Man from Kootneta village slaps Prachanda


In yet another instance of ‘scorning mockery’ of the political leadership, a 25-year-old youth from Baglung district on Friday slapped UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, aka Prachanda, in public.

The former rebel leader and prime minister was slapped on his face by one Padam Kunwar during the party’s tea reception at Bhrikuti Mandap. It was not immediately clear why he attacked the party boss but some people who are acquainted with him attributed it to frustration with the party leadership. The party convened an emergency meeting after the incident and quickly dismissed the move as a conspiracy.

Kunwar, who is now in police custody, was not available for first-hand comment.

The assault took place while party cadres were approaching Dahal one-by-one to exchange greetings at the annual reception which is open to the public. When Kunwar’s turn came, he first shook his hands with Dahal, and slapped him hard before being overpowered by party cadres. Dahal, whose spectacles flew off his face, was whisked off the stage. Kunwar was beaten black and blue by UCPN (Maoist) cadres until police intervened. A severely injured Kunwar, bleeding profusely from his nose, was rushed to the hospital. Police, however, said he was out of danger. He is undergoing treatment at the Nepal Police Hospital, Maharajgunj, according to DSP Dhiraj Pratap Singh, Spokesman of the Kathmandu Metropolitan Police Range (MPR).

Political analyst and former Maoist leader Mumaram Khanal, who claimed to be well acquainted with the Kunwar family, said the entire family was “committed to the party agendas during the conflict. Kunwar’s reaction does not carry any political agenda or conspiracy behind.

“This is just a manifestation of public frustration,” Khanal said. “Leaders are being attacked time and again. It is high time they started giving a very serious thought to their accountability towards the public.” Earlier, CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal and UCPN (Maoist) leader Jhakku Subedi were also slapped in two different events in the last couple of years. Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala was attacked by his own party cadre some one-and-a-half months ago at a public event in Kathmandu.

The UCPN (Maoist) had arranged the reception to mark the festivals—Dashain, Tihar, Chhat and Nepal Sambat. Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and party Vice Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha were also on the dais with Dahal when the incident occured.

The party has termed the attack a “premeditated conspiracy”. The emergency meeting called at Dahal’s residence in Lazimpat concluded that it was a move aimed at undermining the recent efforts made by the UCPN (Maoist) to bring the political parties to an agreement, said party Spokesman Agni Sapkota. It is learnt that the assailant Kunwar, a permanent resident of Rajkut-2 of Kootneta in Baglung, was the village in-charge of the UCPN (Maoist)-affiliated Young Communist League (YCL). He left the party after there was a split between factions led by Dahal and Mohan Baidya.

While UCPN (Maoist) leaders on Friday claimed that Kunwar is affiliated to the Baidya-led CPN-Maoist, Tek Bahadur KC, District Secretary of the CPN-Maoist said Kunwar was out of contact for the past two-and-a-half months. “Kunwar was preparing to leave for Japan for employment very soon,” said a party source. Kunwar, who has also been taking hotel management courses in the Capital, lives with his brother-in-law Bhim Bharati.

Probe committee formed

KATHMANDU: The government has formed a committee under Additional Inspector General (AIG) Nawaraj Dhakal to look into Friday’s slapping of UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. The committee that comprises DIG Keshav Bahadur Shahi and SSP Devendra Subedi has been given a seven-day deadline to come up with a report.

Another committee led by Joint Secretary of the Home Ministry Shankar Koirala has been set up to come up with a separate report concerning the effective maintenance of security provided to VIPs and VVIPs. The committee that comprises high-level officials from the Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and the National Investigation Department, has three weeks to complete the assigned task.

UCPN (M), CPN-M disown Kunwar

A native of Kootneta village in Rajkut VDC-2 of Baglung, Padam Kunwar was an active functionary of the UCPN (Maoist), first as a PLA combatant during the insurgency and later a local leader of the party’s youth wing, the Young Communist League (YCL).

He served as the village in-charge of the YCL until the Maoist party underwent a split in June 18. After that, Kunwar was affiliated to neither of the factions, his neighbours said on Friday.

Kunwar’s father Prem Bahadur, his elder brother Sundar and one of his sisters, Sadhana, were also members of the UCPN (Maoist). Both the UCPN (Maoist) and the CPN-Maoist in the district have claimed that Kunwar is not their party member. Krishna KC, chief of the publicity department of the UCPN (Maoist), said Kunwar was not on their side after the party split. Similarly, Tek Bahadur KC of the CPN-Maoist said none of the Kunwars were affiliated to the new party.



Posted on: 2012-11-17 08:05