Nine dead in pre-poll violence
Alarmed by the sudden rise in pre-poll violence, which killed nine people in the last 24 hours, Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala directed security chiefs to strengthen law and order situation across the country on Wednesday.
Seven Maoists cadres were killed in police firing during a clash with Nepali Congress members at Lamahi bazaar on the East West Mahendra Highway in Dang district’s Deukhuri valley.
The cadres had reportedly attacked the vehicle of senior Nepali Congress leader and former Home Minister Khun Bahadur Khadka. The minister’s security personnel retaliated killing five Maoists on the spot.
Two more Maoists succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. Another was killed in police firing in Surkhet after Maoist and UML cadres tried to gherao a police post in Mahelkuna.
Curfew has been imposed in Surkhet after CPN (UML) candidate Rishi Prasad Sharma was shot dead on Tuesday night.
Sharma, who was travelling in a jeep, was shot in Lodhe when he was heading from Maintada to Mehelkuna.
Koirala has asked Chief of Army Staff Rukmangud Katawal, Armed Police Chief Basudev Oli, Nepal Police IGP Om Bikram Rana and chief of Nepal Intelligence Department Dhan Singh Karki to strengthen the security situation during the run up to the Constituent Assembly election.
Worried over the prevailing situation, the PM said a free and fair election is the need of the hour for restoration of peace and democracy in Nepal.
Minister for Home Affairs Krishna Prasad Sitaula has said that the complete details on the Dang killings and candidate murder in Surkhet will soon be made public.
Expressing serious concern over the incidents of killings, Sitaula informed security arrangements have been fully prepared for Thursday’s election. Echoing Koirala’s appeak, the Home Minister urged people to vote freely, claiming that the government is fully alert to respect their civic right.
Home secretary Umesh Mainali said additional forces have been rushed to Dhading district in two helicopters after the reports that a group of 50-60 Maoists abducted 22 Nepali Congress members, including 13 women, from the area.
“We are still receiving several reports of clashes in different hilly districts,” Mainali said, claiming that the overall security situation has been satisfactory.