Two Indians killed in Nepal church blast (Lead)

May 23rd, 2009 - 3:00 pm ICT by IANS  

By Sudeshna Sarkar
Kathmandu, May 23 (IANS) A teenager and a newly-married woman on her honeymoon from eastern India were killed while over a dozen others, mostly youngsters, were injured as a bomb exploded in one of Nepal’s oldest churches during morning prayers Saturday, triggering fears of more violence on a day Nepal’s parliament is to elect a new prime minister.

Dipa Patrick, a 30-year-old woman from Patna in India’s Bihar state who had arrived with her husband Vikash Patrick and two sisters-in-law four days ago to spend their honeymoon in Kathmandu, had planned a quick visit to the Assumption Church in Dhobighat in Kathmandu valley’s Lalitpur district in the morning before returning to Patna by afternoon.

Her body now lies for post mortem at the Patan Hospital while her husband, who works for the upmarket Chanakya Hotel in Patna, is grappling with death.

Two cousins of Vikash, Sweety Singh, 16, and Mona Patrick, 21, all of them from Patna, are also being treated at the same hospital.

“We are appalled,” said a grieving Wilfred Henry, another cousin of the Patricks, who had arrived in Kathmandu with his family Friday. “They had been married only four months ago.”

Henry and his wife decided not to attend the morning prayer session as they were tired by their journey and therefore escaped the carnage. The blast also killed Shelesy Joseph, a 15-year-old schoolgirl from Patna, who was studying in the famed St. Mary’s School in Lalitpur.

The condition of five other churchgoers is serious, police said.

A dazed Sun Bahadur Tamang, who survived the explosion, pieced out the tale to IANS.

“An obese woman, who looked to be in her late 30s, came up to us at the place of prayer and sat down right next to my wife,” the 50-year-old said. “Then she asked us where the toilet was and went out, saying she would be back. She left her handbag behind,” he recalled.

The bomb was in the handbag pushed under her seat which blew up around 9.15 a.m., police told IANS. There was pandemonium in the church compound as panicky people ran towards the gate.

“I toppled over to one side,” said Tamang. “And now, I can’t hear anything.”

Still, the elderly man who sat in his blood-spattered shirt in Alka Hospital was luckier than his wife Sunmaya. The 45-year-old Sunmaya, who had sat next to the ‘killer woman’, received serious injuries and is not yet out of danger.

Police said they found a leaflet at the spot. A shadowy organisation calling itself the Nepal Defence Army (NDA) claimed responsibility for the blast.

The NDA, which says it wants the restoration of monarchy and Hinduism reinstated as the state religion, last year also claimed responsibility for the attack at the residence of a Catholic priest, John Prakash, in Sirsiya town in southern Nepal, gunning him down.

The violence comes on a day Nepal’s interim parliament will hold an election to choose a new prime minister to replace the caretaker government of Maoist premier Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda.

Along with rights groups, anguished relatives waiting outside the two hospitals condemned the blast and demanded that the guilty be brought to justice.

“We want the government of Nepal to take some action,” said Henry.

“And we also want the injured to be given the best treatment possible. If there are not enough doctors in Nepal, efforts should be made to bring them from abroad,” he added.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in World |