A series of events, and intel report led to government action against Chand outfitThe Communist Party of Nepal, led by Netra Bikram Chand, was branded a criminal outfit by the government on March 12, paving the way for police action against the group and its members as per the country’s law.
The Communist Party of Nepal, led by Netra Bikram Chand, was branded a criminal outfit by the government on March 12, paving the way for police action against the group and its members as per the country’s law. Until then, even though the group was involved in extortions, attacks and even bombings—back to back in the Capital in a span of two weeks—there was confusion whether it should be treated as a political party or criminal outfit.
What led to the March 12 decision to crack down on the Maoist offshoot?
An intelligence report obtained by the Post shows the Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal was planning to take action against various projects, groups, individuals and local representatives.
According to the report, the party at its meeting on February 12 was planning to mark February 13, which the Maoists observe as “People’s War” day, with “something big”.
However, no violent activity was reported on February 13.
The report says Uday Bahadur Chalaune, a deputy commander during the Maoist insurgency, was leading the party’s army commanders being trained at Sindhuli, Nuwakot, Gorkha and Jajarkot, among other districts.
The party had also planned to take action against projects being constructed in Indian investment such as Upper Karnali Hydropower and Arun III Hydropower Project as well as schools affiliated to India’s Central Board of Secondary Education.
An unidentified group had detonated three improvised devices at the powerhouse of the under-construction Arun III Hydropower Project in Sankhuwasabha district on February 7. The responsibility of the explosion was later claimed by the Chand’s outfit.
The party had also decided to take action against businesses run by more than 50 Nepalis, who had, as per the investigation by the Centre for Investigative Journalism, invested in offshore companies.
“Bikram Pandey, chairman of Kalika Constructions, and Pappu Construction’s owner Hari Narayan Rauniyar, who is involved in corruption, will face action. Similarly, Ncell was also on the hit list because it had not paid tax,” reads the intel report. “After taking action against the ones on their list, the party had decided to intensify its fund collection campaign.”
On February 22, there was a blast in Nakkhu which killed one person and left two others injured. More than a dozen of mobile towers of Ncell across the country were set on fire. The second explosion took place at the residence of a recruiting agency operator. The group owned up to the incidents and apologised for the loss of life.
Police investigation had then revealed that the Chand outfit had been planning the explosions and arson attacks for a long time and it had reshuffled its district committees across the country in a bid to take it difficult for police to monitor and arrest its cadres.
After the second blast on March 8, the Nepal Association of Foreign Employment Agencies called on Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and revealed that the Chand outfit had been demanding “donations” for long. Oli told the agencies’ representatives on March 12 that the government had no plans to hold dialogue with an outfit that was involved in criminal activities and bombings. Later that evening, the government decided to crack down on the Chand outfit and its activities.
Immediately after the decision, Nepal Police formed a special task force to monitor the activities of Chand outfit. Nepal Police is working in collaboration with National Investigation Department and the Armed Police Force.
“The task force will be monitoring the party, its members and its activities to prevent any violent activities and will also suggest the government and security authorities necessary steps to be taken,” Addition Inspector General of Police Pushkar Karki, chief of the Crime Investigation Department, told the Post.
According to a high-level police source, the government has ordered security agencies to arrest major suspects behind the violent activities carried out by the Chand-led party following which security officers across the country have been directed to intensify search.
The Metropolitan Police Crime Division on Friday arrested Mohan Karki ‘Jiwanta’, a politburo member of Chand party from Lalitpur.
The Home Ministry on March 14 also issued a statement ordering the public to submit illegal arms to nearby police stations, district police office or army barracks.
“The illegally possessed arms should be submitting within 35 days. The one submitting the arms within the given time-frame will not face any legal action. But if arms and weapons are found in possession of anyone after the 35-day deadline, strict legal action will be taken,” reads a statement issued by the ministry.