Prominent Nepalese journalist arrested for terrorism links
Police in Nepal Wednesday said they have arrested a prominent Nepalese journalist for suspected links to a terrorist organization, dpa reported.
Rishi Dhamala, who is also the president of the Nepal Reporters Club that brings together diplomats, politicians and journalists, was remanded to 14-day judicial custody by a court following his arrest.
Dhamala is accused of having links with Ranvir Sena, an armed group operating in southern Nepal, the police said.
The group is accused of a series of bombings in Kathmandu in September 2007 which killed three people and injured nearly three dozen.
Police also said they had arrested three other men who were high- ranking members of Ranvir Sena and were working in the guise of journalists in Kathmandu.
"Dhamala had extended various kind of support to the three men and his arrest was based on their statements," a Kathmandu police official said.
Police also played a telephone recording in which Dhamala allegedly made a deal with a businessmen to pay extortion money to Ranvir Sena.
"All the allegations are baseless and the government is trying to frame me," Dhamala told journalists at the police station.
Police said they found arms and proof that the three men were members of the group at the time of the arrest.
Ranvir Sena has been active in large areas of the southern Nepalese plains known as Terai and is demanding the reinstatement of Hinduism as the official religion.
Nepal became a secular state after King Gyanendra's government was over thrown in a mass demonstration in April 2006.