A 35 year old man has lost a leg and is fighting for his life after being brutally attacked in Kathmandu allegedly by members of Nepal's ruling Maoist party an incident that has made an ally of the government threaten a pullout.
Bibek Devkota, a 35 year old who ran a hotel, Stone Palace, in Kathmandu's Jitpurphedi, is in hospital after being assaulted in broad daylight by a mob led by the Young Communist League (YCL), the strong arm of the Maoists.
Devkota was the local coordinator of the Youth Force, a new youth outfit formed by the Communist Party of Nepal Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), which is an ally of the Maoists in the government as well as its rival.
The Youth Force was constituted to counter the YCL, which is alleged to be behind at least four killings last year as well as several assaults.
"I was surrounded by nearly 100 people Tuesday," a feeble Devkota told IANS lying in a hospital bed with his legs covered in a blanket and a drip attached to his left arm.
"I recognised four to five of them as local YCL members. One of them whipped out a sword and lunged at my throat. When I put my hands around it to protect myself, he hacked at my left leg with it."
Then the men began cutting off his right leg. As he lay bleeding and crying for help, the remorseless attackers tied up his hands and threw him into a nearby pond.
A passing motorcyclist heard his cries for help, recognised him and immediately informed his family.
"We put him in a van used to transport poultry and rushed him to hospital," said Damodar Arryal, Devkota's neighbour and a fellow Youth Force member. "Two hospitals said they would not be able to treat him. Finally, we took him to the Tribhuvan Teaching Hospital where the doctors took pity on us."
At first, the doctors said there was little chance of the victim pulling through. He had lost a huge quantity of blood and was still bleeding profusely. After his weeping wife and parents agreed, the surgeons amputated the left leg from below the knee to save his life.
Even five days later, they are not sure whether the right leg can be saved.
The savage attack has made the UML threaten to pull out of the government of Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.
"We met the prime minister, who said he was shocked and has asked the home ministry to take action against the culprits," Arryal said. "We are also asking for compensation, free medical treatment for Devkota and free education for his two children."
The Maoist PM has reportedly told them he would put up the demands at the cabinet meeting on Monday.
The incident comes even as UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon tabled a new report on Nepal before the Security Council, saying there were questions about the Maoists' commitment to multi party democracy and concern that the party has not abandoned its military past.
"Of course they are still carrying weapons," an enraged Arryal said. "When such an attack takes place in the capital in broad daylight, it makes you realise there is no government in Nepal.'
Late last year, there were repeated protests and strikes in Nepal over the killing of four Youth Force cadres, all of them blamed on the YCL.