Face smeared with soot, youth taken around town

Bara, September 1 :

Maoists today paraded 25-year-old Umesh Shrestha of Simara 3 Narabasti around Simara bazaar with his face smeared with soot, eyewitnesses said.

Shrestha had been in Maoist custody for the past one-and-half weeks, they said, adding that Shrestha was beaten up while he was taken around the market. Maoists, however, said they had nothing to do with today’s incident and people had voluntarily come against Shrestha.

An attempted murder case is pending against Umesh, his father Ganesh and brother Atishman. They had allegedly tried to murder one Bharat Ranabhat on July 21. Police have arrested Ganesh and Atishman. However, Umesh gave himself up to the Maoists after thrashing Ranabhat, locals said.

Though the police asked the Maoists to hand over Umesh to them, they refused, a local who had participated in an all-party meeting in the VDC building in Simara yesterday said. Earlier in the morning, an all-party meeting had asked the Maoists to hand over Umesh to the police, but in the afternoon he was taken around the city, witnesses said.

Meanwhile, protesting today’s incident, a group of people blocked traffic on the Pathlaiya-Birgunj road section from 2:15 to 3:45 pm today, police said.