National

Police step up security across country after ban on Chand group’s activities

  • Strike has partial effect on vehicular movement; sporadic incidents of violence reported
- NAYAK PAUDEL, Kathmandu

Mar 15, 2019-

A nationwide strike called on Thursday by the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal, whose activities were banned by the government on Tuesday, largely crippled normal life across the country.

A couple of days after a second blast in the Capital’s Basundhara, the government on Tuesday branded the Chand outfit as a criminal group and banned its activities. Along with the blast at Basundhara, the outfit had also owned up to the blast targeted at Ncell headquarters, on February 22, which killed one and injured two and the blast at Arun III Hydropower Project in Sankhuwasabha on February 7.

The Chand-outfit had warned of a nationwide strike a week ago. Most of the educational institutes remained closed on Thursday. While Kathmandu saw unhindered traffic movement—albeit fewer vehicles plied the road, the strike’s effect was seen in different parts of the country.

Similarly, suspicious objects were spotted in various districts, including in Kathmandu, Pokhara, Gorkha, Hetauda, Pyuthan and Butwal.

While Nepal Army teams disposed IEDs in Katari of Udaypur district and in Butwal, police said, most of the objects were not explosives and that they were “planted” with an aim to create terror.

“A suspicious object was found in Anamnagar at around 7:30 pm on Wednesday. When an Army team reached there, it was found that the object was not an explosive device,” DSP Kaji Acharya of Metropolitan Police Circle, Singha Durbar, told the Post.

SP Bhola Rawal, chief of Gorkha District Police, told the Post that they found two pressure cookers but “they were not improvised explosive devices”.

Police also received calls from locals in Hetauda about suspicious objects being abandoned at a market place. But it turned out to be a hoax.

“A plastic bag which was believed to have contained explosives had bricks inside,” said SP Buddhiraj Gurung, chief of Makawanpur District Police.

The banda affected life in Sudurpaschim Province as transportation was obstructed while marketplaces and educational institutions remained closed in the area.

Along with planting explosives, arson attacks have also been reported from some regions. According to police, vehicles in Kailali, Nawalparasi and Hetauda were set ablaze by unidentified groups of people.

In Kailali, the banda enforcers torched a bus ferrying wedding attendants near Badaipur. The Chand party activists intercepted the vehicle with the registration number Ma 1 Kha 441 at around 1am and set it ablaze after forcing the passengers off the vehicle.

Likewise, a group of four masked men torched a Hetauda-bound truck at Nayagaun along Tribhuwan Highway on Wednesday night. The arsonists took driver and his assistant out of the vehicle and set it on fire by dousing petrol, said police.

“All the district police offices have been directed to beef up security in their areas. They have also been directed to ask for assistance from Armed Police Force,” SSP Uttam Raj Subedi, spokesperson for Nepal Police, told the Post.

“With the government making its position clear on the Chand outfit, we can now take action against the cadres and file criminal cases against them accordingly,” said Subedi.

Meanwhile, the Chand-led party has objected to the government’s move of banning its activities. “A ban should be imposed on corrupt people, not on our organisation,” the party said in a statement on Wednesday

Published: 15-03-2019 08:12

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