Bid to attack Minendra Rijal of NC

Kathmandu, September 29

Armed with khukuris, spears, sticks, beer bottles and stones, cadres of ruling Nepal Communist Party today allegedly attempted to attack Nepali Congress lawmaker Minendra Rijal while he was on his way to Tanahun’s Rising Rural Municipality.

Rijal was on the way to Rising to lay the foundation stone of a rural municipality building, but NCP cadres obstructed his way felling trees all along. Rijal was stuck on the road for more than three hours before local NC cadres assembled and cleared the way. NCP cadres argued that their party was opposed to the proposed site for building construction.

Rijal condemned the attack, saying, “This shows if democracy faces any danger, it’s from the government.” He told THT that the rural municipality had unanimously decided on the site for building construction.  Immediately after the incident, senior NC leader Ramchandra Paudel condemned it, saying NCP cadres presented themselves as ‘mandales’ (nickname given to Panchayat supporters). “Abusing power, NCP cadres are attacking the people’s right to expression, exhibiting their fascist character,” said Paudel issuing a statement.

Recalling the recent attack on septuagenarian NC leader Kiran Koirala who had her hand fractured, Paudel warned that the NC would intensify nation-wide protests to protect democracy if the NCP did not stop promoting such activities inspired by ‘mandales’.

The NC termed the incident ‘premeditated’. The party said although police were informed about the event, they did not act as expected. “The authoritarian characteristic of NCP cadres, who do not accept different views, is condemnable,” said the NC in a statement.

It added that these were attacks on people’s freedom of expression. “The NC will be forced to intensify protests against the authoritarian government if it does not act to control such activities,” it said.

NCP General Secretary Bishnu Paudel said he was gathering information about the incident, and that he would be able to make a statement only after getting detailed information.

NCP Spokesperson Narayan Kaji Shrestha also said he did not have any information about the incident, but added that his party would never attack a responsible leader of the main opposition Nepali Congress. “Who were involved in the incident should be investigated and brought to book. But I want to make it clear, the NCP cadres cannot be involved in such incidents,” Shrestha told THT.