Sound of silence
Involvement in university political life can make students key targets of repressive regimes, as Raghav Chawla explains
- By: Raghav Chawla
In October 2003, Sanjiv Kumar Karna, a 24 year old student in Nepal, was arrested and taken into police custody, along with 10 other students. Six of them were released soon after their confinement, and they reported having experienced profound torture and cross examination. The remaining five, including Karna, however, have not been heard of since.
Amnesty International (see box) has highlighted Karna's case in its 2004 Greetings Card Campaign.1 The young man's disappearance is only one of over 400 cases that Amnesty has tracked down in Nepal since August 2003, when peace talks broke down between the Nepalese government and the Communist Party of Nepal, which is led by Maoist rebels.
Karna's arrest is believed to be linked to his interest in student politics and to his former membership of a Nepalese students' organisation, which is aligned to the Communist Party. However, according to his family, Karna resigned from