On April 29, Vishal Rai, the founder of a popular Nepali metal society Extreme Underground Metal Society of Nepal (EUMSN) was put behind the bars after the police received a complaint of noise pollution.
However, the organisers say they had all the necessary paperwork.
On April 26, the Nepal police reportedly stopped their performance at thrash metal festival ‘Thrashmandu’. According to Unite Asia, a website dedicated to covering news related to punk/hard rock/metal music from across Asia, the organisers of the festival had taken permission from the authorities for the show to go ahead.
Despite that, over 25 cops showed up at the venue (Anti Soma Cafe, Lalitpur) and disrupted the show.
A few days later, Rai was jailed.
Enraged, the members of EUMSN on May 4 took to their Facebook page to launch the ‘Free Vishal Rai’ campaign in order to seek support from metalheads around the world.
According to their statement, the police have kept Rai in custody at Jwalakhel jail without even informing the members of EUMSN as well as Rai’s family what the charges are.
“We are making rounds to the police station and other offices everyday only to be given one excuse after another,” said the statement.
The members also alleged that the police have been telling fabricated stories to local media groups about the said event.
“They have sold fake stories to several media houses saying that it was a trance party and people from countries like Mexico and Israel are involved, but this is a complete fabrication. They also reported drugs at the show which is also a completely fabricated element that the corrupt cops are using against our freedom,” said the statement.
The members of the metal society believe that the authorities are trying to shut down independent underground music and the freedom of speech and expression.
In lieu of that, they have appealed everyone to “unite in protest against our freedom”.
Similarly, another death metal group Watain Live (based in Sweden), on March 7, was banned from performing at a concert in Singapore, Reuters reported. The info-communications Media Development Authority told Reuters that the decision came after people raised objections to the band’s history of “denigrating religions and promoting violence.”
Featured image credit: EUMSN’s Facebook page