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Bomb found near Nepal vice president's home as Hindi war rages

world Updated: Sep 14, 2009 19:24 IST

Nepal's first Vice President Paramananda Jha, whose status remains uncertain after being caught up in a row for taking his oath of office in Hindi, came under fresh attack on Monday with a bomb being found near his personal residence.

“The bomb was discovered about 10m away from the residence of the vice president,” Jha's aide Devananda Jha told IANS. “The army bomb disposal squad is here to defuse it.”

This is the third time that miscreants tried to bomb Jha's residence.

Last month, bombs were hidden twice near the residence of the former judge in Gaurighat, near the Pashupatinath temple. While the first bomb exploded, injuring a woman, the second was detected by security forces and defused.

Five people belonging to an underground armed organisation, the Kirat Janabadi Workers' Party, were arrested in connection with the bombing.

Jha, who became Nepal's first vice president last year after the Hindu kingdom became a secular republic, was taken to court by an ultra-nationalistic lawyer soon afterwards for taking his oath of office and secrecy in Hindi.

The 65-year-old comes from Rajbiraj town in Saptari district which lies in Nepal's terai plains, where residents prefer Hindi over Nepali. However, Nepal's hill community disapprove of Hindi, regarding it as the national language of India.

Nepal's Supreme Court ruled Jha's Hindi oath unconstitutional and ordered him to retake it in Nepali or face being removed from his post.

As the debate over using Hindi for official work in Nepal drove a deep wedge between the Terai and Nepal's elite hill community, Jha refused to obey the order, calling it biased.

He has in retaliation challenged the authority of the court to remove him, saying as per the constitution, only the interim parliament has the power to do so.

While Jha's status remains uncertain, just as deposed king Gyanendra's had three years ago, the coalition government of Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal removed the national flag from his residence and withdrew his state-given security cover.

The move has triggered anger among the members of parliament from Terai, who have threatened to withdraw support from the government.