Police chasing Devi Prasad Regmi, who slapped CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal at a party programme, in Itahari on Thursday.
ITAHARI: It was a slap in the face, literally, for CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal. No sooner had Khanal said in Biratnagar that the government would be formed in 10 days than he confronted the insulting incident in Itahari.
A former UML supporter Devi Prasad Regmi of Bharaul-5, Sunsari, ran bang into Khanal and slapped the latter on his left cheek in Itahari.
The 52-year-old attacker justified his action, saying Khanal and political leaders like him were to blame for promising the moon to people and keeping the country hostage for long. “When I saw Khanal and other leaders, I could not help but slap him, for these are the people who are responsible for ruining the country,” said Regmi, holding his head high. He was later taken to Area Police office, Itahari.
Before arriving in Itahari to inaugurate a programme organised by CPN-UML Itahari Municipality Committee, Khanal had said at Biratngar airport that the country would get a new government in 10 days. But the UML chairman, who has been largely attributed to orchestrating resignation of Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government on June 30, did not pay the piper for only that if what Regmi said is anything to be believed. He maintained that he hated Khanal and other political leaders’ guts for keeping the country mired in crises.
When The Himalayan Times approached a red-faced, literally again, Khanal, he would not deign to talk about the episode but say, “Gnats and flies make no effect at all.”
The incident, nonetheless, fired UML activists with anger. UML Sunsari Chairman Rewati Raman Bhandari termed the incident ‘a serious crime’. “It could be a premeditated act as Regmi is reported to be a Maoist,” said Bhandari. Rajendra Pokhrel, member, UML Sunsari District Publicity Department, even went on to claim that a UML team that visited Regmi’s house in Bharaul found that the Maoists had designed the plan.
Regmi said he was earlier affiliated to UML but added that he supported the UCPN-M during the Constituent Assembly elections. “But now I am simply a common peasant,” said Regmi, adding, “It just came to me instinctively that I must smack him (Khanal).”
Meanwhile, UCPN-M Sunsari Secretary Kaushal refuted allegations that his party orchestrated the episode.
Inspector Shyamal Subba at Area Police Office, Itahari, said the incident occurred within the security details set by UML activists. UML Sunsari has formed a three-member panel to investigate into the incident.