KATHMANDU, March 1: The district police office has issued an arrest notice against former Maoist rebel Netra Bikram Chand 'Biplav' after he failed to show up in court to face charges of violence carried out by his outfit during the local elections.
Chand, who leads a splinter of the former Maoist rebel force, has been in hiding after his Nepal Communist Party started carrying out various semi-underground activities in the name of a 'unified rebellion'.
The arrest warrant, which comes a month after Bhojpur district court issued a court appearance notice against Chand, has directed him to appear at the court within 70 days. On January 23, the Bhojpur district court had issued an arrest notice for Chand over the alleged involvement of his outfit in multiple cases of poll-related violence.
Bhojpur, like other places in the country, was rocked by deadly violence during the three phases of the elections. Local police pasted the arrest warrant at Biplav's house in Shivaraj Municipality-9, in line with the warrant received from District Police Office, Kapilvastu. CPN leaders, however, claimed that the house belongs to Chand's brother Chandra Bahadur Chand.
If Chand fails to appear before the court, the government could freeze his property or even impound it, according to existing law.
DSP Narendra Kumar Karki, a senior police official at the district police office, said the notice was pasted up as noone was available to receive it.
"The court had categorically ordered to either arrest the man or serve an arrest warrant. The warrant was exercised after we failed to locate him," said Karki.
The arrest warrant dated February 17 and processed Wednesday, three days after Maoist leader Ram Bahadur Thapa became home minister, is seen as a warning from the newly formed left government to abandon the path of voilence.
Thapa and Chand were comrades during the Maoist armed insurgency that lasted over a decade. The two together deserted Pushpa Kamal Dahal's Maoists to form their own party under Mohan Baidya Kiran in 2012. The two subsequently deserted Baidya also, with Thapa returning to the mother party. Chand announced his own party in 2014.
Though it is unclear if Thapa was behind the warrant, its timing is a clear message that the new government will not brook violence perpetrated in anybody's name.
Addressing police officers at Nepal Police HQ on Wednesday, Home Minister Thapa hinted that the government would respond with force, if need be, to anyone using violence for political ends.
"Forces using violence should be tackled with a new security strategy and the security apparatus should be revamped to that end," Thapa said, without mentioning the Chand-led Maoists.
Hours after the warrant was pasted at Chand's house, the CPN condemned the move, saying the outfit would give a fitting reply if the government does not scrap the warrant. In a statement, CPN spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Bishwokarma warned that they would issue their own warrants against Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and 'criminals of the people's war and unified rebellion'.