Postcard from Nepal

Four people died and at least seven were injured when three explosions shook Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, on 26 May. The armed Maoist group Biplov Faction claimed responsibility for the attack.

The explosions occurred the evening before a national protest against the death in custody of one of Biplov’s members. According to the group’s leader, Netra Bikram Chand (nom de guerre Biplov), the bombs accidentally exploded a day early, thereby mostly injuring the group’s own supporters.

Supposedly, the intention was to highlight the protests by scaring people. The day after the blasts more than a dozen home-made bombs were found in different parts of the country and there were several arson incidents. The public is now worried.

 

“I’m very scared. Bombs are not the solution when democratic methods are available,” says mother-of-two Suryama Shrestha. “We remember the violence during the Maoist era [the 1996-2006 civil war] and this makes us fear a recurrence.”

After the war, the Maoists put down their weapons and became politicians: today they are a part of the ruling coalition government. But a breakout fraction, Biplov, continues the armed fight.

 

Former armed Maoist leaders who are now politicians condemn Biplov’s actions as terrorism. This has created a strong counter-reaction as the Maoist politicians still refer to the violent attacks that carried them to victory as a legitimate revolution – and not as terrorism.

/Sewa Bhattarai, Nepal

The postcards written by journalists in our network are published on the Blankspot Project website.