Maoists greet Minister with black flags

JALESHWOR: Unified CPN-Maoist cadres today greeted Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Saradsingh Bhandari with black flags in his own constituency in the district. The minister had reached Gaushala of Mahottari district to participate in goats and buffaloes distribution programme in Belgachhi of the district.

In an ensuing clash during the demonstration, 13 Maoist cadres were injured when police charged them with batons. The police also detained a Maoist cadre Rikesh Shah. The infuriated cadres vandalised the party office of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic at Gaushala. Four vehicles including a jeep used by the Minister were also vandalised. Nevertheless, Minister Bhandari inaugurated the regional office of MJF-D amidst tension.

The minister also distributed goats and buffaloes to the farmers in a programme organised by Women Welfare Centre in Belgachhi of Bardibas, earlier. Speaking at the programme, Bhandari claimed that the UCPN-Maoist was trying to halt the institutionalisation of democratic republic. Stating that the Maoists were hindering the statute drafting process, he said, "The new constitution is important to secure the rights of the people of Madhes and the Tarai.

Meanwhile, Superintendent of Police Sanjayaraj Sharma said that police used force to control the mob after the demonstrators vandalised vehicles used by the Minister and the police. He also said that the injured had already returned home after treatment. One person hurling stones at the police was detained, Sharma added. However, the Maoists have accused the police charged batons indiscriminately although their demonstration was peaceful.