Special Reports

Hindutva terror comes to Nepal

By Zafarul-Islam Khan

Police in Nepal on 5 Sept. arrested a man accused of masterminding a series of attacks on churches and mosques that have killed at least eight people in the last two years. Ram Prasad Mainali, who authorities allege is the leader of the shadowy Nepal Defence Army (NDA), was arrested in the southeastern town of Biratnagar, the government said next day. Mainali is a former cadre of the Nepali Maoists.

The NDA is a Hindu organisation that says it wants to restore Nepal's Hindu monarchy, abolished in 2008. The NDA is responsible for attacks on two mosques and a Catholic church, killing at least seven people and injuring many others. The NDA had taken responsibility for an explosion at the Catholic Assumption Church in Kathmandu valley's Dhobighat last May, killing two women and a schoolgirl. Soon after the blast, police had arrested Sita Thapa, who reportedly admitted to having planted the bomb in the prayer hall, after being paid by the NDA. The same extremist group had last year murdered Indian priest Fr. John Prakash. The 60-year-old Salesian priest, who served as the principal of Don Bosco Christian school in Sirsiya, Morang district, was shot dead by five masked men at his residence. They had also bombed the Nepali Congress Office in Sanepa, Kathmandu in April this year, police said.

Vinod Kumar Pandey (centre), leader of Ranvir Sena  after his arrest; arms recovered from him (left)
Vinod Kumar Pandey (centre), leader of Ranvir Sena
after his arrest; arms recovered from him (left)

Last year It had bombed a mosque in Biratnagar, killing two Muslims during prayer time. It also claimed responsibility for attacking last year a Christian priest, John Prakash in Dharan, some 220 km east of Nepali capital Kathmandu and killing him. The NDA had been terrorizing Nepal's Christian and Muslim communities, demanding money and asking them to leave Nepal.

"Acting on a tip-off, we caught Mainali while hiding at one of his relative's houses," said Devendra Subedi, chief of the Morang district police office. "He has confessed to us that he masterminded a series of blasts in various churches and mosques killing at least eight people. We are investigating all his criminal activities in the past, the police officer said adding that "The group was terrorising people and had been trying to disrupt religious harmony in the country. We had been chasing him for a long time and finally we were able to arrest him."

Nepal Police has also arrested four persons belonging to the NDA, identified as Biswash aka Tribhuvan Yadav, Morang commander. Two more persons are under investigation weather they are affiliated with NDA or not said a police officer.
According to the police they have confiscated a pistol and 14 rounds of bullets, a revolver and five rounds of bullets, a dozen cell phone sim cards, different pamphlets and warning letters from them.

The NDA claimed responsibility for the bombing in May of a Catholic church in Kathmandu which killed three people and an attack on a mosque in southern Nepal last year that also left three dead. The group also said it carried out a bombing in Kathmandu in August at the headquarters of the Nepali Congress party, one of Nepal's main political parties. No one was hurt in the attack, which caused only minor damage to the building. A second bomb at the government's transportation department was diffused successfully by police.

Nepal has been the scene of sporadic ethnic violence since a peace deal was reached between former rebel Maoists and the government in late 2006. But there is little history of religious conflict in Nepal, where more than 80 per cent of the 27 million people are Hindu.

Another kingpin of Hindu terror in Nepal, a 41-year-old civil engineer, who claims to have received his degree from Chennai, was arrested in Nepal for allegedly planning a series of explosions in four major cities with the avowed aim of reinstating Hinduism as the state religion. Vinod Kumar Pandey, who was produced by Nepal Police in court in Biratnagar on 8 Sept., told his interrogators that he studied in the south Indian city and used the Internet to get knowhow about explosives. Pandey was arrested on 6 Sept.  from Biratnagar, located on the Indo-Nepal border, with explosives and ingredients used to make bombs. He headed the Ranvir Sena, a shadowy outfit in Nepal that was involved in extortion, abduction and blasts in the Terai plains.  Police said the Sena, which is not linked to the armed organisation of landlords in India’s Bihar state of the same name, was planning bomb attacks in Kathmandu, Biratnagar, Birgunj and Pokhara. It had also planned attacks against high-profile individuals, police said. The long-haired, suave Pandey spoke fluent English. The rented house where he was caught was converted into a 'mini laboratory' to make explosives, police said. He also masqueraded as a bona fide engineer, working with a constructor who had been contracted by Surya Nepal, ITC's subsidiary in Nepal, to erect a building in Biratnagar.  Pandey used aliases like Bhagirath Singh, Vajra Singh and Radguvar Singh. Police Superintendent Devendra Subedi said they are continuing investigations to see if he or the Sena have links with militant groups in India.

Like NDA, Ranvir Sena too claims it is working to reinstate Hinduism as the state religion. Pandey's arrest came a day after police arrested the chief of another underground militant Hindu organisation, Ram Prasad Mainali, who headed the Nepal Defence Army (NDA), and was arrested in neighbouring Jhapa district. Fears have been expressed that police would let these criminals free on different pretexts after its inability to resist tremendous pressure from the Hindu fundamentalist and notorious criminals of India and Nepal.

It is noteworthy here that Sangh Parivar, which took pride in Nepal’s erstwhile “Hindu” monarch, had demanded the return of monarchy and opposed the abrogation of Hinduism as the state religion of Nepal. HIndutva terrorists (Col. Purohit et al) also disclosed that they had close ties with Nepal monarchy which was training army officers and soldiers for the Hindutva terrorists in India according to the chargesheet filed by Maharashtra ATS in Malegaon blast case. 

Major activities carried out by the “NDA”
11 Aug 2009: Explosion at Nepali Congress central office in Sanepa, Kathmandu
30 Jun 2008: Principal of Don Bosco College located at Majhare, Morang, John Prakash Moyalan, shot dead
26 Mar 2008: Explosion at a mosque in Sarouchiya, Biratnagar leaves three dead
22 Jun 2007: Firing at Sudesh Bhattarai in Teteriya, Motipur-9
02 Apr 2008: Explosion at District Forest Office
24 Dec 2007: Explosion at Nobel Medical College
04 Dec 2007: Explosion at the toilet of Nepal Telecom
30 Mar 2007: Bomb planted at Kantipur Publications' regional office premises in Biratnagar
23 Feb 2007: Explosion at the toilet of Department of Drug Administration in Morang

     (Source: kantipuronline.com)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-30 September 2009 on page no. 17

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