Ramhari’s kin, Maoists fail to agree

Kathmandu, May 26:

The civic struggle committee formed to protest the killing of businessman Ramhari Shrestha and the Maoist leadership today exchanged a draft agreement with Maoists to end the protests.

But the agreement could not be signed, as the committee accused the Maoists of trying to protect Kali Bahadur Kham Magar alias Bibidh, the commander of the PLA’s third division in Shaktikhor of Chitwan, where Shrestha was beaten to death.

The committee said the agreement could not be signed as the Maoists in their draft inserted a phrase ‘if proven guilty’ on taking action against Bibidh. It said the Maoists tried to insert cunning phrases in the agreement with the motive of shielding Bibidh.

“We could not agree on the cunning phrase ‘if proven guilty’ because he (Bibidh) is prima facie guilty of the killing. But the Maoists do not want to take him into custody,” Gyan Kumar Shrestha, coordinator of the committee, said.

“Bibidh led the investigation that eventually led to Ramhari’s death. How can he roam freely while the man under him is in custody?” he questioned. He said Bibidh should be immediately taken into custody or else the probe into the case could never be fair. Today’s talks were held for nearly two hours over the telephone. Maoist Constituent Assembly member Hitman Shakya

talked to the committee from the Maoist side.

Meanwhile, the committee has announced that it would hold condolence meeting at Koteshwor from 8 am to 12 pm tomorrow and take Shrestha’s body around the city before taking it to Aryaghat for funeral.

Meanwhile, the hunger strike staged by Ramhari’s kin continued at Koteshwor today. Shrestha’s mother, sister and sister-in-law staged the strike from 8 am to 5 pm. The committee said the strike would continue.