2 extortionists of RNA get 10-yr jail

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, June 14:

The military court of the Royal Nepalese Army (RNA) sentenced two soldiers to 10 years in jail for extorting money from civilians, the RNA said today. The court has dismissed Private Ratna Thapa and Sergeant Indra Narayan Giri from duty saying they are not eligible for government service any more. When asked why the ‘extortionist’ soldiers had been sentenced for 10 years and soldiers who had fired at students in a school for only for three months, Chief of the Legal Unit of the Royal Nepalese Army, Brig Gen BA Kumar Sharma, said, “Extortion of people is done intentionally, but those who had fired inside the school premises did not intend to shot at students.” The RNA said it has stepped up operations after the recent Maoist attack on public transportation vehicles in Chitwan and Kavre. “Operations against the Maoists continue,” said RNA spokesperson Brig Gen Dipak Kumar Gurung. Though he said the army had been able to incur heavy losses on the Maoists, he admitted the army had borne some losses too.

He was not clear regarding the security situation across the country, but said “terrorist

activities” had increased in recent days. “Feeling defeated ‘mentality’, Maoists targeted a public bus because soldiers going on leave had boarded it,” he said, adding Maoists had also placed an improvised time-bomb at the office of Ward-26 of Kathmandu Metropolitan City. The building also houses a clinic. The RNA has ordered troops not to board civilian vehicles while on duty and the officers who had ordered soldiers on duty to travel by a civilian bus in Kavre are being brought to book. “All RNA formations have been instructed not to use civilian transportation in any case after the Chitwan and Kavre incidents,” said Gurung. The RNA claimed many Maoists had surrendered in recent days: they are district commanders Bhagwat Prasad Gautam alias Pratik, Sanat Kumar Khadka alias Prakash, Dipendra Ryamajhi alias Asim, Kausilla Dahal alias Renuka and Yubaraj Karki. They were involved in terrorist activities, extortion, transporting logistic supplies and spreading Maoists’ propaganda in villages of Kavrepalanchowk, Lalitpur, Kathmandu and Dolakha districts. According to latest RNA data, 4,412 Maoists and 468 security men have been killed after the second round of peace talks between the government and Maoists failed in August 2003. A total of 2,689 Maoists have surrendered so far.