UML rejects PM’s call to postpone poll rallyTwo days after clashes between protesters and police at Maleth of Saptari in which three persons were fatally shot by police, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Wednesday urged the CPN-UML to suspend the party’s election campaign but only to receive a response in a ‘no’.
Two days after clashes between protesters and police at Maleth of Saptari in which three persons were fatally shot by police, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Wednesday urged the CPN-UML to suspend the party’s election campaign but only to receive a response in a ‘no’.
Meanwhile, another protester who had sustained bullet injuries in Saptari clashes on Monday died on Wednesday, taking the death toll to four.
Supporters of the Madhes-based parties were protesting against a get-out-the-vote rally organised by the main opposition at the Gajendra Narayan Singh Industrial Area on Monday when police resorted to firing, saying the situation could have gone out of control as protesters attempted to disrupt the UML’s programme.
The same day the UML decided to put their campaign on hold for three days.
At a meeting of three major parties on Wednesday, PM Dahal called on the UML leadership to suspend the campaign in view of the volatile situation in the region. He also sought the main opposition’s help to break the deadlock through dialogue.
In response, UML Chairman KP Sharma Oli is learnt to have told PM Dahal that the campaign would continue except in the eight districts of Province 2.
The main opposition has announced that it will resume its campaign from Hetauda on Friday. The party has also urged the government to ensure security.
“We told the prime minister that the UML is always open to finding a solution through dialogue,” said UML Vice-Chairman Bhim Rawal after the meeting. “At the same time, we also warned the government not to backtrack on its election plans.”
Fresh clouds of uncertainty are hanging over local level elections set for May 14 after Monday’s incident.
Compensation for kin of deceased
The government on Wednesday decided to provide Rs1 million each to the families of those killed in Saptari police firing. Three protesters were fatally shot on Monday while one of the injured died on Wednesday. They were protesting against an election rally organised by the CPN-UML in Maleth of Saptari district. Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting also reviewed the Saptari incident and security challenges.
Minister for Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation Hridaya Ram Thani said PM Dahal asked Minister for Home Affairs Bimalendra Nidhi to direct security agencies to exercise restraint on the ground. The government has already declared free treatment to those injured in the incident. They are being treated at BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan.
Fourth injured dies at hospital
Birendra Mehata, who was injured in Monday’s clashes between supporters of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha and security forces died on Wednesday while undergoing treatment. With this, death toll from Saptari clashes has reached four. Police confirmed that Mehata, 34 , of Maleth-2, Saptari, died while undergoing treatment at BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan. Sanjan Mehta, Pitambar Mandal and Ananda Sah were killed when police opened fire on Morcha supporters for trying to disrupt an election campaign organised by the CPN-UML on Monday. Birendra was staying at his in-law’s house in Maleth with his mother-in-law, wife and children.