KATHMANDU - Gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed a Nepalese Supreme Court judge on Thursday in the capital Kathmandu, sparking fears of lawlessness amid a political vacuum in the Himalayan country. Judge Rana Bahadur Bam, who was under investigation for corruption, was being driven from a temple early in the day when the gunmen pounced, shooting him six times and injuring two others in the car, doctors and police said. “He and a security guard were returning from Bagalamukhi temple. A motorbike blocked their way and there was gunfire at 11:08 am,” said Kathmandu police spokesman Rabi Raj Shrestha.
The shooting punctured an uneasy peace in the capital, days after Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, which had been considering the case for Bam’s impeachment, disbanded having failed to agree on a new constitution.
The killing came as thousands of police patrolled the streets while feuding political factions vie for power in the troubled Himalayan nation, which has no legislature and only a caretaker government ahead of elections in November.
“The Nepal government will find the criminal. I urge all Nepalis not to be filled with terror,” caretaker Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said after visiting the hospital where Bam was taken.
“A high-level meeting of security committee has been called,” Bhattarai told reporters outside the hospital. “We will provide extra security to all the high-level officials including judges.”