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Terai leaders deny Kathmandu blast claims
Kathmandu | September 03, 2007 4:05:07 PM IST
 
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As little-known groups started claiming responsibility for Sunday's serial blasts in Kathmandu that killed two women and injured over two dozen people, leaders from Terai rejected them as a ploy to discredit the ongoing Madhes movement.

Journalists in Nepal's border towns received calls from four organisations claiming responsibility for Sunday's blasts.

Of the virtually unknown groups, one called itself Gorkha Mukti Morcha and said it was from western Nepal. The other three claimed to be from the Terai plains.

The Terai Utthan Sangat, Terai Army, and Nepal People's Army, who all claimed responsibility for the blasts, are practically unknown. The government too has doubted their claims.

Peace and reconstruction minister Ram Chandra Poudel said the claims could be a "camouflage" to divert the government's attention.

Nepal's political parties say the blasts are an attempt to sabotage the Nov 22 elections when Nepal, for the first time, will put its 238-year-old monarchy to vote.

"There are four groups claiming responsibility for one operation," said Matrika Prasad Yadav, former minister and Maoist leader from the Terai plains. "It shows they are simply the front for someone else."

Yadav claimed the attacks had been backed by international as well as Nepali forces to impede the recent movement his party started for abolition of the monarchy before the critical November elections.

"Those who support monarchy are getting apprehensive that we would be able to transform Nepal into a republic before the election," he said. "These anti-people forces are trying to create chaos and instability."

Bijay Kumar Gachchhedar, another former minister from ex-prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba's Nepali Congress (Democratic) party who is trying to cobble a front of Madhes leaders cutting across party lines, said it was a criminal act and should not be linked to the movement in the Terai plains.

"Only the perpetrators (of the bombings) should be held responsible," he said. "Madhes should not be dragged into it."

Gachchhedar said the movement in the Terai plains was a peaceful one.

"It supports the election so that people's rights could be guaranteed by the new constitution that would be written after it," he said.

Rajesh Ahiraj, editor of Madhesvani, a fortnightly devoted to Terai issues, said the claims were a deliberate ploy to tarnish the Madhes movement.

"It is promoted by the culture of impunity prevailing in Nepal," Ahiraj said.

"Even if you commit 200 murders, the government says it is withdrawing all cases against you and is ready to hold talks. This encourages people to continue with violent acts." (IANS)

 

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