Nepal’s jailbird lawmaker

3 January 2019: He emerged from a Kathmandu jail Thursday afternoon, was driven few kilometres down the streets to be administered “oath of office and secrecy” and then he was respectfully brought back to his cell at Dillibazaar Jail as Nepal’s newest kind of parliamentarian – a jailbird lawmaker.

Resham Chaudhary was accused of masterminding what is now known as the Tikapur massacre when seven policemen including Senior Superintendent of Police Laxman Neupane were murdered in the most horrific and brutal way in far western Nepal. A two-year-old child was also killed in that peaceful rally-turned violent confrontation on 24 August 2015. Mr Chaudhary escaped to India after an arrest warrant was issued in his name.

Former prime minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” copped serious public anger when in September 2016 he met with Mr Chaudhary in New Delhi (during his state visit) while his police officers back home were working on his arrest day and night.

The former journalist contested and won the December 2017 elections but Nepal’s Election Commission refused to issue him certificate of victory while he remained a fugitive. As a result, he surrendered before Kailali District Court on 26 February last year.

Resham Chaudhary -
This collage shows Resham Chaudhary on the right, slain SSP Neupane top left and bodies of police officers massacred on 24 August 2015

Much like a Bollywood-like hiccup adding spice and suspense to the plot, Mr Chaudhary had to wait for few extra hours for his oath today because his jailer apparently did not have any official intimation for his jail-secretariat-jail detour.

Although he has been sworn in, Mr Chaudhary will be barred from attending proceedings of the House of Representatives so long as his case remains sub judice and neither will he receive any remuneration, it is understood.

People including political party leaders of the South Asian nation have already taken to social media to decry the swearing-in of the accused mastermind of the Tikapur massacre.

Main opposition party in the South Asian nation, Nepali Congress, has protested against the swearing-in ceremony of Mr Chaudhary, which was administered by speaker Krishna Bahadur Mahara. “A lawmaker serving jail-term under the charge of moral degradation cannot take an oath of office and secrecy in line with Rule 244 (3) of the House of Parliamentary Rules,” MyRepublica quoted Nepali spokesperson Bishwo Prakash Sharma as saying.

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