Calls to boycott the events to be organised by the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN) have risen as the cricket regulatory body allows rape-accused cricketer Sandeep Lamichhane to practice.
On Saturday, people stood on the protest site of Maitighar Mandala holding placards questioning the move of CAN to induct Lamichhane, who is out on bail but under Police investigation for allegedly raping a minor, in the team. Demonstrators who stood with placards near the administrative centre-Singha Durbar held the placards reading "CAN or CANNOT?" "Are we safe?"
"Gentleman Game or Mentalman Game?" amongst others.
Users have taken social media by storm against the cricket regulatory body using #BoycottCAN which has gone viral in the Himalayan nation.
A Twitter user with the handle @RameshBhusal mentioned the Scotland and Namibian team calling them to boycott the game planned for later this month and tweeted "Hello, Cricket Scotland @CSMOA_ and Cricket Namibia @CricketNamibia1, could you please boycott the game with Nepal. Our team includes a rape accused player named Sandip Lamichhane. @CricketNep"
Nepal is set to host a triangular series under the ICC World Cup League 2 in Kirtipur from February 14-21 featuring Namibia and Scotland. Calls have risen to boycott the games after Lamichhane was inducted into the team for practice which started on Thursday.
Another Twitter user with the name @Anjita_Anjita tweeted "@CricketNep is a rape enabler! Boycott #CAN. Cricket lovers - boycott the game. @PM_nepal_@cmprachanda as a minister of youth and sports and the PM immediately stop this horror from happening."
The Nepal cricketer is accused of raping a 17-year-old minor on August 21 last year and was released on bail on January 13 by Patan High Court. On Tuesday, the Attorney General's Office moved the Supreme Court challenging the High Court's decision.
An investigation is being conducted against him under Section 219 of the Criminal Code 2074. If the crime against him stands, he will serve a prison term of 10-12 years. The national cricket governing body, the Cricket Association of Nepal (CAN), lifted the suspension imposed on the 22-year-old cricketer through its executive committee meeting on Tuesday and included him in the 20-member national team camp announced on Thursday.
The CAN had suspended him on September 8 after the Kathmandu District Court issued an arrest warrant.
"Disappointment, rage and anger is all I have and these are actually very sad things to feel when there's such an idiotic action from a national association to such a sensitive issue. #BoyCottCAN" tweeted a user @Prasansha27.
"I am a supporter of Nepali cricket, I used to go and watch all the games played by Nepal in Nepal. But due to the decision to include the rape accused of #CAN in the team, this time I have reached the point where I will not watch it on the field or even on TV or on the scoreboard. #BoycottCAN #rageagainstrape" tweeted user @DhirendraSinal.
On September 8, while making public its decision to suspend Lamichhane, it put out a statement saying that "... the CAN work execution committee has decided to suspend Lamichhane in light of the Kathmandu District Court issuing an arrest warrant against him for investigation into a rape charge."
Back then, it had not tried to downplay the accusation against Lamichhane by terming it a 'disciplinary action'.
But while lifting the suspension on February 1, CAN said "Board decided to lift the earlier suspension against former cricket captain Sandeep Lamichhane who was punished for violating discipline".