Gorkhatimes

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Maoists turn TU convocation venue a battle zone, PM shown black flags

Posted by Ramesh Khati on September 17, 2009

KATHMANDU, Sept 16(MYREPUBLICA): The Tribhuvan University (TU) on Wednesday virtually turned into a riot-zone after the Maoists broke in the heavy security chain to disrupt Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal´s address at the university´s 34th convocation ceremony. PM Nepal is the university´s chancellor.

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The Maoists who were seated to the left of the dais waved black flags and shouted slogans against PM Nepal while he was about to deliver his speech. Throughout the program they shouted slogans like “long live civilian supremacy”, “down with the prime minister” and time and again attempted to break the police cordon. Nara Bahadur Adhikari, a police constable, was critically injured after he was hit by a stone pelted by the demonstrators. It was apparent that some disgruntled university staff had helped the protestors led by Maoist affiliated Free Students´ Union secretary Manushi Yami Bhattarai to enter the venue despite heavy security.

When the sloganeering reached fever pitch, some plainclothes men intervened. The exchange of blows lasted for almost five minutes, while PM Nepal continued his speech. The Maoists relented only after personnel of the Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force took charge of the situation. Police held over 30 Maoist cadres including Bhattarai from the scene but set them free a few minutes later.

tuconvocation

Apparently, the Maoists had planned to engage the police in outside-scuffles. “We sensed that they were about to do something violent inside. Hence, we mobilized a good number of plainclothes policemen inside the venue,” said a police officer. Surveillance officers said Maoists might have got into the venue by showing both real and fake identifications of TU staff.

However, TU registrar Bhim Raj Adhikari said he did not have any knowledge of such infiltration. “I think the incident concerned politics,” said Adhikari, who seemed hardly surprised. “It is part of the Maoists´ nationwide campaign, as everybody knows. Yet I regret the incident as it happened on the university premises,” he added.

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Over 500 security personnel led by chief of Metropolitan Police Range, Kathmandu, Navaraj Siwal had been mobilized to ensure security of the PM during the function. Security checks and surveillance were carried out on the route between Balkhu and Kirtipur.

Maoist cadres also showed black flags to the PM at Balkhu while he was returning from the university at around 1 p.m.

The Maoists have been boycotting official functions attended by the president, prime minister and other ministers, demanding parliamentary debate on their resolution motion against President Dr Ram Baran Yadav. The motion was turned down by Speaker Subas Nembang saying it was against the constitution.

tuconvocationprotest

Maoist protests have turned violent in recent days. While several of their cadres and policemen have been injured in clashes, the Maoists have destroyed many private vehicles. They also tried to disrupt the convocation of the Purvanchal University in Biratnagar on Sunday.

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