17 injured as UML, Maoist workers clash

Pokhara/Chitwan, October 5:

Seventeen people were injured in a clash that ensued today between pro-Maoist and pro-CPN-UML workers in the Pokhara Noodles Private Ltd and Bhrukuti Pulp and Paper Mills, reports from Pokhara and Chitwan said.

Seven persons, including a civilian, were injured when two groups of workers clashed at the Pokhara Noodles Private Ltd in Kaski district today. The pro-CPN-UML Nepal Free Food and Beverages Workers’ Union (NFFBWU) and the pro-Maoist Nepal Industrial Workers’ Union (NIWU) each accused the other of starting the clash.

On October 1, the NIWU forwarded a 13-point charter of demands to the factory management

and padlocked the factory. In a press release, NFFBWU president Nar Bahadur KC accused the pro-Maoist workers of attacking the pro-UML workers when the latter reached the factory premises to hold talks with the management about the reopening of the factory.

KC said he and other pro-UML workers — Brihaspati Parajuli, Bishnu Kumar Shrestha and Dayaram Adhikari — were injured.

NIWU acting president Bal Krishna Bastola denied that the NIWU men attacked the pro-UML workers and said it was the pro-UML workers instead who attacked the NIWU members. He added that NIWU members Jay Bahadur Ale, Kamal Pariyar and civilian Buddha Gautam were injured in the attack by the pro-UML workers. “We started the agitation, and it is we who are getting beaten up,” said Bastola.

Earlier, the pro-UML workers submitted a 19-point charter of demands asking the management to meet the demands by October 7. The pro-Maoist workers have also submitted their 13-point demand charter. Both groups had also submitted their Dashain expenses and bonus demands.

Factory management sources said the two groups were called for talks, but they clashed midway. Factory administration chief Brihaspati Bhandari said pro-Maoists workers held talks with the management till late in the evening.

Meanwhile, 10 persons were injured in a clash today between two groups of workers in the Bhrukuti Pulp and Paper Mill at Gaindakot in Chitwan district.

In the clash between pro-Maoist workers of the All Nepal Industrial Workers’ Union (ANIWU) and pro-UML workers of the Nepal Free Chemical and Iron Workers’ Union (NFCIWU), three pro-UML and seven pro-Maoist workers were injured.

ANIWU secretary Hem Raj Khanal said seven ANIWU members including Srijana Khanal and Urmila Khanal were injured in the clash. NFCIWU president Ram Prasad Poudel said three members of his union were hurt.