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'Hindu Al-Qaeda' training suicide bombers in Nepal

world Updated: Jun 20, 2007 13:47 IST
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A band of former soldiers, ex-police personnel and victims of Maoist guerrillas have united in Nepal to form a Hindu army with suicide bombers to fight Islamic and Christian zealots as well as communists.

Called the Nepal Defence Army, the group is headed by a former policeman who says he joined the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist as a schoolboy but has now begun waging war on his former comrades.

The ex-cop, who today calls himself 'Parivartan' (change), claims his band has nearly 1,200 trained soldiers who possess arms and have the expertise to manufacture explosives.

Earlier this year, the Nepal Defence Army made its debut with a couple of blasts, including at the well-guarded office of the Maoists in Kathmandu.

On Wednesday, a Nepali tabloid carried an extensive interview with the shadowy leader, saying he had walked into the tabloid's city office to talk about his organisation.

"Nepal Defence Army has been founded to fight for Hinduism," Parivartan told Nepali weekly Ghanata R Bichar. "Hindus worldwide support us, including the families of top Maoist leaders. Our soldiers are being trained across the border in India and we get the ingredients for manufacturing explosives from India."

However, the new revolutionary said his group had no links with King Gyanendra.

"We are not funded by the palace," he said. "If the palace had tried to promote Hinduism and Nepal as a Hindu state, we wouldn't have to wage our war. We don't dabble in politics. Our sole aim is to form a Hindu state."

Parivartan told the weekly that his party didn't want bloodshed. "The bombs we threw at the Maoist office were intended as a warning and not to kill," he said. "I stopped plans to assassinate Maoist chief Prachanda and Maoist minister Dev Gurung.

"But if the warning is not taken seriously, the eight-party ruling alliance can suffer serious losses."

The shadowy leader held Maoists as their main enemy.

"During their 10-year war, the Maoists destroyed and desecrated temples and attacked priests," he said. "But they never destroyed any church or mosque."

However, he added that Maoists' families still remained devout Hindus. "During the civil war, Prachanda's mother would wake up early in the morning and offer water to the sun god to pray for her son's safety," he said. "It shows they are Hindus and would support Hinduism."

Parivartan ended with a dire warning.

"The Maoists had also begun in a small way," he said. "We learnt how to make bombs from Prachanda's teachings.

"Now, like the Al-Qaeda, we are training suicide squads.

"We have trained five suicide bombers who can go anywhere, including Singh Durbar (the heart of administration in Nepal, where the prime minister's office, key ministries and parliament are located.)"