Strike in ITC’s Nepal factory after worker’s murder

June 19th, 2008 - 6:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, June 19 (IANS) Agitated workers went on strike at the tobacco factory of ITC in south Nepal Thursday demanding security after one of their peers was killed by an armed group. Lila Lamichhane, an employee at Surya Nepal’s tobacco factory in Simra town in Bara district, was abducted Wednesday while returning home from work.

Late at night, his body was found near a rivulet.

The Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha, an armed group led by former Maoists, is suspected to have been behind the killing.

The ITC joint venture, in which Nepalis, including deposed king Gyanendra, as well as British American Tobacco, also hold shares, has gone through turbulent times in the past. However, this is the first time that an employee has been murdered.

While the Maoists were waging their 10-year people’s war against the king, they had forced the factory to close down and had even abducted some employees.

However, the staff were released unhurt later.

After the election in April, which saw a marked improvement in security, things have worsened again in the Terai.

Earlier this month, another Indian joint venture, the Everest Bank in which India’s Punjab National Bank holds a stake, had to stop operations for some time after receiving extortion calls on the telephone.

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