Protest against killing of businessman by Maoist army

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Kathmandu, May 17 (UNI) Protests continued here today and in other parts of Nepal following the killing of a businessman by the cadres of the Maoist army in Chitwan.

Locals of Koteshwor took to the streets and blocked vehicular movement there throughout yesterday and today.

Businessman Ramhari Shrestha was abducted by Maoists PLA cadres and taken to Chitwan where he was killed inside the Maoists cantonement, local media reported.

''The Maoists had abducted Ramhari from his house on the night of April 27, saying they were taking him for questioning him in connection with the theft of Rs 1.7 million and a gun from the liaison office of the Maoists' third division cantonment, which is located on the ground floor of Shrestha's house,'' the Himalayan Times quoted Ramhari's wife Ramila as saying.

However, the cash and gun were recovered from the premises of the liaison office after three days.

''We don't want the party, which does not have control over its cadres, whose cadres thrash and kill people, to head the government,'' Ramila said.

''We gave shelter to the Maoists during emergency. The Maoists have their office in our house. In spite of all this, they killed my husband,'' a tearful Ramila said.

She said she had knocked doors of every Maoist leader and cadre she knew to facilitate the release of her husband. But nobody helped me.

Ramila said she had even talked to Bibidh, third division commander of the Maoist army, who used to stay in her house earlier, over phone on May 2. Bibidh warned her not to publicise the issue.

''Finally, I met CA member Jhakku Prasad Subedi and asked him to take me to the Maoist chairman. With him, I went to meet Prachanda today. He told me that my husband has been murdered,'' she said.

The locals tried to vandalise the Maoist Trade Union Office and clashed with police.

The paper quoted PLA man Jibit as saying that Ramhari Shrestha died after two PLA soldiers beat him up at the third division.

Jibit said he, Keshav Adhikari (Raghu) and Ganga Ram Thapa (Atom) were responsible for the death, adding that body of Shrestha was thrown into the Trishuli river from a bridge in Bhaludhunga, Chitwan, at midnight on May 10.

This incident of abduction and murder of a businessman has serious consequences on Maoists at a time when it is preparing to lead the new government. Main political parties, including the Nepali Congress and UML, have accused the Maoists of intimidating, creating terror and murdering innocent people.

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