Blast rocks NC central office

KATHMANDU: A pressure cooker bomb went off in the conference hall of Nepali Congress central party office in Sanepa this afternoon.

The blast damaged the furniture and smashed the window panes of the hall. No human casualties were reported in the vacant room.

The bomb exploded in the hall on the ground floor at 3:08 pm. Eyewitnesses said a man of around 25 years had fled on a bicycle after entering the hall a while ago.

Leaflets of Nepal Defence Army were found at the scene. The pamphlet published by RP Mainali has demanded that the country be revived as a Hindu state.

Thirty suspects have been held, said Kedar Man Singh Bhandari, SP, Metropolitan Police Range Lalitpur. The police are looking into the matter. Chiefs of Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and National Investigation Department took account of the spot.

Police said the explosion was similar to one that took place at a Jawalakhel church three months ago. NDA had claimed the responsibility for the blast that took three lives.

NC leaders and cadres had flocked to the party office after the incident. NC acting president Sushil Koirala said the blast was effected with the intention of derailing the peace process. "The Maoists' agitation at this crucial juncture has encouraged elements that favour instability," he said.

NC vice president Ram Chandra Paudel said the Hindu fundamentalists were trying to make their presence felt through incidents of this kind and the government should control such incidents.

NC, in a press statement, condemned the incident and demanded that the guilty be brought to book.

Meanwhile, UCPN-Maoist spokesperson Dinanath Sharma denounced the attack on the NC party office. He demanded that the criminals be held and severe action taken against them.