Kathmandu: Nepal government has promoted an Army officer allegedly involved in human rights violations during the country`s decade-long Maoist insurgency, a move condemned by rights organisations.
A cabinet meeting yesterday decided to promote five colonels including Raju Basnet, who was implicated in the forced disappearance of 49 Maoist cadres during the peak period of the insurgency, to the rank of brigadier general.
Various national and international human rights groups had been exerting pressure against Basnet`s promotion, citing his alleged role in the torture and disappearance cases.
As per the cabinet decision, four other colonels promoted are Prabhu Ram Sharma, Bijay Dhowj Karki, Samir Shahi and Subarna Mahat.
Meanwhile, the Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), a rights watchdog today expressed serious concern over the government`s decision to promote Col Basnet.
In a statement, INSEC said the government`s decision would promote a state of impunity in the country.
Basnet had commanded the Bhairabnath Battalion in 2003, when soldiers under him allegedly tortured suspected Maoists cadres and their sympathisers, according to investigations carried out by the UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights and the National Human Rights Commission.
During the civil war that ended in 2006, over 16,000 people were killed while over 1,000 are still missing.