THT 10 years ago: Cops use force on sim card seekers; 5 hurt

Kathmandu, April 6, 2007

Three policemen and two civilians were injured today as police was compelled to use force at six prepaid sim card distribution centres to control crowds that gathered to get sim cards, SSP Dhak Bahadur Karki said.

At the Gongabu centre, police resorted to lathi-charge as a mob pelted stone at the NT office. Police fired three rounds of teargas shells to control the situation.

According to Karki, three policemen and two civilians were injured in the incident. The distribution at the Kirtipur centre was cancelled as locals demanded that they be given priority while distributing the sim cards. “We had to use force as the situation went out of control,” Karki said.

The mob smashed window panes at Chhauni and Gongabu centres.

The crowd went berserk as rumours spread that the centre had run out of sim cards. The NT distributed about 70,000 prepaid sim cards, even as hundreds of people, who queued for the whole day, returned home disappointed.

The NT has fixed 15 distribution centres in the valley and one in Dhading for distributing the cards. People reached the Bhadrakali centre at midnight. Police baton-charged people to bring the tense situation under control.

The crowd in the Chabahil centre went berserk after rumours spread that the centre had run out of stock of sim cards. Police resorted to baton-charge to control the situation.

“We had never expected that such a huge number of people will turn up,” said Sugat Ratna Kanshakar, managing director, NT.

Sri Lanka, Nepal to jointly promote tourism sector

Sri Lankan ambassador to Nepal Sumith Nakandala, speaking on behalf of his country, today offered to join hands with Nepal in promoting the tourism sector of the two South Asian countries.

Nakandala was officially addressing the media on Friday for the first time after taking charge six months ago.

The ambassador, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and Sri Lanka, expressed his enthusiasm to put the mountains of Nepal and the beaches of Sri Lanka on the itinerary of international tourists.

“For this, we need to solve the issue of air connectivity, as there is no direct flight between Colombo and Kathmandu,” he said. He conceded air connectivity was a crucial factor in promoting tourism in any country.

That is why this issue was taken up even at the 14th SAARC summit that concluded in New Delhi recently, he pointed out.

The Sri Lankan embassy, in cooperation with Nepal Tourism Board, kicked off the golden jubilee celebrations of their diplomatic relations yesterday with the inauguration of a Sri Lankan Food Festival at Hotel de’ l Annapurna being held from April 6 to 7.