Nepal blocks film on civil war torture by army
Kathmandu: The makers of a film depicting torture by Nepal's army during the civil war on Thursday accused the government of censorship after they were forced to cancel the movie's release due to delays in getting approvals.
The film "Badhshala", meaning "Slaughterhouse" in Nepalese, is based on the infamous saga of torture and disappearances carried out by a Kathmandu-based battalion during the country's 1996-2006 civil war.
The army has raised objections to the four-million-rupee (USD 46,512) film saying it could harm the peace process and was made using army uniforms without permission.
"The government denied permission to release the film under the pressure of the army in the pretext of derailing the peace process, which is totally absurd," director of the film Manoj Pandit said.
He said that he would soon knock Supreme Court's door to get justice. "It is an attack on the freedom of the artists. I will also mobilise people against the government's move," he added.
Yadunath Panthi, a spokesman for the ministry of communications, said "The government hasn't yet made a decision, so we can't call this censorship."
Altogether 49 suspected Maoist cadres were detained and later disappeared, during the decade long insurgency, with widespread reports of severe torture being dealt to them by the army's Bhairavnath Battallion.
No clarification was given about their condition and Nepal Army has come under severe criticism for the disappearances.
The Maoist cadres were dissatisfied as the Maoist led government did not pay any attention to the condition of the disappearance people and their family members even as they led two governments over the past 6-7 years.
More than 16,000 people died in the civil war between Maoist rebels and government forces, and more than 1,000 are still missing.
Human rights groups have recorded abuses including torture by both sides and say little has been done to bring those responsible to justice.
Hundreds of comments have poured in on facebook against the government's move to ban the film. A protest programmes is also being organised at Mandala Theatre in Kathmandu on Friday. "This movie should be released at any cost," says a comment posted on Facebook.
"We are very sorry to announce the release date of Badhshala in Nepal is postponed for unscheduled date. The upcoming journey is definitely tough but we will win for sure. We will take this Friday as Black Friday," reads a message on the Facebook wall posted by the producer of the movie.