Kathmandu, January 20:

Maoist talks team member and lawmaker Dev Gurung today denied that Maoist cadres had opened fire at a crowd in Siraha’s Lahan bazaar that led to the death of 17-year-old Ramesh Mahato of Majhaura-1 yesterday.

Cadres of CPN-Maoist travelling in two mini buses clashed with the cadres of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum when the latter tried to stop the Maoists’ vehicles for violating the bandh they had called.

“It has not been confirmed that Ramesh Mahato was killed due to firing from our side. There were bodyguards providing security to our leaders travelling in the mini buses. Our bodyguards definitely did not open fire at the crowd but they may have fired blank shots for self-defence,” said Gurung.

He said the organisers of the bandh were responsible for the incident in which the boy was killed.

He said an investigation must be launched and adequate compensation given to the bereaved family. Gurung criticised the local administration for not being able to take situation under control.

He said the local administration arrested three Maoist cadres on charges of opening fire.

“Investigation will find out who was responsible for the death of the boy as there was an exchange of fire from bandh organisers and the police,” he said, adding that his cadres were not involved in the incident as they were merely passing through the area.