Home minister says those killed in blasts were not citizens, angering opposition

- Binod Ghimire, Kathmandu

May 27, 2019-

Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa said on Monday that those killed in a series of blasts on Sunday across the Capital were not citizens, inviting criticism from lawmakers over his labelling of the Netra Bikram Chand-led communist party cadres as non-citizens.

Taking a special time in the House of Representatives on Monday, Thapa said Chand’s party was carrying out anti-national and unconstitutional terror activities.

Sunday’s blasts were a result of technical lapses while manufacturing the bombs to create terror for a so-called nationwide strike on Monday. “Those killed in the incident were not citizens but cadres of the Biplav-led group,” he told the House.

[Read: Sunday's blasts indicative of an intelligence failure, analysts say]

In recent months, Thapa has been extremely critical of Chand, who used to be his comrade during the Maoist insurgency that took nearly 17,000 lives.

The Maoist party, of which Thapa was a key leader, was also once branded by then government as a terrorist group for its campaign of violence and terror.

Thapa’s relation with Chand was also special at one point in time, as they together deserted the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led Maoist party in 2012, accusing it of deviating from its political ideology and leaving the “people’s war” halfway.

But four years later, Thapa returned to Dahal’s fold and is now the home minister.

On Monday, when lawmakers criticised Thapa, asking him who the Chand outfit members were if not Nepali citizens, the home minister modified his comment and said they were not “common citizens” and that those involved in the terror activities cannot be considered ordinary citizens.

Four people died and at least seven others were injured in around half a dozen blasts in the Capital and Nawalparasi on Sunday and early Monday. Three people died when a pressure cooker bomb exploded inside a hair salon in Sukedhara and the fourth person died in a bomb explosion in Ghattekulo. Two people were injured in a blast at Chandragiri Municipality. The government claimed that all those killed in the blasts and a majority of the injured were members of the Chand’s party.

[Read: Government's dealing with Chand outfit faulty, experts say, as multiple blasts unleash terror]

Human right advocates, however, say the government cannot say that someone is not a citizen just because they are involved in criminal activities.

“Even a criminal has rights as a citizen,” said Charan Prasain, a human rights campaigner. He said the home minister was also wrong to create separate groups for common citizens since there is no legal categorisation of citizens.

More than 24 hours after the deadly blasts, there has been no public statement from the prime minister on the deadly blasts that shook the Capital on Sunday night. However, in a separate event on Monday, KP Sharma Oli called the Chand-led party “a terrorist group.”

Speaking at the anniversary event of the National Human Rights Commission, Oli said the terrorist group had been resorting to violence to terrorise people.

“Chand’s party neither has any ideology nor any goals,” the prime minister said. “The sole motive is to extort people by terrorising them.”


Published: 28-05-2019 07:00

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