Curfew in Sarlahi local unit after man dies in protestLocal residents were protesting a municipal plan to hand over a health post to provincial authorities. Protesters claim the man died from police bullet.
A curfew has been imposed in the Barahathawa market area in Sarlahi district after a youth died during a clash between police and protesters on Friday.
The curfew order will be in place until 8am on Saturday, Chief District Officer Komal Prasad Dhamala said.
The protest was organised by locals against the Barahathawa Municipality’s decision to hand over a 15-bed primary health centre to the provincial authorities.
Police lobbed tear gas shells and fired gunshots into the air to disperse an unruly crowd that had gathered outside the municipality’s office.
Tension ran high all day on Friday in Barahathawa after protesters vandalised the municipal office and Municipality chair Kalpana Kumari Katuwal’s house, which is close to the municipal office. The protesters also set a motorcycle on fire.
Protesters claim that one of them died after being shot by the police. But the chief district officer said the cause of the death of the youth has yet to be ascertained.
The identity of the deceased was not immediately known.
According to Katuwal, the dispute occurred over discussions on whether to hand over the 15-bed municipal hospital in ward 6 by upgrading it to a 50-bed facility to the Madhesh provincial authorities. An all-party meeting was called to decide on the matter.
“An all-party meeting was called today [Friday]. Despite requests for a peaceful resolution, five political parties issued a joint statement and attempted to influence the meeting,” Katuwal said in a statement. “We issued a notice, adjourning the meeting, following which the parties called for protests, shutting markets, public transport, and organisations. We had to adjourn the meeting amidst the tensions.”
According to her, the situation turned violent when the all-party meeting was adjourned midway.
Friday’s death is the third in the country within a week and the fourth in the last one month resulting from clashes between the police and protesters.
Last Friday, two protesters died during a demonstration by job aspirants for overseas employment in Korea at Balkumari in Lalitpur. The Korean language test candidates were staging demonstrations outside the EPS Centre building at Balkumari demanding the chance to appear for language tests for manufacturing jobs in South Korea.
Police said that protesters—Sujan Raut, 23, and Birendra Shah of around the same age—who were injured in clashes with the police, died in hospitals.
On December 13, one person died of bullet injuries when the police fired live rounds in the air to disperse protesters in Simraungadh Municipality of Bara. The police also fired several rounds of teargas canisters to control the crowd.
Twenty-five-year-old Laxmi Mukhiya Bin of Nansagaradhant in ward 1 of Simraungadh received bullet wounds in the back of his head. According to the Chief District Officer of Bara, Nawaraj Sapkota, Bin died on the spot and was taken to Narayani Hospital in Birgunj for post-mortem.
A protest was being held outside the municipal office in Simraungadh by the municipal staff and government school teachers against delayed payment of their salaries. The unpaid employees have been protesting against the municipality for the past two months.
Over the past few years, cases of police brutality and excessive use of force have become more frequent in Nepal.
Baton-charging and physical violence at demonstrations are often employed to control protests while such events quickly spiral out of control when armed police intervene and resort to using guns to disperse the crowd.