Birgunj sees rise in crime

Political meddling behind the spurt, say police

Birgunj, June 5:

Crime is on the rise in Birgunj, a commercial hub of the country.

Last eight days have witnessed the murder of a person and attack on two in this border town, which lies in Parsa district . Parsa Superintendent of Police, Yogeshwar Romkhami, has admitted that political meddling in police work is keeping the force hamstrung.

This morning, two cadres of the Sanyukta Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (SJTMM) shot and injured a 45-year-old cloth trader and resident of Adarshanagar Omprakash Chachan. Eyewitnesses said the two came on a rickshaw and fled on foot after firing at him.

Chachan, who sustained bullet injuries in the chest and the stomach, is reported to be in a critical condition. A Nepal Army helicopter airlifted him to Kathmandu for treatment. Talking to media persons over phone, SJTMM bureau chief Prakand owned up the assault.

Last December, SJTMM cadres had barged into Chachan’s shop on the Main Road, shot dead his employee and also injured his nephew Niraj.

Last Thursday, a gang pumped three bullets into the back of Dr Viswanath Bhagat. He is being treated in Kathmandu. A day later, assailants killed a Nepal Electricity Authority staffer Narayan Khadka.

Chairman of the Birgunj Trade Association Ganesh Lath said no new programmes will be launched until the administration provides a guarantee of security and controls crime. Association members said though they were contributing Rs 15 lakh every year to the Parsa District Police Office Welfare Fund, nothing had been done to provide security to businessmen and commoners.

Meanwhile, Parsa SP Romkhami said whenever the police crack down on notorious criminals, leaders of parties contrive to get them out of police custody.

He added that the criminals had become emboldened as a result. Romkhami said, “When the police arrested two persons last month for extorting from a hotel owner, Maoist leader of Rautahat district Satya Narayan Bhagat pulled strings to get them released.

He added that Nepali Congress leader and CA member Umakant Chaudhari also worked behind the scenes to get his personal aide Chhattu Prasad Yadav freed, though the latter was arrested with illegal arms.