February 25, 2019
Its leader says intention was to warn Ncell, not to harm members of public and that the party ‘apologises for the loss of life’.
The Netra Bikram Chand-led Communist Party of Nepal has claimed responsibility for Friday’s blast in Nakkhu and attacks on telephone towers of Ncell in various places across the country, according to a report in Kantipur daily.
“We didn’t carry out the explosion targeting pedestrians,” Kantipur quoted one of the party’s leaders as saying over phone. “But there was human casualty for which we apologise. We exploded the bomb to warn the ongoing corruption by Ncell.”
Three people were injured when an improvised device exploded near the gate of Ncell head office in Nakkhu at around 8pm on Friday. One of the injured, Singha Prasad Gurung, 49, died at around 1am Saturday at Mediciti Hospital while undergoing treatment.
The Communist Party of Nepal leader acknowledged that the explosion at Ncell office and arson attacks on the telephone towers were carried out by his party. Stating that his party had no intention to target any member of the public, the leader said the entire party rank and file is sad over the loss of a human life.
At least a dozen telephone towers of the private sector mobile company were torched in various districts including Achham, Kanchanpur, Nawalparasi, Nuwakot, Gorkha, Kaski and Myagdi on Friday night. At least four telephone towers were torched in Myagdi alone.
The Chand-led Communist Party, an offshoot of the erstwhile CPN (Maoist Centre) that waged a decade-long insurgency, has been accusing Ncell of failing to pay billions of rupees in capital gains tax, taking the money earned from Nepal to foreign country, defying court order and buying staffers of the state-owned Nepal Telecom to make its services inefficient.
The leader said the explosion was a warning to Ncell activities.
In February last year, the party had detonated “pressure cooker bombs” targeting Ncell towers in Chitwan, Rolpa, Nuwakot and Dhankuta.
Ncell, which was bought by a Malaysian mobile giant Axiata from Swedish TeleaSonera in April 2016, has been in the news for quite some time for not clearing the capital gains tax.
Chand’s Communist Party of Nepal has been accused of indulging in extortions and criminal activities. It had carried out arson attacks targeting Ncell in the past as well.
In August last year, police arrested its spokesperson Khadga Bahadur Bishwokarma on the charge of torching and vandalising an Ncell tower in Kavre.