Kathmandu: Nepal’s Maoists stormed the office of Indian joint venture firm GMR, severely beating its staff and setting ablaze three buildings in western Nepal’s Dailekh district.
A group of 60 Maoist cadres yesterday attacked the offices of GMR Energy in Dailekh, 700 km west of Kathmandu, and overpowered the security guards before setting the office buildings on fire, according to a senior GMR official.
The Indian Embassy here also confirmed that the local Maoists were behind the attack.
GMR Energy is involved in developing Upper Karnali, a key hydropower project in the country’s western district, with the joint initiative of local businessmen of Nepal.
Upper Karnali is originally 300 MW project but it could be expanded upto 900 MW.
All the computers, telephone sets, furniture, generators and documents were destroyed in the blaze, according to GMR sources.
Altogether eight people including two security guards and six technical personnel were working at the time of the attack. Two security guards sustained serious injuries as they tried to save the office from the attacks.
The engineers of the project had to take shelter in the nearby army camp to save themselves, sources said.
The Maoists have been targeting Indian joint ventures and particularly opposing construction of hydropower projects, claiming that these were not in the interest of Nepal.
The attack comes despite Nepal government’s assurance that it would protect Indian investments in Nepal and not to allow any activity that is directed against India in its soil.
External Affairs Minister SM Krishna had raised India’s serious concerns over Maoists’ growing activities against it, including threats to joint ventures in Nepal during his meeting with the former rebels’ chief Prachanda last month.
Krishna had asked the Nepalese leadership to create a favourable atmosphere, including adequate security, to attract more Indian joint ventures to revive Nepal’s economy.
Former Energy Minister and Nepali Congress central member Prakash Sharan Mahat has condemned the arsoning and asked the government to take initiative to immediately stop such types of incidents.
“It is a regrettable act, no matter whoever has done it,” he said.
However, local Maoist leader of Dailekh Thir Bahadur Karki has disowned the incident claiming that his party’s cadres were not involved in the attack.