Kathmandu: A group of 250 journalists in Nepal on Friday took out a rally to protest Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai`s recent statement against the arrests of Maoist cadres allegedly involved in a journalist`s killing.
The journalists, under the banner of the Federation of Nepalese Journalists (FNJ), also demanded stern action against those involved in the abduction and murder of radio journalist Dekendra Thapa in western Dailekh district in 2004.
Besides FNJ, journalist bodies like Press Chautari and Nepal Press Union took part in the rally that passed through major streets of Kathmandu.
"Nepal is heading towards anarchy as the Prime Minister himself has directed the Nepal Police to release the culprits involved in the murder of journalist Thapa," FNJ President Shiva Gaunle said.
"The prime minister`s statement is against both the principle of rule of law and press freedom," Gaunle said.
He also warned to launch intensified agitation if the government obstructs the legal process against the culprits.
On Tuesday, Bhattarai, who himself is a Maoist leader, had expressed dissatisfaction over the arrest of five Maoist cadres in the case, saying resurrection of civil war era cases was against the spirit of the peace accord.
Thapa, a reporter of state-run Radio Nepal, was abducted by alleged Maoist rebels from Dailekh district. The Maoists had tortured him in captivity for about a month before burying alive. His body was found in a jungle near Dwari village four years later in 2008.
The police last week arrested the Maoist cadres in connection to the abduction and murder. The Maoist cadres have admitted to police that they were involved in the killing of the journalist, sources said.