Three, including inspector, killed

Home minister Thapa has condemned the blast and vowed stern action

Janakpurdham, Dec 14

Three persons, including a police inspector were killed and four others were injured in a bomb explosion at Mahendranagar of Chhireswornath Municipality-5, Dhanusha, last night.

Superintendent of Police Shekhar Khanal at Dhanusha District Police Office said a pressure cooker bomb planted at the second main gate of local Rajesh Sah’s house went off at midnight. The improvised explosive device was kept inside a red bag.

House owner Rajesh, 42, his son Anant Sah, 17, and Inspector Amir Dahal of Sakhuwa Mahendranagar Area Police Office lost their lives in the incident. Rajesh and Anant died on the spot while Inspector Dahal died while being rushed to Dharan for treatment, said SP Khanal. Post-mortem of the bodies was conducted at Janakpur Zonal Hospital.

Rajesh’s father Bhikhari Sah, daughter Anjali Sah, youngest son Prakash Sah and policeman Rijan Mahato were injured in the incident. Bhikhari Sah is being treated at Janakpur Zonal Hospital while three others who are critically injured are undergoing treatment at BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan.

According to SP Khanal, the bomb was planted at the handle of the second main gate in a red bag. “An unidentified person had informed Rajesh about the IED over phone,” SP Khanal said. After that, all the family members had evacuated the house through another gate and stayed 300 metres away at the house of Rajesh’s brother Raj Kumar Sah. Raj Kumar is employed in Malaysia.

After he reached his brother’s house, Rajesh had called Mahendranagar Area Police Office and reported about the bomb. A police team led by Inspector Dahal had reached the incident site. The police team was accompanied by Rajesh’s family to the site.

Eyewitnesses said Inspector Dahal had noticed the pressure cooker bomb but he might have thought the object was a dummy

kept to scare Rajesh’s family. He touched the bomb with a stick causing the IED to explode. They said the incident took place due to negligence on the part of Inspector Dahal.

The deceased Anant and his injured brother Prakash are tenth and eighth graders at Siddhartha Boarding School in Janakpur. Anjali is  preparing for Public Service Commission examinations.

The explosion caused cracks in the wall and bomb shrapnels caused holes in the house walls.

Rajesh was running Nikki Pharmacy at his home. Besides, he was involved in lending money at high interest rate. According to some locals, Rajesh used to lend money at up to 36 per cent interest rate. His loan transactions covered many settlements of Chhireswor Municipality. Locals surmised that the incident might have to do with the loan and high interest rate charged by Rajesh.

Police have arrested Sitadevi Mahara, Lalita Mahara, Ramsovit Gaha of Dhanusha’s Hansapur Municipality suspecting their involvement in the incident. Sitadevi is the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal Province 2 coordinator and the other two are central members of the party, said SP Khanal.

The three arrested have been kept in custody.

A seven-member police team led by Inspector Umashankar Sah has been formed to probe the incident, police said.

The CPN, however, has not commented on the incident. Meanwhile, Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal Dhanusha Constituency 4 claimed that the injured Bhikhari was the party’s cadre and demanded that the guilty be punished.

To protest the incident, Chhireswornath chapter of Commerce and Industry has called market shutdown tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Minister  of Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa said the government would take action to bring to book the culprits. “This is a barbaric and inhuman act. I, on behalf for the government, vow to act tough against the persons behind the crime,” he wrote on his Facebook post.