Tensions simmer in eastern TaraiSupporters of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) continued their demonstrations in Saptari and other eastern Tarai districts on Monday, torching two government offices and a police post, and vandalising dozens of vehicles.
Supporters of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) continued their demonstrations in Saptari and other eastern Tarai districts on Monday, torching two government offices and a police post, and vandalising dozens of vehicles.
Three persons died on Saturday and Sunday in police firing as violent clashes followed attempts by the security forces to clear the highway blocked by protesters.
The SLMM cadres torched Soil Conservation Office in Rajbiraj and Customs Office in Tilathi. They torched a police post in Koiladi Barsain, Saptari. Morcha activists and locals took out a protest rally in Rajbiraj defying the curfew clamped by the local administration in the wake of the clashes that also left dozens hurt.
The Saptari district headquarters remained tense throughout Monday as the SLMM cadres and locals took to the streets to protest the death of Dilip Sah of Rajbiraj-1. Sah, an active member of the Nepali Congress, had sustained critical bullet injuries on Sunday. He was hit by bullets that the police fired in the air to disperse the mob. The NC district committee demanded immediate solution to the Madhes problem.
Demonstrators clashed with security personnel at various places in Saptari on Monday. Police resorted to baton charge as the protesters hurled stones at them. Some agitators were injured. Six protesters were held in Rajbiraj.
Meanwhile, the local administration escorted stranded vehicles to their destination from Monday morning. Protesters hurled stones at the vehicles on the Kanchanpur-Barmajhiya section on the East-West Highway. They also attempted to throw a Molotov cocktail on a passenger bus near the Mohini bridge.
Enraged at the vandalism of buses, some passengers got off their vehicles and took on the protesters at Bhardaha. They vandalised half a dozen houses there.
Strike at Rajbiraj zonal hospital Health institutions in Saptari halted services on Monday to protest ‘police crackdown’ in Gajendra Narayan Singh Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital, Rajbiraj. Following the clash on Sunday, police had stormed the hospital and allegedly thrashed some of the staffers. Dr Deepa Yadav, acting chief at the hospital, said they would not return to work without security guarantee.
Skirmishes in Lahan
Tension ran high in Lahan, Siraha, as the protesters clashed with police on Monday. Police fired seven warning shots. Deputy Superintendent of Police Ram KC said the Morcha cadres had pelted security personnel with stones. The SLMM claimed that the police used excessive force during their peaceful protest. Six locals were injured.
Morcha activists obstructed the highway at several places. Protest rallies were taken out in Biratnagar and Janakpur. The protesters torched a motorcycle and vandalised a jeep in Dhanusha on the charge of smuggling petroleum products from India.
(With inputs from our local correspondents)
Yadav calls for social harmony
Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav has appealed for social harmony in the wake of a deteriorating situation in eastern Tarai where different ethnic groups are protesting with conflicting demands.
Issuing a statement on the occasion of 100 days of Madhes agitation on Monday, Yadav accused the government of trying to incite communal violence between Pahadi and Madhesi communities.
“I urge the people to maintain tolerance and mutual unity by acknowledging that unity in diversity and diversity in unity are the characteristics of our society,” Yadav stated.
He also appealed to the stakeholders to allow, and assist if necessary, unrestricted movement of ambulances, medicine haulers, fire engines and vehicles belonging to Red Cross, foreign diplomats, press and rights defenders, among others. The Madhesi and Hills communities in Morang and Sunsari are protesting with conflicting demands. The Pahadi communities are against Morcha’s demand to keep the two Tarai districts in a Madhes province.