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Journalist assaulted, critically injured

(Freedom Forum/IFEX) - Lilanath Ghimire, a journalist working for "Fast Times Daily", was attacked and injured by a gang led by an individual named Thaman Gurung. The incident occurred on the night of 15 August 2010, at Hill Garden Restaurant in Shiva Marg of Dharan-13, in Sunsari district, eastern Nepal.

Ghimire had gone to the restaurant to cover a story regarding the involvement of Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Mingmar Lama in some "suspicious activities" in the restaurant. Media personnel said that Ghimire was attacked by a youth group which is operating under the patronage of SSP Lama. However, SSP Lama claimed that he was not involved in the incident. He added that police were deployed to detain the guilty.

Thaman Gurung reportedly attacked Ghimire with a glass and struck him in the eyes, at around 11:00 p.m., right after SSP Lama left the restaurant, eyewitness Devhang Rai, the Dharan Municipal Coordinator of the Youth Force, confirmed.

Ghimire, who is undergoing treatment at BP Koirala Memorial Institute of Health Science (BPKMIHS) at Dharan, sustained injuries to his right eye.

Freedom Forum is outraged over the incident as the assault reportedly occurred with the alleged involvement of the state body, which is obliged to provide security to the press, in such violent activities. The Forum urges the government to investigate the incident at the earliest in a transparent manner and bring the guilty to book. Further, the Forum asks the government to provide treatment to the injured journalist and ensure his security in the days to come.

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