KATHMANDU: At least three persons were killed and seven injured in an explosion in the heart of the Capital city today.
An improvised explosive device, believed to be remote-control operated, was planted in front of Nepal Oil Corporation in the Babar Mahal area, which is crowded with several government offices, including Kathmandu District Court and Office of the Auditor General, just a stone’s throw away from the country’s administrative hub Singha Durbar.
Kathmandu Police Chief SP Rajendra Shrestha said the bomb, kept in a plastic bag, went off at 1:11pm, usually a busy hour with office workers out on lunch breaks, killing two persons on the spot. One person died in hospital. The deceased have been identified as Krishna Bahadur Tamang (24), Man Bahadur Tamang (70) and Bir Bahadur Lama (65) of Baireni, Dhading. Krishna and Bir died on the spot while Man Bahadur succumbed to multiple injuries at Bir Hospital, where all the injured were rushed for treatment.
At a media conference, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs Shankar Prasad Koirala said the government would provide compensation to the kin of the deceased and make arrangements for free treatment of the injured. He told mediapersons that Devraj Lama aka Bishwo Kranti (37) of Hile, Dhankuta, a self-styled spokesperson for an underground outfit named Samyukta Jatiya Mukti Morcha, had telephoned media and claimed responsibility for the attack, which he said was carried out to ‘protest petroleum shortage and fuel price hike.’
Police said Bishwo Kranti had done time on extortion and bombing charges in the past. However, with authenticity of his claim yet to be independently verified, police were yet to establish the motive behind the blast.
Officials said the IED was fitted into sockets to make it more powerful. “Such explosives were massively used during insurgency,” said AIG Kuber Singh Rana. Elite cops with sniffer dogs had reached the scene and cordoned off NOC and the surrounding areas for about three-and-a-half hours as panic spread with blood splattered across the road and body parts strewn all over.
Raghunath Khadka, an injured, said he was passing by the NOC building when the bomb went off. “I was hit by shrapnel,” he said from the hospital bed showing a bandage around his neck.
A section of the NOC compound wall has been destroyed in the explosion while the impact has created about one-foot deep crater on the NOC premises.
DPM and Minister for Home Affairs Bijaya Kumar Gachhadar, who had reached the hospital to visit the injured, ruled out lapse in security but said it represented security threat. The government has formed a four-member probe panel led by DIG Upendra Kant Aryal. A Cabinet meeting in the evening discussed the blast and underscored that the incident was of serious nature.
Today’s was the deadliest bombing in the Valley since May 23, 2009 when an explosion in the Assumption church in Lalitpur killed two persons and injured 14.
• Krishna Bahadur Tamang (24), Baireni, Dhading
• Man Bahadur Tamang (70), Baireni, Dhading
• Bir Bahadur Lama (65), Baireni, Dhading
• Lal Bahadur Tamang (62), Baireni, Dhading
• Som Bahadur Tamang (35), (Condition critical)
• Raghunath Khadka (45), Tathali of Bhaktapur
• Bishnu Fulara (40), Dhangadhi
• Basu Shrestha (40), Released after treatment
• Man Bahadur Kunwar (40), Released after treatment
• Bhim Bahadur Kunwar (40), Released after treatment
Deceased’s father held, wife in dark
KATHMANDU/DHADING: Police on Monday detained Lal Bahadur Tamang of Baireni, Dhading, father of 24-year-old Krishna Bahadur Tamang who was among the three killed in an explosion in front of Nepal Oil Corporation in Babar Mahal. Police detained Lal Bahadur for questioning on suspicion of his involvement in the blast. Police said he was seen standing ‘alone’ near the blast scene for more than an hour before the explosion, but police seem to have made the claim in haste as death of his son proves he was not alone. Krishna had come to Kathmandu some three days ago with his father Lal Bahadur. Both were working as construction labourers. Krishna is survived by two daughters and a son. Krishna’s relatives in Kathmandu informed his wife Goma in Baireni that her husband and father-in-law were injured in a blast in Kathmandu but stopped short of telling her about Krishna’s death. Still in dark as to what actually happened to Krishna, Goma said, “We will lose everything if something happens to Krishna.”HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE