Om Sharma

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Police raided the offices of three publications closely associated with Nepal’s Maoist movement: the daily Janadisha, the weekly Janadesh, and the monthly Dishabodh. Officers arrested nine staff members, including seven journalists, and also confiscated equipment and written materials. The arrested journalists included Om Sharma, an editor for Janadisha; Khil Bahadur Bhandari, executive editor of Janadesh; Govinda Acharya, an editor of Janadesh; Dipendra Rokaya, an editorial assistant at Janadesh; Deepak Sapkota, a reporter for Janadesh; Ishwarchandra Gyawali, executive editor of Dishabodh; and Manarishi Dhital, an editorial assistant for Dishabodh.

All were arrested about two hours before the government announced a state of emergency and issued a sweeping anti-terrorism ordinance that criminalized any contact with or support for Maoist rebels.

On November 5, 2002, nearly one year after their arrests, authorities released Rokaya, Sapkota, Gyawali, and Dhital without charge. Acharya was released on December 16, 2002, along with Chandraman Shrestha, the managing editor of Janadesh, who had been arrested separately.

Sharma, a veteran journalist who is known as an outspoken supporter of the radical left, and Bhandari, also a longtime journalist associated with pro-Maoist papers, remained imprisoned in Kathmandu’s Central Jail at the end of 2002.