Strike called by Dahal-Nepal faction affects life nationwideFive trucks were vandalised in Chitwan on Thursday; vehicular movement disrupted in many other cities.
Ramesh Kumar Paudel
The nationwide general strike called by the Pushpa Kamal Dahal-Madhav Kumar Nepal-led faction of the Nepal Communist Party affected daily life across the country on Thursday.
Transport service and market places remained closed for most part of the day while clashes and vandalism were reported in various places.
The strike was announced after the KP Sharma Oli government, which has been reduced to a caretaker state following the dissolution of the House on December 20, made appointments to various constitutional bodies on Wednesday.
The appointments were made by the Oli government on the back of the controversial ordinance to amend the Constitutional Council Act.
Supporters and workers of the Dahal-Nepal led faction of the Nepal Communist Party assembled on main streets and city and town centres from early Wednesday morning to enforce the strike.
In Chitwan, the strike enforcers vandalised five trucks for ‘defying’ the strike.
DSP Surya Thapa, spokesperson for the District Police Office, said the strikers vandalised five trucks for defying the strike.
Many cargo trucks were left stranded near Pulchowk and on the Narayani River bridge because of the general strike.
In Karnali Province, Chief Minister Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, who is close to the Dahal-Nepal faction, also joined the protesters to enforce the strike.
Shahi and two other ministers Bimala KC and Nanda Singh Budha rallied with the protesters.
The strike affected life in all 10 districts of Karnali Province.
In Birendranagar, Surkhet, the supporters of Oli took out a motorcycle rally to defy the strike.
“Despite the concern of possible confrontation, no major incidents took place in the province,” said DSP Ram Prasad Gharti.
In Nepalgunj of Banke district, shops and businesses, which were open in the morning, were forced to pull down their shutters by the strike supporters.
The town of Sindhulimadi in Sindhuli district remained tense throughout the day when the supporters of Oli took to the streets, claiming that the strike enforcers assaulted its central member Shantiman Karki.
Eleven people were injured in a clash between police and the strike supporters at Shiva Chowk in Janakpur.
Former ministers Ramchandra Jha and Matrika Yadav, Mayor of Sahid Municipality Udaya Barbariya and party activist Pradip Sah sustained serious injuries in the incident. They were taken to Kathmandu for treatment in the evening.
Security personnel fired six warning shots and lobbed 12 teargas canisters to contain the situation.
In Bara, police detained eight strike enforcers for trying to vandalise a government vehicle and disrupt transportation.
In Dhangadi, Kailali, the supporters of the Oli faction took to the street in protest of the strike.
In neighbouring Kanchanpur district, a journalist was manhandled by the demonstrators. The strike supporters burnt tyres on the roads and obstructed traffic throughout the day.
In Sunsari district, three cadres of the Dahal-Nepal faction were detained from Bhanu Chowk area in Dharan, for obstructing the traffic. Earlier in the day, the strikers had clashed with transport workers.
In Morang, the strike enforcers vandalised an eatery at Biratnagar.
Protests were also reported in Butwal and other parts of Rupandehi district.
Vehicular movement was affected in major areas while small vehicles plied the inner parts of the town. Security was upped in the city, according to DSP Pratit Singh Rathour of the Area Police Office, Butwal.
(With inputs from our local correspondents)