as well as civil society members and ordinary people gathered at the last rites of the slain jouralist Yadav Poudel, perfromed this afternoon at Kankai river in Jhapa, reports Gyanendra Niraula from Jhapa.

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Photo © Yadav Poudel/Facebook




















The Jhapa chapter of Federation Nepalese Journalists has condemned the killing of journalist Yadav Poudel who had been working with various news outlets based in the district.

The president of FNJ Jhapa chapter Ganesh Pokhrel and secretary Dipenwala Rai issued today a press statement calling for an immediate arrest of the killer(s) and stern punishment.

A delegation led by the eastern region coordinator of FNJ Mohan Kaji and chapter president Pokhrel reached the District Administration Office today and submitted a press statement to chief district officer Narendra Raj Sharma. The statement said the killing of journalist Poudel involved serious conspiracy and it called for an immediate action against the culprits.

The statement also called for the formation of a investigation committee, the security of the media fraternity, and appropriate compensation for the family of the slain Poudel.

Responding to the delegation's call, the CDO promised that efforts will be focused on arresting the culprits as soon as possible and to bring justice to the victim and his family members. He also tried to assure the journalists disclosing that the police were close to solving the case.

Meanwhile, police have arrested 16 people suspected of their involvement in the incident. Those arrested for questioning include the former president of Jhapa Hotel Entrepreneurs Association Yuba Raj Giri, the proprietors of Purwanchal Sekuwa Corner Som Dhakal and Manju Dhakal, as well as Gopal Yokten, Yogesh Ranapaheli, Roshan Ranapaheli. The names of others arrested have not been made public.

Police have said that they are close to gathering the facts and will be releasing the details soon.

The last rites of journalist Poudel were performed around 4:30 pm today at the river Kankai. A corner meeting was organized following the last rites. The meeting was addressed by district president of Nepali Congress Uddhav Thapa, UML district chair Rabin Koirala, district in-charge of UCPN (Maoist) Jhalak Singh Darlami and the eastern regional coordinator of FNJ Mohan Kaji.

Speaking at the corner meeting, leaders of political parties emphasized that the killers must be apprehended and punished. FNJ eastern regional coordinator Kaji expressed dissatisfaction on the deteriorating security situation for journalists in the district and emphasized that the government must take the responsibility of providing security to journalists.

A large number of people, including media workers and entrepreneurs from Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari and Ilam as well as civil society members and ordinary people gathered at the funeral procession today. Rallies were held in Birtamod and other parts of the country calling for action against the culprits and improved security for journalists.

The 38-year-old journalist Poudel was killed last night at around 1 am near the new Bus Park at Birtamod by an unidentified group.

Poudel, originally a resident of Sijuwa-9, Morang, had been working as a journalist in Jhapa since the last five years. The district police office have said that Poudel was attacked by a sharp weapon. He was deeply wounded in his neck, face, and head. Police had reached the spot of the incident at 1:30 am last night.

A district correspondent for Avenues TV and for Rajdhani daily newspaper, Poudel also worked as the executive editor of New Mechi Times, a local daily published out of Birtamod.

Police had found Poudel's body in front of Purwanchal Sekuwa Corner at the new Bus Park, at the eastern part of the city. His motorcycle was lying near his body and his shoes remain missing. Police have suspected that Poudel's body was dragged to the place where it was lying after he was killed somewhere in the vicinity of that spot.

Poudel is survived by his wife Sonam, his son Kshitiz, daughter Bitisha and his elderly mother. His father passed away years ago. The only son to his parents, Poudel has four sisters.

Shocking incident
The killing comes as a shock to many especially because security conditions for journalists in the whole region spanning the Mechi Zone had remained fairly good. The worst case scenarios were threats to journalists on phone from disgruntled people and cases of violence were virtually non-existent.

The incident comes after two years of a relatively peaceful intersession for journalists in the country, since the killing of Uma Singh (January, 2009) and media entrepreneurs Arun Sighaniya of Janakpur (March 2010), Jamim Shah of Kathmandu (Feb 2010). As many as 13 journalists have been killed in Nepal since 2002. Media watchdogs and rights groups have repeatedly noted widespread impunity in the killing of journalists in Nepal.

Bhola Poudel, one of the uncles of the slain journalist told reporters that he saw no signs of untoward incident when he had met Yadav a couple of weeks ago. He was telling me that he was doing well as a journalist and he was not facing any risks or threats for his works, the elderly Poudel said.

In fact, unlike some journalists who depend on multiple jobs for sustenance, Yadav was giving his full time to journalism working for multiple news organizations.

Killed for his reporting?
The Jhapa FNJ branch has suspected that Yadav was killed for his reporting works. It is learned that in recent times, Yadav had been doing investigative pieces on prostitution in the new Bus Park area in Birtamod and it must have earned him enemies among the illegal business operators.

Police have said that Yadav had been reporting about the burgeoning prostitution trade in the hotels around the new Bus Park area in Birtamod and the fact that he was killed near a hotel leaves room to relate the incident to his journalistic work.

A report by the Dhulabari-based Sargam FM radio, quoting the editor of New Mechi Times, Tirtha Sigdel, said that Yadav had not been coming to his office since the past two days, and he was reportedly working with the former president of Jhapa Hotel Entrepreneurs Association Yuba Raj Giri and some others in preparation for the launch of a new daily newspaper on April 13, 2012.

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