Thursday, June 28, 2012

‘Mastermind’ of Babarmahal blast held; owns up bombing

-Bhim/Lila Ballav
BIRATNAGAR- Police have arrested a man said to be the mastermind of the February 27 Babarmahal blast in the Capital that killed three persons.

Rajkumar Tamang, aka Bishwokranti, who had been hiding in an animal shed at Lungaruppa VDC-2 in Panchthar, was arrested on Monday night and brought to the Eastern Regional Police Office at Biratnagar, said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Bhim Dahal.
Explosives and documents belonging to the Samyukta Jatiya Mukti Morcha, an underground outfit of which Tamang is the spokesperson, were recovered from him. Tamang was made public on Wednesday. He admitted to the deadly blast outside the office of the Nepal Oil Corporation at Babarmahal. “Taking innocent civilians lives was not our intention at all,” he said. Tamang, however, did not say why the bombing was carried out. Police also did not say what the motive actually was. They said they are still investigating the incident. Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Surendra Bahadur Shah said Tamang had been living around the eastern hill district of Panchthar for the last three months. In the wake of the bombing, he had fled to Sikkim, a state in India bordering parts of eastern Nepal. He then made his way to Panchthar, police said.
“He had been active all this while, building support for his group by taking former Maoist combatants and activists of the Kirat Janawadi Workers’ Party into confidence,” Shah said. “Investigations also found that he was planning to carry out bombings in Ilam, Jhapa and Panchthar.” After the Babarmahal bombing, Tamang called several media houses using the alias of Bishwokranti and in some cases, Devraj Lama, and claimed responsibility for the incident. When the police traced his calls, two locations in Dhankuta and Ilam came up. The number Tamang had used belonged to one Madan Tamang, who has also been arrested.bombing from Pg 1
Later, the police learnt from sources that he had been spotted in Lungaruppa VDC in Panchthar. Based on this information, the police raided Tamang’s hideout on the night of June 9, but were unable to find him.  “On Monday night, we carried out another raid. This time it was at an animal shed, which is three-hours uphill from his previously reported hideout. We besieged the place and caught him unawares,” Dahal said.
Tamang was taken to the Capital on Wednesday. The police have already arrested Bhim Bahadur Tamang, Nima Dorje Tamang, Buddhi Bahadur Gole, Prem Tamang, Sagar Lama and Suresh Lama of their suspected involvement in the blast. 

Tamang’s career

Tamang began his political career when he was a student at the Jalpadevi Secondary School in Dhankuta during the late 1980s. He was then an activist of Nepal Students Union, the student body of the Nepali Congress. Later on, he joined the CPN-UML and rose to the post of party regional vice chairman. After the UML split, Tamang joined the breakaway faction CPN (Marxist-Leninist). 

During this time, he started a travel and trekking company and in early 2000, went to Canada. Police later found that Tamang also travelled to Afghanistan, where he worked as a security escort. After his return to the country, he rejoined politics as coordinator of the Nepal Janatantrik Tamang Morcha and later joined the Ramraja Prasad Singh-led Navajanabadi Morcha, of which he became the central vice chairman. He also contested the 2008 Constituent Assembly elections from the party in Kathmandu constituency-3. He began an armed rebellion after forming the Samyukta Jatiya Mukti Morcha in 2010. 

The same year, Tamang and his outfit reportedly carried out bombings at the central offices of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal and the Rastriya Janamorcha Party. The group was also linked with a blast at a Dhading-based crusher industry, roadside bombings in the districts of Bara, Parsa and Rautahat and most recently, the Babarmahal bombing.

(Published in The Kathmandu Post 0n 2012-06-28 )

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