Slain Nepal candidate’s killer caught in India

April 5th, 2008 - 11:05 am ICT by admin  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, April 5 (IANS) The man alleged to be responsible for the killing of a communist candidate in Nepal has been arrested from a hideout in India, Nepal police said. Sikandar Khan, alleged to be the mastermind behind the gunning down of Kamal Prasad Adhikari, the candidate fielded by the National People’s Front for Thursday’s election, was arrested by Indian police Friday from Bahraich town in Uttar Pradesh.

Adhikari was killed 17 days ago in Banke district along the Indo-Nepal border by masked gunmen who kicked down the front door of his house and pumped several bullets into him before the eyes of his horrified wife and children.

Before his death, the communist candidate told police he had identified four of the attackers.

On the basis of the deathbed declaration, police arrested two people. But Khan had taken advantage of the open border between India and Nepal and fled to the neighbouring country.

Police in Banke said they had asked Indian police to help apprehend the fugitive.

After arresting Khan Friday, Indian police began criminal proceedings against him. He is wanted in dozens of cases of murder and robbery on both sides of the border.

Adhikari’s family said he had been receiving threat calls asking him to withdraw from the April 10 constituent assembly election or face severe consequences.

After his murder, his wife Sita Adhikari was nominated by the slain man’s party from the same constituency.

A little known underground organisation, calling itself the Nepal Defence Army, had owned responsibility for the killing.

The Terai plains along the Indo-Nepal border have been a hotbed of crime and violence since the fall of King Gyanendra’s government in 2006.

Escalating violence in the plains forced the new government to postpone the crucial election last June and after subsequent sectarian violence, which killed at least 18 people, the polls were postponed yet again.

Mobile patrols have begun manning the sensitive districts in Terai especially in view of four armed groups warning they would try to disrupt Thursday’s election.

From Saturday, helicopters would start patrolling Nepal’s skies in an attempt to beef up security.

The Indo-Nepal border would be sealed for two to three days to check the smuggling in of arms, explosives and gunmen, Nepal’s home ministry said.

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