UN condemns Nepal poll killing

March 19th, 2008 - 9:54 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, March 19 (IANS) Condemnations came in soon after an armed group gunned down a communist candidate in the turbulent Terai plains in south Nepal, raising concerns about the security situation and the future of the twice-postponed polls. The UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), which is observing the crucial April 10 election to ensure it is free and fair, issued a press statement expressing deep concern over the killing of Kamal Prasad Adhikari of the Rastriya Jana Morcha party, who was shot repeatedly by three armed men at his residence in Betahani village in violence-prone Banke district.

Adhikari died early Wednesday morning while being taken to the regional Bheri Hospital for treatment.

“Violence and threats against candidates represent a serious obstacle to the creation of a free and fair atmosphere for the election,” the UN agency said. “All efforts must be made to bring those responsible to justice.”

UNMIN and a second UN agency, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal, said they would continue their monitoring activities in support of “the creation of an atmosphere conducive for the election and the protection of human rights”.

The chief of the Maoist party, Prachanda, who put off his poll campaign in Banke district after the murder, condemned the killing, saying it was an attempt by anti-poll saboteurs to stop the election. The poll was regarded as vital for Nepal’s peace process.

Prachanda also warned that violence would increase in the areas where Maoists had a strong base. He cited his own poll meet in Rolpa district, also in midwest Nepal, where unidentified assailants had reportedly fired on crowds.

The leader of Nepal’s largest ruling party and a contender from Banke’s Nepalgunj town also condemned the murder.

Sushil Koirala, one of the leaders of the Nepali Congress party as well as a close kin of Prime Minister Girija Prasad KOirala, said the murderers should be brought to justice.

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