Rautahat, October 13
Nepali Congress leader and member of the House of Representatives elected from Rautahat Constituency No 2 Mohammad Afatab Alam was arrested on a murder charge.
Alam, who was heading to attend a feast at his relative’s home, was held from Idris Gate of Rajpur Municipality today. A police team led by DSP Nabin Karki from Rautahat District Police Office arrested Alam, also a former minister, on the charge of his involvement in an explosion in Rajpur Kharadawa on 9 April 2008.
The explosion had occurred while Alam was getting people to make bombs in his home with the intention of seizing election booths on the eve of the first Constituent Assembly election. Eight persons, including Oshi Akhtar and Trilok Pratap Singh of Yamunamai Rural Municipality were seriously injured in the blast.
According to Rautahat DPO, MP Alam is accused of having packed the injured persons in sacks, killing them and dumping their bodies in a brick kiln belonging to his relative.
Following the incident, Oshi’s mother Roksana Khatun and Trilok’s father Shree Narayan Singh had filed an FIR against the MP, his brother Mahatab Alam, Mobin Alam, Shekh Bhadai and Shekh Seraj. Back then, police on 15 June 2008, on the basis of investigation, arrested Shekh Badai, while the MP, Modi and Shekh Seraj had presented themselves at the government attorney’s office eight days later.
They were, however, released after the then government attorney Dhrubamani Gyawali, citing lack of incriminating evidence, ruled that no case could be filed against them.
Against the ruling of the district attorney, the victims then filed their case at the Supreme Court through the Appellate Court. The Supreme Court on 29 May 2012, in its hearing on the case, had ordered serious investigation into the case and action against those involved.
Lately, the apex court on March 22 this year had corresponded with Rautahat District Police Office regarding implementation of its order. Following the top court’s diktat, a murder case was then filed at the court, alleging that the MP had burnt to death those injured in the blast.
As per sources at the DPO, the recent arrest came in the wake of a fresh investigation during which locals in the vicinity of the incident site, while recording their statements with the police a few months ago, had corroborated the former minister’s involvement in wiping out incriminating evidence by burning all the injured to death. Before making the arrest, the DPO had received an arrest warrant from the district court.
Following the arrest today, hundreds of Nepali Congress cadres demonstrated at the DPO and elsewhere. There were also minor clashes between supporters of the arrested leader and police at places with demonstrators burning tyres on the road and obstructing vehicular movement on the Gaur-Chandrapur section for some time.
Nepali Congress Rautahat held a press conference today and protested the arrest. NC district president Krishna Prasad Yadav warned of stern agitation unless the police released Alam.
Police, on the other hand, beefed up security in the district in the wake of demonstration against the arrest.
A version of this article appears in print on October 14, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.