THT 10 YEARS AGO: 7 passengers killed, 27 hurt in Bara inferno

Bara /Birgunj, January 18, 2008

Seven bus passengers died and 27 others were injured this evening near the Pasaha bridge on Nijgarh-Pathlaiya road section in Bara district when a blast occurred as the bus neared the bridge.

The condition of four of the injured is stated to be serious. The bus (Na 3 Kha 1387) was coming to Birgunj from Janakpur.

A passenger, Lekhnath Neupane of Koilbhar, said as the bus neared the bridge there was a loud blast and fire engulfed the vehicle. Commander of the Bhadrakali Piluwa company APF Shrikant Koirala said local residents had told him they were unaware of the blast and that they heard nothing. There were over 100 passengers aboard the bus when the blast occurred. Passengers atop the roof of the bus jumped on the road, while those inside tumbled out to escape the flames, said Bara DSP Hemant Pal.

Armed police force deputy inspector general of police Shailendra Shrestha of the Rudra Bahini at Pathlaiya said the bodies of seven passengers were still kept at the spot and that the killed have not been identified yet.

APF personnel from the Bhadrakali Piluwa company and Ruidra Bahini rushed the hurt passengers to Narayani sub-regional hospital in Birgunj. According to some of the injured passengers, the bus was reeking of diesel even when it had started from Janakpur.

APF personnel said that the engine of the bus exploded and flames spread throughout the vehicle. They added that the seven passengers were burnt. APF has taken the bus helper into custody. The driver of the bus has absconded.

Prachanda promises to return seized property

Kathmandu, January 18, 2008

Maoist chairman Prachanda said today that his party would return all the lands and property seized during the conflict to the rightful owners and help the displaced families return home by the second week of February.

“We will launch a revolutionary campaign to return the seized property and help the displaced families go back home by the second week of February,” Prachanda said at a special function organised by the Reporters’ Club at Hotel Shangrila.

On the issue of land reforms, he said the government would constitute a high-level commission as per the 23-point agreement to distribute lands to landless people from the surplus lands of landlords. “Now the door for the assembly election has opened. Therefore, our recently concluded central committee meeting has decided to focus entirely on the election,” Prachanda said. He said his party’s central leaders would contest the election, adding he himself would contest the polls from two places — Kathmandu and Rolpa.

Asked how many seats he expected to win, Prachanda said: “We will win more than what you (media) have estimated.” Prachanda revealed that some elements are attempting to carry out high-level political assassination.