Tarai protests continueProtests in the Tarai turned violent on Saturday as activists of Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) vandalised an ambulance, obstructed a civil society rally and clashed with police.
Protests in the Tarai turned violent on Saturday as activists of Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) vandalised an ambulance, obstructed a civil society rally and clashed with police.
The agitating SLMM activists in Duhabi vandalised an ambulance that was carrying a patient to BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan.
Ananda BK, the driver of the ambulance (Ko 1 Cha 4615), belonging to Biratnagar City Hospital, was injured in the incident.
The ambulance had managed to escape protesters at Dhakal Chowk, but was attacked barely after it had travelled 500 metres.
“They attacked the vehicle with stones and rods,” BK said.
BK was taken to Biratnagar City Hospital. Dr Shital Yadav said BK sustained a deep injury on his head.
Inspector Shiva Prasad Pokharel said police fired six rounds of bullets into the air and lobbed five teargas canisters at Dhakal Chowk after protesters started throwing stones towards security personnel. The patient was taken to BPKIHS in another ambulance, said police.
Also in Duhabi, the agitating SLMM activists tried to obstruct a civil society rally. The civil society had planned the rally to demand that the Sunsari should not be divided and merged with State No 2. Some protesters and security personnel were injured in a clash between them. Ranjit Goswami and Munna Sah were arrested by police.
SLMM activists in the evening staged a demonstration to protest what they called police excesses. They have also accused the supporters of “undivided Sunsari” of disturbing social harmony. However, Ram Niraula, a civil society member, said they were organising a peaceful protest.
Protesters also vandalised another Dharan-bound ambulance, which was carrying passengers, in Duhabi on Saturday.
In Biratnagar, SLMM protesters vandalised two passenger buses which were heading to Jhapa from the bus park area. SLMM activists also staged demonstrations in front of District Police Office demanding to release the protesters
who were arrested during the protest.
In Banke, Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha supporters obstructed Nepalgunj-Rupaidhia border point. After learning that Home Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet was in Nepalgunj, the protesters staged a demonstration at no-man’s-land and obstructed the border point. In Rautahat, locals tried to attack SLMM protesters at Birta Chowk after the protesters vandalised a jeep carrying wedding guests and thrashed some women. Enraged locals also torched a motorcycle in the area. Meanwhile, in Bardiya, Tharuhat/Tharuwan Samyukta Sangharsha Samiti banda had partial effect in the area.
NC demo in Lahan
The Nepali Congress (NC) staged a protest rally in Lahan on Saturday, accusing the government of failing to resolve the ongoing crisis. NC party activists demanded that the genuine demands of the agitating Madhes parties be addressed and the (constitution) amendment proposal registered at the Parliament by the NC-led government be passed. The protest rally later converted into a corner meet at Shahid Chowk.
Demand for Chure Bhavar state
Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekta Party (CBREP) on Saturday staged a demonstration at Hariban in Sarlahi along the East-West highway demanding that the earlier agreements reached between it and then government be implemented. The protesters shouted slogans demanding separate Chure Bhavar state. CBREP Chairman Badri Neupane said the party was pressing the government to address their four-point demand.
Four Madhesi parties form separate front
Four fringe Madhesi parties have announced a separate front that, according to them, would take the ongoing protest in the Tarai to a new height.
Sharad Singh Bhandari-led Rastriya Madhes Samajwadi Party, Raj Kishor Yadav-led Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Republican, Anil Kumar Jha-led Nepal Sadbhawana Party and Jaya Prakash Gupta-led Tarai Madhes Abhiyan announced the new front, Sanghiya Samabeshi Madhesi Gathabandan or Federal Inclusive Madhesi Alliance, through a press meet in Janakpur on Saturday. The first three parties of the alliance together have five seats in Parliament while Gupta’s party lacks representation.
The formation of a new alliance is seen as an effort to counterbalance the growing dominance of Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha which is currently spearheading the protest in the Tarai. The members of the new Madhesi front feel that despite their participation in the Tarai protest, they are getting little credit.
They are also displeased with the government and the major parties for ignoring them in the dialogue process.
Leaders of the new alliance have said they will soon form a talks team to cooperate with other parties and fronts to intensify the protest.