Chand outfit turns aggressive as talks remain elusive

Published On: August 2, 2019 05:30 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

One NTC, 19 Ncell towers attacked across the country

KATHMANDU, Aug 2: With back-door talks over talks between the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party Nepal and government representatives getting nowhere, the semi-underground outfit has turned more aggressive in its disruptive activities in recent days.

Following the arrest of the outfit's Kathmandu Valley in-charge , Maila Lama, and general secretary of its women's wing Dhirendra Upadhyayat, the Maoist outfit has intensified its disruptive activities across the country.

The authorities suspect the involvement of the outfit in acts of arson and explosion at 20 Ncell telecommunications towers . However, the outlawed group has not taken responsibility for any of the attacks. It has remained mum over such allegations.

Valley in-charge Lama was also involved in informal negotiations with ruling party leaders over talks between the government and the Chand outfit.

According to Republica district correspondents, Ncell towers in Dhading, Nuwakot, Tanahun, Kaski, Dadeldhura, Bajhang, Doti, Kailali, Rupandehi, Nawalparasi East, Lalitpur, Sindhupalchowk, Morang and Panchthar were attacked by unidentified groups Wednesday night. Three Ncell towers each in Dhading and Bajhang have been attacked and two others were damaged in Doti the same day. According to police, an NTC tower was attacked in Arghakhanchi the same night.

The incidents come at a time when the Chand outfit announced a strike in various parts of the country on Wednesday in response to Lama's arrest. He was in the police most wanted list in connection with his involvement in a bomb blast at the Ncell corporate office in Lalitpur in March. A passerby was killed in the incident and the Chand outfit owned up responsibility.

Although some ruling party leaders had approached Chand group leaders for back-door negotiations, these went nowhere as both sides put forth multiple conditions . The government wanted the Chand group to give up violence while the latter demanded the release of all its cadres who are in jail.

Police arrested about 600 Chand cadres in recent months and many of them are still in custody facing various charges.

A political dialogue committee formed by the government held a meeting with some second rung Chand party leaders earlier this year. But Chand didn't agree to talks even after the government released all the jailed cadres .

Som Prasad Pandey, the coordinator of the dialogue committee, again took the initiative for back door negotiations after the Chand-led group indicated its readiness .

But none of the ruling party leaders including Pandey got any opportunity to meet Chand for negotiations, he said. “There are definitely backdoor negotiations but these have not achieved any progress as rumored outside,” he said.

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