Provincial editor shot, seriously injured

New York, March 15, 2005—Unidentified gunmen today shot and seriously injured a newspaper editor at his office in Dharan, 540 kilometers (335 miles) east of the capital, Kathmandu. Khagendra Shrestha, who edits the local Dharan Today newspaper, was shot twice in the head, according to local and international news reports.

Shrestha was brought to B.P. Koirala Medical Institute and was reported to be in critical condition.

The Committee to Protect Journalists is investigating to determine whether the shooting was connected to Shrestha’s work.

In the past, journalists have been targeted for arrest, abduction, and physical attack by both sides of an ongoing conflict between the government and Maoist rebels.

Yesterday, the largest demonstrations to date against King Gyanendra’s February 1 dismissal of the multiparty government and declaration of a state of emergency led to hundreds of arrests. A ban on public dissent has muted protest to the king’s curtailment of civil liberties, and security forces yesterday cracked down on protesters nationwide; most of the arrests took place at the nation’s biggest protests, in the southern town of Janakpur.

At least one journalist who was detained while covering the protests yesterday remains in custody. Sarad Adhikari, a correspondent for Channel Nepal in the western district of Dang, has been detained and may be held for three months, according to Federation of Nepalese Journalists.