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Pre-polls violence grips Nepal

Passengers who sustained injuries at a microbus attack in Samakhusi on Wednesday evening being received treatment at a hospital. Photo: NMF
Passengers who sustained injuries at a microbus attack in Samakhusi on Wednesday evening being received treatment at a hospital. Photo: NMF.

KATHMANDU: With hardly five days left for November 19 Constituent Assembly (CA) polls, 33 political parties’ anti polls alliance led by Baidhya Maoist faction has stepped up violence and bomb attacks across the nation, though the government has claimed that it has left no stone unturned to maintain security in the country.

At least eight people were injured in a petrol bomb attack on a moving microbus (Ba 1 Ja 9891) carrying passengers at Samakhusi in the Capital Kathmandu on Wednesday evening. According to eyewitness, a group of Maoist cadres hurled the bomb and fled the scene in the evening when the packed with passenger microbus was moving heading towards its destinatio.

The deadly attack comes close on the heels of announcement of CPN-Maoist Chairman Mohan Baidhya that the dissenting alliance headed by him would come up with grimmer approach of protests if public and government continue to deny the strike called by them to disrupt the polls.

Ahead of this heinous attack the suspected Maoist had also hurled petrol bomb at another moving micro bus carrying passenger at Lalitpur, leaving three people seriously injured including a minor.

The commoners are gripped with fear and panic due to the series of petrol bomb attack, torching of the vehicles across the nation.

Only on Tuesday night, the arsonists had set fire on the tourist vehicles in tourist hub city Pokhara, accusing the drivers of defying the bandh. The vehicles were parked in the premises of the Begnas Youth Club to receive the tourists who were staying at Begnas Lake Resort, it is learnt.

In another incident on Tuesday, suspected Maoist cadres hurled two vehicles bearing Indian registration and carrying Indian tourists with petrol bombs in Tahanun district, 150 kilometers west of the Capital Kathmandu while they were heading to Pokhara from Gorkha. Two Indians were injured in the attack while their vehicles were damaged.

An alliance of 33 opposition parties led by a splinter Maoist group imposed a nine-day transport strike after enforcing a general strike on Monday. However, people have defied the bandh and transport entrepreneurs have already announced to resume their service, after the government promised to provide 50 thousand rupees as initial compensation if the bandh organizers vandalized the vehicles.

In the meantime, Nepal tourism entrepreneurs are worried over the vehicle strikes, saying it has affected the movements of the tourists residing and visiting Nepal. They have also expressed fear that attacks on the tourists and the vehicles ferrying them will have negative impact on the already sick-abed Nepalese tourism industry.

According to Nepal Tourism Board member Tikaram Sapkota, nearly 0.3 million foreign tourists  visit Nepal annually in Pokhara alone while scores of domestic tourists pay visit the town also dubbed as City of Lake for Annapurna trekking and viewing other natural sceneries. According to Sapkota the tourists who are staying in Pokhara are concerned about their safety and mulling over to cut short their trip to Nepal.

Meanwhile, the government has arrested hundreds of cadres across the country for their involvement in the arsenic attack.

The elections for a constituent assembly are the second since Nepal’s 10-year civil war ended in 2006.

 

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