(Uma Singh, a journalist with Radio Today in the southern town of Janakpur in Nepal, was killed on 11th January 2009. The Federation of Nepali Journalists has mounted a campaign asking for immediate action against Uma’a killers and a firm commitment by the government to the freedom of press. Uma’s killinng comes in the wake of attacks on different media houses in Kathmandu. Like Lasantha Wickrematunge in Sri Lanka, Uma was killed for writing and speaking fearlessly at the other end of Southasia.)
Janakpur: It was impossible to believe that Uma Singh at Ganga Sagar Ghat on Tuesday morning – an FNJ flag draped over her still body, face bandaged all across, the cuts on the head visible – was the same Uma I had met two months ago.
Uma’s looks were deceptive, for the tiny frame contained abundant energy. By the time I strolled into Radio Today’s studio at 6 am in mid-November, Uma had wrapped up her morning bulletin. She was running around the office and passing instructions in a matter-of-fact professional way
She briefed me on the format of Janakpur’s most popular Maithili political discussion show, Garma garam chai. I still remember how Uma said to both her co-anchor and me, “Please avoid English words. The programme is meant for people in villages.” I nodded, a little ashamed my Maithili was not as fluent. Continue reading “Why?”