Outlawed party on extortion spree amid clampdown

Published On: September 8, 2019 04:25 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

Security officials said the ongoing arrests and crackdown on the party's activities have proved little to deter the party's donation drive.

KATHMANDU, Sept 8: The semi-underground Communist Party of Nepal led by Netra Bikram Chand has intensified a nationwide extortion drive targeting medium scale enterprises, manpower agencies, schools and local bodies amid growing crackdown from security forces.

Nepal Police admitted that there has been a rise in extortion related complaints since the outlawed party launched its nationwide donation campaign two months ago. On August 3, CPN spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Bishwakarma had revealed about the party's nationwide campaign to raise funds to support the 'people's rebellion'.

“We urge all businesses, entrepreneurs, workers, farmers, intellectuals, organizations, media and nationalists for assistance and support in this campaign,” Bishwakarma had urged the public to support the donation drive expected to last until November 16.

Security forces have arrested more than 800 CPN leaders and cadres since the government banned the party on March 12 after a series of unsuccessful attempts to resolve the crisis through talks. Nepal Police said that some of the cadres were arrested following complaints of extortion.

On Sunday, police arrested three persons from Kathmandu on charge of attempted extortion from government officials. The suspects---Bishwaraj Sharma, 42, Subash Koirala, 41, and Subham Ghimire, 24, of Jhapa---had posed themselves as CPN cadres, and threatened to bomb their office.

Their arrest came a week after police had arrested one Bhabiraj Rai, 29, of Khotang, a taxi driver, with donation pads and pamphlets of CPN from Sukedhara.

Security officials said the ongoing arrests and crackdown on the party's activities have proved little to deter the party's donation drive.

The party has been extorting up to Rs 2 million from medium-sized businesses like private schools and manpower agencies, SSP Sahakul Thapa said, citing confidential documents during arrest of Maila Lama, a politburo member of the party, in July.

“The party has been using its sister organizations for extortion in and outside the capital,” said SSP Thapa. Documents seized from Lama had revealed that the party had prepared a list of 400 individuals including Shikhar Shoes and some renowned manpower agencies.

Police had seized similar documents containing a list of multinational companies and mega project from Bishwakarma's flat during his arrest earlier this year.

An official at the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies (Nafea) said that many manpower companies have been paying donation since the outlawed party detonated bomb at the home of Nafea chairman Rohan Gurung in March.

Since Chand formed his own party after splitting away from the Mohan Baidya-led CPN Maoist in 2014, the party has been resorting to violent means to take the decade-long 'people's war' to a logical conclusion through what it calls 'unified rebellion'.

The 'unified rebellion', Chand's own ideology available in form of books, seeks to supersede the parliamentary supremacy with 'people's government' through armed insurgency with the support of rural peasants and urban working class.

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