C. K. Raut PhD (Cambridge), is a formerly US-based computer scientist, author and political leader, who has been involved in demanding a separate Madhesh country for the Madhesi people. He is often placed under house-arrest by the Government of Nepal .
Raut was born in Mahadeva Village, in the Saptari district, Sagarmatha Zone of Nepal. He attended primary school in his home village, and secondary school in nearby Katti. He went on to study at Tribhuvan University (Nepal), Tokyo University (Japan) & Cambridge University (UK).
He is a recipient of Young Nepalese Engineer Award, Mahendra Bidhya Bhusan, Kulratna Gold Medal, and Trofimenkoff Academic Achievement Award.
He worked as a computer scientist for the US based company Raytheon BBN technologies.
Raut is the founding president of the Non-Resident Madhesi Association, a global diaspora organisation of Madhesi people people living abroad.
He is also the founder of the Injot Movement, a social transformation initiative targeted at Nepal, Ethiopia & Bangladesh. In recent years, he has been advocating for an end to racism, colonisation & discrimination imposed on the Madheshi people, by the Nepali “ruling class” by his definition.
On 13 September 2014, the Government of Nepal arrested Raut for giving a speech to indigenous people, called Santhals, in their annual festival. Raut started fast unto death in custody from 20 September arguing that his right to freedom and expression was violated by the government.
He was hospitalised on 25 September after complaints of severe stomach pain. Nepali Congress Vice-President Ram Chandra Poudel, Minister for Information & Communications Minendra Rijal & Agriculture Minister Hari Parajuli went to the hospital to urge Raut to end his fast. He ended his fast on 1 October after 11 days, upon government’s request & commitment to respect freedom of expression. The Attorney Office filed a sedition case at the Special Court on 8 October.
New York City based Human Right Watch issued this statement on the arrest and subsequent filing of sedition charges against Dr Raut.
“The Nepal authorities should immediately withdraw sedition charges & unconditionally release rights campaigner Chandra Kant Raut. His arrest threatens the chances of a robust debate on federalism & undermines the promise of inclusion. Raut’s arrest shows that minority voices can & will be easily sidelined.”