Strike in Morang, PM, UNMIN chief condemn mosque blasts

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Kathmandu, Mar 30 (UNI) Normal life across Morang and Sunsari district came to a grinding halt today following a strike called in protest against three bomb blasts in an eastern Nepal mosque last night, which claimed the lives of two people and injured scores.

Educational institutions, industries and marketplaces remained shut and vehicles stayed off the road due to the shutdown called by the Morang Business Association.

The curfew clamped on Biratnagar to take the situation under control was lifted by the Morang District Administration.

Two people had died on the way to hospital and more than a dozen injured when three socket bombs went off at the Chhoti Masjid located at Sarochiya in Biratnagar-7 of Morang district.

''Two unidentified people on motorcycles came and hurled four bombs while over 60 people were reciting evening prayers inside the mosque and fled the scene. However, only three of them (bombs) went off immediately,'' the Kantipur newspaper said adding the Nepal Defence Army (NDA) took responsibility for the blast.

Meanwhile, the Muslim communities of Sunsari district have obstructed Duhabi section of East-West highway at Inaruwa.

The National Liberation Forum Nepal condemned the explosions and expressed grief over the incident demanding action against the guilty and compensation to the victims' families.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala requested the Muslim community not to be deterred by the attack. He urged them to exercise self-restraint and take part in the upcoming Constituent Assembly (CA) elections with religious tolerance.

He also assured that immediate investigation of the explosions would be carried out and the perpetrators punished.

Claiming that the regressive elements had carried out these activities taking advantage of the dispute among the seven ruling parties, the Prime Minister said the objectives with which these regressive elements carried out the blats would not be fulfilled.

United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) Chief Ian Martin condemned the bomb attack saying the deliberate targeting of a place of religious worship will outrage Nepalis of all communities.

UNI XC SYU AS1531

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