Tansen Palace reduced to rubble

Palpa, February 1:

The Maoist attack last night has left Tansen Palace, the main administrative building of Palpa district, in ruins.

The local residents said the incident last night was “beyond their imagination.” The fire that erupted inside the Palace — constructed by Pratap Shamsher in 1927 BS — after the Maoist attack had not been put out till late this evening.

The District Administration Office, the District Development Committee, the residence of the Chief District Officer, the office of government lawyers, the National Investigation Department, the Nepal Scout, the Officers Club and the Tuberculosis Prevention Office, were all operating from inside the premises of the Tansen Palace.

The entrance on the northern front of the Palace has the biggest Bagghi door in Nepal. The Maoists had set off a bomb at the entrance to force their way inside the palace, eyewitnesses said. The Palace, which underwent renovation in 2001, was also a major tourist attraction.

Bishnu Mani Pant, a civilian caught in the clash, said he spent the whole night hiding inside the bathroom of a local hotel. “I feared I would die,” he said. Other locals also said they were awake the whole night yesterday our of fear.

“We remained hidden in bathrooms and under our beds the whole night,” Indra Bhattarai, a resident of Tansen Municipality-8, said: “Most people here are still shell- shocked by last night’s incident.” The local factories, shops and other institutions remained closed today and the locals seemed terrified and hesitant to speak.

The Maoists started their assault on the security forces in Tansen from all directions at around 11 pm, after which they launched an attack on the Tansen Palace, eyewitnesses said. The clash continued till 4 am this morning.

Many local homes and shops were also damaged in the clash. Today, bombs and bullet shells could be seen strewn everywhere in Tansen.

The traffic at Siddhartha Highway that was disrupted after the Maoist attack resumed this evening.