Stealth attacks prompt govt to deploy more plain-clothes cops
KAMAL PARIYAR KATHMANDU, Nov 14: The government has concluded that the violent activities that have been unleashed by the anti-poll alliance are ´criminal´ in nature. A high-level security meeting held under Chairman of the Interim Election Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi at Singha Durbar on Thursday reached the conclusion that the violent activities being carried out by the CPN-Maoist led alliance were not of the realm of politics.
Though the agitating parties have been denying before the national and international community that they were involvement in the explosions and violent activities, the meeting also decided to hold the Mohan Baidya-led alliance liable for all the violent activities taking place in recent days unless it is proved otherwise, according to a statement issued by Chairman Regmi´s office. According to the statement, the government has initiated legal action against those involved in violent activities, following a micro-analysis of all the anti-poll violence. The government also clarified that those who have directed, incited or implemented such activities are all legally responsible for the criminal activities.
Home Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire, Chief Secretary Leela Mani Poudyal, Chief of Army Staff Gaurab SJB Rana, Home Secretary Janardan Nepal, Acting Nepal Police chief Upendra Kanta Aryal, Armed Police chief Kosh Raj Onta and Chief Investigation Director Moti Bahadur Gurung, among others, were present at the meeting. The meeting also took stock of the overall security situation in the country and decided to adopt new security strategy to contain the violent activities of anti-poll forces. The government has started deploying additional plain-clothes police personnel as anti-poll forces are found targeting vehicles and planting bombs where there is no presence of security personnel. Evaluating the latest incidents of stealth attack, the government has decided to deploy the ´utmost´ number of plain-clothes police.
According to a senior official at the Ministry of Home Affairs, “In some places we have doubled the number of plain-clothes police and in some other places even more than that”. Though Kathmandu Valley police face a manpower crunch as the government has deployed more than 50 percent of all Metropolitan Police personnel outside the Valley, they have deployed plain-clothes police out of the reserved force, a Metropolitan Police official said. Nepal Police spokesperson SSP Ganesh KC hoped that the untoward activities would come under control in the coming days. Meanwhile, addressing a press briefing at Singha Durbar on Thursday, Home Ministry Spokesperson Shankar Prasad Koirala said, “The government would deal strongly with the anti-election forces. We have intensified investigations into those arrested and if they are found guilty we will charge them under existing law.”
Condemning the attempts to cause civilian deaths, he said, “The activities of the anti-poll forces are inhuman and anti-political in nature”. Metropolitan Police on Thursday made public 28 individuals arrested in connection with the vandalizing of vehicles and planting of improvised explosive devices (IED) and bombs at different places in the Valley. Addressing a press conference at the Metropolitan Police Commissioner´s Office (MPCO), Ranipokhari, SSP Hemanta Paal, spokesperson at the Metropolitan Police Commissioner´s Office, said those involved in such unlawful activities were cadres of the CPN-Maoist.
SSP Pal said following the arrests made in connection with the recent attacks on transport vehicles and planting of bombs across the country, it has been proved that the ´unidentified group´ were cadres of the CPN-Maoist and the alliance led by it. Similarly, SSP Subodh Ghimire, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Range Office, Hanumandhoka, said that the guerilla style activities of the anti-poll group can be compared to that of terrorists. He termed Wednesday´s petrol bomb attack on a microbus at Samakhusi a terrorist act. Among those arrested were former PLA combatants and party cadres who are active in different sister organizations of the CPN-Maoist.
But Arjun Ramtel, one of the arrested, claimed that they were not involved in hurling bombs and planting IEDs. The arrested also complained that the police treated them like common criminals such as murderers, kidnappers, pickpockets, robbers and thieves. Meanwhile, cadres of the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist, dubbed by police as the ´unidentified group´, have attacked moving vehicles with petrol bombs in different parts of the country as well. Two moving vehicles were attacked with petrol bombs in Bara and Kavre districts, injuring three passengers. Similarly, a private car was set ablaze in Kavre. A truck (Na. 3 Kha 5697) heading east from Pathlaiya in Bara was attacked with a petrol bomb, leaving three injured. The injured were identified as truck driver Rajkumar Chhetri, Hari Prasain and Nageshwor Chaudhari, according to the police. Similarly, a bus (Ba. 2 Kha 1487) was attacked with a petrol bomb at Gothpani of Kavre. At Methinkot, also in Kavre, a car (Ba. 3 Ja 1503) was set ablaze. Police said a group on motorcycles set the car on fire and then fled.
CPN-Maoist Parbat joint in charge quits party
BAGLUNG, NOV 15 – CPN-Maoist Parbat district joint in charge Keshav Raj Kunwar on Friday announced his decistion to quit the party. Kunwar made such announcement at a press conference organised in Baglung district, saying the culture of destruction will lead nowhere. He said he would dedicate himself for building the nation from now onwards. He said the CPN-Maoist has been carrying out violent activities such as planting bombs and arson that are against the public and that he is no more associated with the CPM-Maoist party. He has also urged the party to withdraw the strike saying that it has hampered the constitution writing process. He also went on to say that nation will find a way out of the crisis through the Constituent Assembly elections.
Anti-poll leaders face arrest
KATHMANDU, NOV 15 – After four days of violence, the government on Thursday said it will arrest top leaders of poll-opposing parties, including the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist, who, according to the government, are behind the escalating violence. Police have so far been arrest ing party workers only, who were found picketing during the strike called by the poll-opposing parties to foil the November 19 election. Police have arrest ed 86 cadres of the parties in the past four days in connection with vandalism and arson across the country. Among the arrested are two members of the Newa State Council, a wing of the CPN-Maoist.
Arjun Ramtel, 38 of Budhanilkantha-3 and Surendra Maharjan, 45, of Kathmandu-7 were arrest ed from Kapan, Kathmandu, while they were vandalising a vehicle. Police said they have named some top leaders of the CPN-Maoist in their statement. “They will soon be arrested,” SSP Hemanta Pal of the Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office told the Post. In a press conference on Thursday, police said people involved in the violence had all been mobilised by top leaders of the Baidya-led party. “We will soon start arrest ing top leaders of the CPN-Maoist, as they are the ones involved in all the anti-election activities so far,” police said. Even Home Ministry officials said they will now deal with the CPN-Maoist the way they would deal with any other person or organisation that breaks the law and order situation. “We will soon tackle these groups and book the leaders under the existing laws,” Ministry spokesperson Shanker Koirala said.
The CPN-Maoist cadres’ ‘hit and run’ tactics and the way they have been attacking and torching public vehicles gave security officials a tough time in the past two days. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office said 10 people were arrest ed from Lalitpur, while four were arrest ed from Kathmandu district on Thursday. Pal said apart from hoax bomb calls in three places of the Valley, no other such incidents were reported. Police said cases have been filed against 28 of the 86 arrest ed, while 32 have been already released after interrogation. Investigations are underway with regard to the remaining 26, who, police believe, are CPN-Maoist cadres.
11 Baidya men arrested
SYANGJA: Police arrest ed five CPN-Maoist activists with an improvised explosive device from Setidovan-1 here on Thursday. Maoist state committee member Binod Sonam, district committee member Prem Adhikari, area in-charge Khim Bahadur BK and activists Nanda Kumar Thapa and Tilak Bahadur Gurung were held with the explosives, police said. Some pamphlets urging poll boycott were also seized from them. Meanwhile, in Khotang, six district leaders of the CPN-Maoist were arrested, our correspondent there said.
CPN-Maoist refuses to honour SC order
KATHMANDU, NOV 15 – The poll-opposing alliance of 33 political parties led by the CPN-Maoist has refused to comply with the Supreme Court order to withdraw the ongoing transportation strike . The SC on Thursday had ordered the agitating alliance to call off its 10-day long transportation strike stating that no party has the right to infringe on the people’s right to vote guaranteed by the constitution. At a press meet organised at party office in Buddhanagar, Kathmandu on Friday, CPN-Maoist Chairman said the alliance will not honour the apex court order contending that the court is not the people’s court.
“In fact this is not truly a people’s court,” said Baidya, flanked by other leaders, at the press meet, “The SC is only a syndicate court of big four political parties.” He raised questions over independent image and impartiality of the court. Chairman Baidya reiterated that a single person is holding the post of prime minister and head of judiciary against the principle of separation of powers. He further said that the SC has raised question marks over its impartiality by postponing hearings on 17 cases against Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, who was appointed as the Chairman of Interim Election Government. According to sources close to CPN-Maoist, the SC staffers who went to CPN-Maoist office to submit the court order were turned back saying the office has closed.
Anti-poll bloc may hit streets
KATHMANDU, NOV 15 – After the government started cracking down on their anti-election activities, poll-opposing parties led by the CPN-Maoist have decided to intensify their protest programmes. A meeting of the alliance on Thursday tasked CPN-M Secretary Dev Gurung with charting out the course of the protest. Though no final decision has been taken, alliance leaders said they are planning to hit the Kathmandu streets. The parties are currently carrying out their activities from behind the scenes due to the government crackdown. “We have realised the need for stronger protest programmes. The CPN-Maoist has taken the responsibility of formulating the plan,” said Pasang Sherpa, chairman of the Social Democratic Party Nepal.