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Nepal: Maoist chief Prachanda SLAPPED at public event

November 16, 2012 22:35 IST

Nepal's most powerful politician and Maoist supremo Prachanda was on Friday left shaken after a young activist, believed to be a supporter of his own party, slapped him in full public view.

The incident took place during a tea reception hosted by Prachanda's Unified Communist Party of Nepal - Maoist to mark the festivals of Deepawali, Chhath and Nepalese New Year in Kathmandu.

A 25-year-old youth, identified as Pawan Kunwar from Baglung district of western Nepal, slapped Prachanda at the function, according to eye witnesses.

Prachanda's spectacles flew off his face and the lens was shattered, eye-witnesses said.

Soon after, Maoist cadres attacked Kunwar, who got seriously injured, before police took him into custody.

Kunwar, a former member of the Young Communist League -- the youth wing of the Maoist party -- is undergoing treatment, Deputy Inspector General Keshav Adhikari said.

As soon as his condition returns to normal, he will be questioned, he said, adding that Kunwar condition is out of danger.

Prachanda, a former prime minister, had led a decade-long war in the country against the monarchy that claimed 16,000 lives, before the Maoists joined mainstream politics.

There was tight security during the reception attended by thousands of people including party cadres, ministers, diplomats, government officials and journalists.

Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and other senior leaders of various political parties, including Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala, Communist Party of Nepal - Unified Marxist-Leninist Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Madhesi Peoples' Rights Forum Nepal President Upendra Yadav were invited to the tea reception.

Shirish B Pradhan In Kathmandu
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