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Nepali party says Maoists attacked its activists

The Nepali Congress party said Maoists stormed in their meeting, beat activists, snatched microphone and tore down party flag.

india Updated: Oct 31, 2006 12:20 IST

Nepal's biggest political party accused Maoist rebels on Tuesday of attacking and kidnapping its party workers in violation of a code of conduct linked to a six-month-old ceasefire and peace process.

The Nepali Congress party said Maoists stormed one of its public meetings, beat activists, snatched the microphone and tore down its party flag on Saturday in a remote village in west Nepal's Kalikot district.

They also kidnapped six Nepali Congress activists, the party said in a statement.

"These types of activities raise suspicions and doubts about the Maoists in the peace process," it said.

Maoists said the incident was a "minor quarrel" between local activists.

"It was not a serious attack as the Nepali Congress claims. It is over now," said rebel spokesman Krishna Bahadur Mahara.

For much of Nepal's 10-year civil war, the Maoists were accused of intimidating and killing activists from the country's mainstream political parties, mostly in rural areas.

Those attacks died down after rebels agreed a loose alliance with political parties last November.

The peace process took off after King Gyanendra restored democracy in April following weeks of mass protests.

A new multi-party government then signed a ceasefire with the rebels in May and entered peace talks in a bid to end an insurgency in which more than 13,000 people have died.

As part of the ceasefire agreement, the Maoists also agreed not to attack activists of the seven main political parties or hinder their public meetings and organisation.

Human rights groups accuse the rebels of continuing to obtain money through extortion.

Rebels say they only collect voluntary donations.

First Published: Oct 31, 2006 12:20 IST