Kathmandu serial blasts : Army, Maoists blame each other

Kathmandu, September 6:

The series of bomb blasts in Kathmandu has triggered a spate of allegations and counter-allegations between the Nepali Army and the CPN (Maoist).

The Improvised Explosive Devices (IED ) that went off at Balaju, Tripureshwor and Sundhara killed three and injured 26 on Sunday.

The CPN-Maoist has blamed the royalists for the explosions, saying the blasts were intended to derail the process leading to the Constituent Assembly polls. The Army, a royal force according to the Maoists, suspected that the Maoists were responsible for the blasts and carried them out to scuttle the polls. The basis for the Maoists to blame royalists is the account of an eyewitness, who reportedly stated that “the soldier was injured when the bag he was carrying exploded.” An Army soldier, who was the only one injured in the Sundhara blast, is undergoing treatment at the military hospital and is now ‘stable’.

On the other hand, the Army has reportedly cited the Maoists’ planned struggle demanding the government to address their 22-point agenda, and their previous use of sophisticated IED, as the basis for its charge that the Maoists were behind the blasts.

“I have heard that the Army furnished an investigation report on the blast to PM Girija Prasad Koirala the very next day, but that was an immature act by the Army” said a top Army general requesting anonymity.

Even if it had to be done in the current context, “the investigation had to be carried out thoroughly and enough evidence should have been collected, which has not happened. How can the Army cite the Maoists’ struggle programmes as a basis to conclude their involvement in the blasts?” the general added.

He said: “I am not surprised at what the CPN-Maoist did, it always used propaganda as a means to achieve its goals; but the Army, a responsible entity, should not have done it.”

Citing a bomb hoax last night near Ranipokhari, the general concluded that a kind of “psychological terror” is being spread.

NA bomb disposal team was called by the police last night when the “fake” bomb was found. Asked about the Army submitting a report to the Prime Minister, director at the Directorate of Public Relations, brigadier general Ramindra Chhetri, said he was unaware of it.

NA assessing security scenario:

KATHMANDU: The Army’s Division Commanders’ coordinating meeting kicked off on Thursday to analyse the current security situation and its impact on the poll process. Commanders of the Eastern, Central and Western Divisions each made a 20-minute presentation on security analysis in their regions. The acting commander of the Valley Division also presented his analysis. Commanders of the Mid-Western and Far-Western Divisions will present their security analysis on Friday. “The meeting focused on the upcoming election, the security situation and on the Army’s preparedness if the government issued any order to it regarding the polls,” said a general. The meeting also discussed the Army’s possible role in providing security for vital installations, which are now guarded by the police. — HNS