Banke attack prompts NC to obstruct both houses

Kathmandu, September 15

The main opposition Nepali Congress today obstructed proceedings of both the houses — House of Representatives and National Assembly — demanding that police be told to accept the FIR against those who assaulted its members in Banke.

The party has said it will not allow both the houses to function properly unless its demand is fulfilled.

Several NC members were injured and the party’s Banke district president Kiran Koirala was left with a fractured hand after cadres of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) barged into a hall in Khajura Rural Municipality on September 12 and started attacking everyone indiscriminately.

NC members were holding an interaction in the hall, as part of its nationwide awareness campaign. The NC has claimed that the attack was launched after “instruction was issued by the NCP” to obstruct the opposition’s campaign.

“We had organised the programme in a peaceful manner. But ruling NCP cadres obstructed it,” NC Chief Whip Balkrishna Khand said. “Worse, the local police didn’t respond properly after the incident.”

NC lawmaker Amresh Kumar Singh said, “Nepal Police should change its name to NCP Police, as the home ministry has directed lower level police officials to suppress Nepali Congress leaders and its cadres.”

The government said search operation had been launched to trace those who had attacked NC members.

So far, police have rounded up six people, including Nirmal Khatri, Roshan Singh Thakur and Lok Bahadur Shahi, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa today told the House of Representatives and the National Assembly.

“The government has taken this incident seriously and has directed police to find out the truth,” Thapa said. “I request NC lawmakers not to turn this into a political issue.”

The NC, on the other hand, has said the government should first direct police to accept the FIR before starting investigation.

“We will allow both the houses to function properly only after the FIR is registered,” NC Whip Pushpa Bhusal told THT, adding, “The FIR contains names of NCP cadres who were involved in the attack.”

Minister Thapa, who talked in length about rounding up the culprits, however, did not give any assurance on directing the police to accept the FIR lodged by NC members.

This non-committal response prompted NC lawmakers to obstruct the House. Initially, the House of Representatives meeting was postponed by 10 minutes today. The second meeting, however, was called only after two hours and was also obstructed.

The NA meeting, on the other hand, was initially postponed by 30 minutes before resuming one-and-a-half hours later and it was again obstructed. Both the houses have postponed their meetings till tomorrow.