KATHMANDU, June 25: Parliament’s State Affairs Committee (SAC) on Monday directed the Home Ministry to probe the death of Kumar Poudel, Sarlahi district in-charge of the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party Nepal (CPN), and present a report within seven days.
The SAC move comes in response to pressure from lawmakers of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) and the main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) , who have questioned the government’s claim that Poudel was killed in an encounter with police.
Most of the lawmakers on the committee have accused the police of killing the underground party cadre after his arrest. Although Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa and Nepal Police chief Sarbendra Khanal, who were summoned by the committee for questioning, both claimed that Poudel was killed in an encounter, the lawmakers are not satisfied.
“Poudel was killed in return fire in self defense when four cadres of the Chand-led party who were on motorbikes opened fire on the police during a security check,” Thapa told lawmakers.
Poudel, 47, was shot dead on Thursday afternoon near Lakhandehi River at Lalbandi Municipality, Sarlahi district. Police chief Khanal defended the police action against Paudel, claiming that he had a history of illegal activities in the area.
Not convinced by the minister’s response, lawmakers demanded a probe.
“His arm seems to be broken at multiple points, and family members and locals have told a different story about his death. I don’t believe it was an encounter,” said former home minister and NCP lawmaker Janardan Sharma.
Most lawmakers on the SAC urged the government to seek solutions through dialogue and to avoid provoking a confrontation with Chand’s party.
Rekha Sharma, Tirtha Gautam, Laxmi Chaudhary and Jhapat Rawal of the ruling NCP, Ram Sahaya Yadav of coalition partner Samjbadi Party Nepal as well as Dila Sangroula, Dilendra Badu and Mina Pandey of NC insisted on bringing out the truth of the incident after investigations.
Lawmakers also advised the government to seek a timely political solution to the challenge posed by the Chand-led party and expressed concern about the outfit’s violent activities. In response, Minister Thapa said that the ministry is ready to investigate the incident. The National Human Rights Commission has also started to investigate the death after the public questioned the circumstances surrounding it.