Maoists evict Madhesi patients from Kathmandu hospital
Apr 16, 2007 - 12:17:39 PM

Kathmandu, April 16 - Even as Nepal's government said it had formed a ministerial team to start a dialogue with protesters of Indian origin from the southern plains, the Maoists, now a dominant party in the ruling alliance, forced nine severely injured Madhesis to leave a hospital here.

The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, a group from the Terai plains that began an agitation from this year demanding an autonomous state for Madhesis - plains people of Indian origin - and greater representation in parliament, said nine of its badly hurt supporters were forced to leave the capital's government run Bir Hospital after the former rebels threatened to attack them.

'These were people who had undergone surgery and unable to move,' Forum leader Upendra Jha told IANS. 'However, the Youth Communist League - of the Maoists threatened to hack them into pieces.

'We were forced to bundle the nine men in ambulances and drive them overnight to the border town of Birgunj.'

The hospital drama was the sequel to the eruption of violence in Gaur town last month when Maoists clashed with Madhesis over holding a mass meeting at the same venue.

Dozens were hurt in the snowballing clashes with 29 people being killed.

The Forum said nine of its severely injured supporters were receiving treatment in Bir Hospital when the YCL, the dreaded wing of the rebels, arrived there Friday seeking treatment for their injured comrades.

On finding that Forum supporters were being treated there, the rebel youths threatened to attack them, leading to their exodus.

'We condemn the incident, especially when the Maoists have joined the government,' Jha said.

'Apparently, the guerrillas have still not changed their ways.'

The Maoist move came as the new eight-party government Sunday sent a formal letter to the Forum, asking them to begin dialogue.

The Forum said it would see if the government was honest about trying to find a political solution to the Terai demands or was dangling a bait before it in a bid to make it call off its three-day closure call in the plains from coming Friday.

More than a fortnight after joining the government, the Maoists have continued to dominate the headlines.

On Monday, the local media reported police had raided three offices of the YCL after receiving complaints that the young rebels possessed illegal arms and were detaining people.

The raids, which failed to find any illegal weapons or prisoners, are likely to trigger a Maoist backlash.

The former guerrillas have already started going on the warpath since Nepal's Election Commission last week announced it would be impossible to hold the much-awaited election on June 20.

Maoist supremo Prachanda has warned his party would start another revolt, though a peaceful one, if the government doesn't declare Nepal a republic through a parliamentary proclamation.

Though the communist rebels ended their decade-old insurgency last year by formally signing a pact, the fragile peace negotiation has been going through a series of hiccups blamed on the political parties, who are regarded as trying to shield Nepal's 238-year monarchy from abolition.

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