42 CPN activists charged with abduction, murder of Miklajung school principalPolice have arrested party’s Morang district in-charge Dhan Bahadur BK while the remaining 41 are at large.
An abduction and murder case has been filed against Communist Party of Nepal’s leader Netra Bikram Chand and 41 other party activists in connection with the abduction and subsequent murder of Miklajung’s school principal Rajendra Shrestha in December last year.
Following a thorough police investigation, the District Attorney’s Office on Monday filed a charge sheet at the Morang District Court against 42 people. Among them, 41 suspects are at large, according to the District Police Office. Security personnel arrested Dhan Bahadur BK alias DB Silwal, the Morang in-charge of the outfit, a month ago.
“Search for the other suspects is underway,” said Superintendent of Police Santosh Khadka.
Shrestha, the principal of Saraswati Basic School in Miklajung Rural Municipality, was killed by the cadres of Chand-led party, whose activities have been banned by the government, on December 4. A group of six party activists had abducted him from his house at Barkhe in Miklajung-1 on December 8. He was found dead with his throat slit in a nearby forest the same day.
According to the charge-sheet filed in the court, 54-year-old Shrestha had been kidnapped and subsequently murdered at Chand’s instructions.
The hearing on the case was expected to begin on Tuesday.
“But the hearing could not begin as scheduled, as it was not included in the list,” said Rajkumar Dahal, the registrar at the court.
The Chand party had demanded Rs 150,000 and Rs 10,000 in donation from Shrestha on two occasions. He was charged of not providing the donation as demanded and spying on the party’s activities.
Immediately after the murder, the Chand group had owned up to the incident by issuing a statement. The party’s Mechi-Koshi bureau said that the party ‘took action’ against Shrestha as retaliation for being an informant to the police and helping them in the arrest of party leaders and cadres. The party, in its statement, accused Shrestha of being an informant to the police for a long time and not heeding to the warnings issued by the party. The statement further says that Shrestha was responsible for the arrest of two party members on October 28, 2020.
Various human rights groups, including Informal Sector Service Centre (INSEC), Forum for Human Rights and Environment, Advocacy Forum and Tarai Human Rights Defenders Alliance, visited the incident site to investigate the case and concluded that the murder was premeditated.
The government imposed a ban on the activities of Chand’s Communist Party of Nepal in March 2019 following a series of bomb blasts in Kathmandu. The party was founded by Chand in 2014. Chand, a firebrand leader during the Maoist insurgency, had deserted the Maoist party led by Pushpa Kamal Dahal in 2012. He had formed another party along with Maoist leader Mohan Baidya and Ram Bahadur Thapa to take what they said was “Nepal’s revolution forward.” He, however, fell out with Baidya and Thapa and formed his own party to launch an “unified people’s revolution.”
Thapa returned to Dahal's fold in 2016 and became home minister in the KP Sharma Oli Cabinet. After the split in the Nepal Communist Party, Thapa has remained with Oli and continues as home minister.