Kathmandu: An Indian trader was shot dead in the latest incident in a series of gun attacks in Nepal`s capital, prompting businessmen to stage protests here Monday.
Anjani Kumar Chachan, a 40-year-old from Rajasthan who had made Kathmandu his home for over two decades, died of injuries Sunday night in the city`s oldest hospital within hours of being shot thrice by two motorcycle-borne attackers.
Chachan, who owned A V Enterprises, a small shop selling leather bags in the dingy and crowded Ganabahal area, one of Nepal`s oldest marketplaces, was shot in the arm and stomach by two men around 7 p.m. Sunday when he was still in the shop.
The area had no electricity due to a 14-hour daily power outage clamped by authorities as part of a severe energy crisis. The two men, wearing crash helmets to make identification impossible, fled without being challenged by anyone.
Chachan`s wife was in an adjoining room. By the time she raised an alarm, the attackers had escaped.
Police were yet to make any arrests.
Angered by the killing, other shopkeepers and traders from the area, joined by 18 business organisations, protested at the Bir Hospital, surrounding Chachan`s body and demanding security.
Police said they were in talks with protesters to defuse the tension.
The murder of Chachan, who belonged to India`s trading community, the Marwaris, comes within a fortnight of the employee of a business group - who are the main dealers of Tata four-wheelers in Nepal - being killed in the Teku area of the capital.
Outside Kathmandu, the situation is worse. On April 6, gunmen killed the manager of a gas station in Chitwan in southern Nepal.
Killings, bomb blasts, abductions and extortion have become a way of life in Nepal following protracted political instability and the failure of a weak government to address any issue of national importance as it battles for survival.
More than two months after being elected prime minister, communist chief Jhala Nath Khanal has not been able to expand his cabinet beyond eight members due to bitter fights with his allies over power-sharing. There is no home minister, and the premier has kept the portfolio with himself.
The growing power outage, police say, has boosted crime with many killings occurring during power cuts.