Wanted killer gets berth in Maoist top team: report

January 15th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Jan 15 (IANS) Already under fire for a crippling daily blackout and the recent brutal murder of a young woman journalist, Nepal’s Maoist government faces more brickbats in the days to come with a media report that it has given a berth on its reshuffled central committee to an absconding man wanted for the savage beating to death of a trader last year.Kali Bahadur Kham, also known as Bibidh, was a commander of the Maoists’ People’s Liberation Army (PLA) that waged a 10-year war against the state from 1996.

Though the Maoists signed a peace pact three years ago and pledged to confine their PLA fighters to cantonments supervised by the UN, last year, businessman Ram Hari Shrestha was killed inside one of the cantonments.

Though a Maoist confidant who had sheltered and fed the underground party during the “people’s war”, Shrestha was abducted from Kathmandu after a dispute over missing money.

He was taken to a PLA cantonment in southern Nepal and beaten to death under Bibidh’s orders.

The Maoists initially tried to deny that they had any hand in the killing and threw Shrestha’s body into a stream to hide the killing.

But when the truth came out and public protests forced the government to order Bibidh’s arrest, the accused went missing.

There were reports that Bibidh was actually sheltering in PLA cantonments and had even met the Maoist defence minister to have his arrest staved off.

Home Minister Bamdev Gautam, who is also deputy prime minister, had admitted that the police were unable to enter the cantonments and arrest Bibidh.

Now the matter has been brought to the fore again with Nepali news portal dainikee.com reporting that the Maoists, who came to power pledging justice and equality, had appointed Bibidh as a member of their powerful central committee and dropped all disciplinary action against him.

The portal said Maoist lawmaker C.P. Gajurel had admitted that Bibidh was on the reshuffled central committee.

It also said that the main opposition party, former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala’s Nepali Congress (NC), has pledged to take up the issue in parliament.

NC lawmaker and former foreign minister Prakash Sharan Mahat told the portal that the decision showed there was no rule of law in Nepal and a flourishing culture of impunity.

“It is clear that Maoists can hack anyone to death, kill anyone, do anything they want,” Mahat said.

Last year, public protests over Shrestha’s killing had paralysed Kathmandu forcing Maoist Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda to promise the victim’s family that his killer would be punished.

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