Four people died and three others were injured in two separate explosions in the Capital on Sunday in a sudden escalation of violence and a grim reminder of days during the Maoist insurgency before the 2006 peace agreement.
According to police, three people died when a cooking gas cylinder exploded inside a hair salon in Sukedhara and the fourth person died in another cylinder explosion in Ghattekulo.
The names of the victims were not immediately known.
Police suspect those killed might be associated with the Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal and that the exploded cylinders could have been rigged as explosives, possibly to be planted somewhere in the Capital, ahead of the group’s plans to enforce a nationwide general strike on Monday.
“It appears that both explosions were caused by accidental setting off of improvised explosive devices,” SSP Uttam Raj Subedi, chief of the Metropolitan Police Range, told the Post.
Sunday’s explosions were the second deadliest blasts this year since February, when the Chand-led outfit exploded an improvised pressure cooker bomb in Nakkhu, killing one and injuring two others.
“Preliminary investigation shows that one person injured in the blast in Ghattekulo was a cadre of the Chand outfit. We are still investigating,” SSP Shyam Lal Gyawali, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police Office, told the Post.
The deadly explosions come just a day ahead of the Chand outfit’s announcement for a nationwide strike, demanding an investigation into the death of its cadre Tirtha Raj Ghimire.
Ghimire, who sustained bullet injuries in police firing in Bhojpur, died while undergoing treatment at BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan last week.
The Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal, a breakaway faction of the erstwhile Maoist party that waged a decade-long insurgency which took nearly 17,000 lives, has vowed to launch a new form of movement—“unified revolution”—saying revolution in Nepal was still not complete.
Following the series of explosions, Home Minister Ram Bahadur Thapa, who was Chand’s one-time comrade in arms, called an emergency meeting and asked the security agencies to remain on high alert ahead of the planned strike.