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Nepal Maoists tax Belgian minister

But Maoist leaders denied that the group was still extorting money from people after signing the peace pact.

india Updated: Jan 11, 2007 17:15 IST

A minister from Belgium was taxed by Nepal's Maoists during a recent trip to the Himalayan Kingdom even as senior rebel leaders denied the group was still extorting money from people after signing a peace agreement with the government.

Belgium Minister for General Administration Vincent Quikenborne was asked to pay "tourism tax" by the Maoists during a trekking trip in Pun Hill in Western Nepal's Myagdi district, the National News Agency (RSS) said.

The Maoists handed over a receipt in the name of the Tamuwan Autonomous People's Republic Government, their local government, to the Belgian Minister, the report said.

Such taxation by the group even after they signed a peace pact with the Seven Party Alliance Government was not good, the minister told the RSS.

Chief of Maoist International Command CP Gajurel recently denied charges that the group was still indulging in extortion.

Maoist cadres have reportedly been collecting Rs 100 daily as tourism tax from foreigners visiting the famous Annapurna Conservation Area.

Daily collections from "tourism tax" in Birethanti area reach between Rs 15,000 to Rs 17,000, said the group's area committee member Mahendra. Some 80 to 90 tourists visit the area daily.

The Maoists are also reportedly collecting tax in Landruk and other tourist destinations in eastern Nepal.

First Published: Jan 11, 2007 17:15 IST