Editorial

Dark days

  • Yesterday’s fatal shooting in the Capital demands action against gun violence

Oct 11, 2017-Sharad Kumar Gauchan, president of the Federation of Contractors’ Associations of Nepal (FCAN), was shot dead at Thulo Kharibot, Shantinagar on Monday. Gauchan was the proprietor of Danfe Construction, one of the largest construction companies in Nepal. Speculating that extortion was the motive behind the murder would not be remiss, particularly given that reports indicated that the attack on Gauchan was planned. 

Gauchan was shot dead as he was being driven from home towards the FCAN office, which is near Hanumansthan. The gunmen were waiting for Gauchan’s car to appear at the attack point; one assailant threw a brick at the car’s windshield, which prompted the driver of the car to stop. Another assailant then shot at Gauchan—he had three gun wounds, one in the heart and two in the abdomen. The speed and accuracy of the shots, and the depth of planning (the gunmen obviously knew the route Gauchan would take) is particularly alarming; unless the perpetrators are caught, we potentially have trained sharpshooters on the loose, according to security offcials. 

This follows two shootings in Kathmandu that occurred in April this year. Gangster Dawa Lama of Bouddha was fatally shot on April 11 at Dibya Marga in Guheshwari. The second incident involved Santosh Khadka, Office Secretary of the Federation of National Christian Nepal, on April 16 who luckily survived the incident. 

The last time such a high profile shooting occurred in the Capital was in 2012, when Supreme Court justice Rana Bahadur Bam was shot dead in his car in Lalitpur, as he was traveling from the Bagalamukhi Temple to work. Before that, media entrepreneur Janmin Shah was fatally shot in 2010. Around that time, the Valley had witnessed some other high profile shootings, including attempted killing of the Managing Director of Bharatpur Medical College. 

That such acts of terrible violence with the aim to kill are re-emerging in the Valley is extremely worrisome. Nepal may have strict gun controls, but despite these measures, in 2010, the police identified Thamel as an area where an illegal gun market thrived. Firearms are reportedly smuggled through the open border with India, and through Lhasa as well. The resurgence of gun-violence shows that more needs to be done to curb this illegal trade.

The police arrested three people from Manamaiju minutes after Gauchan was shot, and they found three live bullets and a handmade gun in the possession of these suspects. Some more subsequent arrests have been made on yesterday. However, it is not yet ascertained whether these suspects are actually connected with the Gauchan killing. Added to this, no progress has been made in arresting the culprits behind the shootings in April. Also, the authorities need to figure out how to stem the flow of illegal weapons from across the border, and investigate if such weapons have begun to be manufactured, or customised, here. We urge the police to step up its game and swiftly move to investigate such killings, and the government to seriously look into the matter.

Published: 11-10-2017 08:13

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