Nepal Maoist chief bails out attacker

December 12, 2012 - 3:49:19 am

KATHMANDU: The leader of Nepal’s ruling Maoists put up the bail money yesterday to free a young chef who is awaiting trial for slapping him in the face, the party said.

Padam Kunwar, 25, had been behind bars since his arrest a month ago for assaulting Pushpa Kamal Dahal -- and smashing the former revolutionary’s glasses -- at a tea reception in Kathmandu.

Kunwar, a former party member turned chef at a five-star hotel in the capital, was hailed as a hero for his actions by a large section of Nepalis growing increasingly frustrated by their political leaders.

He was sent from police custody to a Kathmandu jail on Monday after failing to post his 28,000-rupee ($515) bail, with his family saying they were too poor to stump up the cash.

“Our party chairman has sent his aide to deposit the money and bail him out,” Dahal’s spokesman Chudamani Khadka said.

Dahal, who turned 58 yesterday, led a Maoist insurgency that claimed more than 16,000 lives before a 2006 peace deal paved the way for the abolition of the world’s last Hindu monarchy and his own rise to power.

“My slap is not a result of external motivations. The leaders have held the country hostage. So, I slapped him to teach a lesson,” a handcuffed Kunwar, apparently unmoved by Dahal’s gesture, said.

“People had high expectations and trust in the leaders. They have also made sacrifices for the big political movements. That’s why they are angry with the leaders,” he said.     AFP