Chand’s people walk free as police await arrest order

Published On: March 5, 2019 07:42 AM NPT

KATHMANDU, March 5: Police have failed to book key leaders of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party Nepal (CPN) as the former do not have any orders to do so from the Ministry of Home Affairs. 

Security officials have been regularly updating the ministry on the whereabouts of the party’s leaders after the party took responsibility for bomb explosions in different parts of the country, including the one at Nakkhu, Lalitpur in which a civilian was killed and two others were injured. 

Following the Nakkhu incident, the security bodies have increased their surveillance on the top guns of the Chand group and reported their findings to the Prime Minister’s Office and the Home Ministry. 

“We have been collecting information continuously on the movements of the party’s leaders and updating the concerned authorities on a daily basis. We are all ready to make arrests if told to do so,” high-level security sources told Republica. 

Following the loss of life in an explosion at the corporate office of telecom company Ncell in Lalitpur recently, security bodies including the Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department have mobilized their surveillance of central-level leaders of the party. According to high-level sources at the security bodies, Chand and party leader Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma were in Makawanpur on Saturday. Chand arrived in the southern district of the Valley on Friday from Arghakhanchi and Bishwakarma from Rupandehi. “Dharmendra Bastola, another leader of the party, headed westward from Arghakhanchi while Chand left for Makawanpur.” 

The sources also said that Chand was in and around Kathmandu and Nuwakot until February 24 while Bishwakarma was around Kathmandu and Sindhupalchowk. Another leader Padam Rai was in Bhaktapur and Kavre, and Uma Bhujel was moving about in Ramechhap, Okhaldhunga, Sindhuli and Mahottari, said police sources. Anil Sharma, also a Biplav party honcho, has been moving frequently between Kathmandu and Chitwan. 

Security agencies have also alerted the PMO and the Home Ministry about the ongoing conventions of the party’s student wing. 

The Home Ministry convened a security meeting this week in Butwal, Surkhet and Dhangadhi, focusing on the violent activities of the Biplav party. However, there have been no instructions from the Prime Minister’s Office or the Home Ministry about taking any action. 

Party chief Chand is already under close watch by the police as he is wanted for past offences. He was also included in the most wanted list for the involvement of his party in incidents of violence during the 2017 polls. The government had then issued a circular to all police offices across the country instructing them to arrest him. The circular was issued following an order from the District Court Bhojpur. He faced a charge of attempted murder. Failing to arrest Chand, the police put him on the absconding list. 

Although the police arrested Bishwakarma, Bhujel and Mohan Karki last year, the government released them for initiating talks with the party. After the party failed to join talks with the committee formed by the government under former minister Som Prasad Pandey, it had designated the Chand-led party as a political group but suggested keeping its activities under surveillance.

Nepal Police spokesman Uttam Raj Subedi said they have information about the recent activities of the party. “Police have been searching for those involved in criminal activities following investigations into their involvement in different incidents,” said Subedi. He added that they have been looking for those involved in explosions and other incidents across the country instead of targeting specific leaders. He confirmed, however, that Chand is on the police wanted list in connection with previous cases. 

The police have arrested 40 suspects following the Lalitpur bomb explosion, including a former bodyguard of Chand’s.

Govt in a fix over Chand’s activities

As the government explores ways to give ‘a fitting reply’ to the recent deadly attacks carried out by the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN), it is faced with dilemma over whether to search for solution through political negotiations or tackle it as a security issue. 

Last week, the CPN -- a fringe Maoist party led by Netra Bikram Chand -- had carried out a series of bomb blasts across the country, including one in Lalitpur that left one dead and injured two others. NCP leaders had later claimed responsibility for the blasts and tried to justify the attacks by describing them as necessary for establishing the people’s government. 

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), apprehensive of more attacks in the future, has started consultations with security and intelligence agencies to hash out plans to tackle the possible security challenges. But MoHA officials say that there is still some dilemma over possible measures as many within the government are asking whether it was right to seek security solution to a ‘political’ problem.

“That’s the main reason why we haven’t yet gone on the offensive. This problem cannot be tackled through security measures alone,” said an MoHA official. The official said that the police have simply been directed to tackle criminal activities being carried out by Chand’s cadres under the cover of politics. 

Senior leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) also appear divided over a possible solution. NCP Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday said that the government was looking for ‘administrative solutions’ to the problem without further explanation. But former Maoist leaders in the NCP have stood against security solution and urged the government to address the issue through talks. It was the main reason why the government had withdrawn criminal cases after initially arresting senior leaders for allegedly carrying out deadly violence during elections. 

The main opposition and other parties have also been mounting pressure to resolve the problem through talks. In the wake of the Lalitpur explosion, NC and Bibeksheel Nepali parties had asked the government to bring the disgruntled parties to the negotiating table and seek solution through talks. 

Chand-led Maoist party, which has been carrying out political activities in “semi-underground” manner and set up paramilitary structure at the local level, has been defending its activities, saying that it was necessary step to take the decade-long ‘people’s war’ to a logical conclusion through what it calls “unified rebellion”. 

The ‘unified rebellion’ seeks to supersede the parliamentary supremacy with “people’s government” through armed insurgency with the support of rural peasants and urban working class. 

It’s an ideology similar to CPN-Maoist chief Mohan Baidya’s ideological line of new people’s revolution. 

The ‘unified rebellion’ sees the current struggle as continuation of the ‘people’s war’ itself. Baidya, on the other hand, thinks the ‘people’s war’ has come to an end and stresses on launching a fresh revolt on foundation of that war.


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