Bista moves court against travel ban

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 1, 2018-

Former Maoist child soldier Lenin Bista on Friday moved the Supreme Court against the government’s act to stop him from travelling to Bangkok, claiming that his right to free movement had been curtailed.

In the petition, Bista argues that officials at the Tribhuvan International Airport immigration failed to give any reasons for the ban. Bista, who has long been advocating justice for former Maoist child soldiers, also claimed that the travel ban was an attempt to curb his freedom of expression. He has already filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission.

The rights watchdog has summoned Prem Rai, secretary at the Home Ministry, and Iswhor Raj Paudel, director general at the Immigration Department, to clarify why Bista was held while leaving the country. Both the officials will attend the commission on Sunday for their clarifications.

On August 24, Bista was stopped from flying to Thailand, where he was scheduled to attend a five-day event titled “Youth in Conflict Areas: Healing and Peace Building through Social Engagement.” Officials said the move was directed from the “higher authority”.

Bista has blamed Surya Subedi, advisor to Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, for the bar fearing that he would raise the issue of child soldiers at the international forum. Following criticisms from several quarters, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday asked the Home Ministry to clarify why Bista was stopped within 24 hour.

In its reply, the ministry accused Bista of embezzling funds allocated for disqualified Maoist combatants and involvement in running a call centre using the illegal Voice over Internet Protocol. The ministry said he was stopped since he could tarnish Nepal’s image at the forum in the name of raising the issues of former child soldiers.

Bista has been protesting under the banner Discharged People’s Liberation Army Struggle Committee demanding justice for himself and his peers.

Published: 01-09-2018 07:27

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