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At least 3 killed in Saptari

  • Over 30 protesters and 25 security personnel injured
- JITENDRA KHADGA, SAPTARI

Nov 23, 2015-

At least three people were killed in violent clashes that erupted between the security forces and protesters causing obstructions on the East-West Highway since Saturday night. Normal life has been crippled in several parts of the eastern and central Tarai, a region already reeling under an acute shortage of essential supplies.

Three people succumbed to bullet injuries during the clashes between the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) protesters and police in Saptari district. The Morcha claimed another man also died during the protest in Rajbiraj, the district headquarters. More than 30 protesters and 25 security personnel were injured in the incident, which came weeks after another violent incident Birgunj on November 3 when an Indian national was shot dead in the police firing.

At least 50 people, including nine security personnel, have been killed in protests against the new constitution that have crossed 100 days.

The violent clashes took place in Bhardaha and Rupani on the highway on Saturday night as police tried to disperse some 5,000 baton-wielding protesters who had gathered on the highway on Saturday evening as part of their protest of disrupting vehicular movement under police escort. Tension flared as the demonstrators destroyed a police van. But police reinforcement arrived at the scene at around 10:30pm, and the protest soon turned violent as the security personnel charged baton after the protesters refused to move away from the highway.

Birendra Ram, 20, of Dadha-7 succumbed to bullet injuries at Bhardaha, while Nageshwor Yadav, 25, of Jamunimadhepura-9 died in the police firing at Rupani on Saturday night. One Dilip Sah, 50, died in police action in Rajbiraj on Sunday evening. Sah, who was on the roof of his house, was struck when police fired warning shots into the air following the violent clash with the protesters in Rajbiraj. Seriously injured Sah succumbed to injuries in hospital. His seven-year-old daughter was also injured in the incident.

Deputy Inspector General at Eastern Regional Police Office in Biratnagar Madhav Joshi said the security personnel retaliated after the protesters opened fire at them. “Police had to disperse thousands of protesters who were obstructing the highway that was declared a riot zone. The violent clash ensued as the security personnel attempted to disperse the mob,” Joshi explained.

Twelve protesters, who sustained bullet injuries, were taken to BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan, while others are receiving treatment at Gajendra Narayan Singh Sagarmatha Zonal Hospital in Rajbiraj.

As many as 25 Nepali

Police and Armed Police Force personnel were injured in the incident as the demonstrators hurled stones and attacked with catapults, according to Superintendent of Police Bhim Prasad Dhakal. The injured are receiving treatment at the District Police Office.

The local administration has clamped an indefinite curfew in Bhardaha, Rupani and Rajbiraj to contain the situation. However, the SLMM activists staged demonstrations in various places, defying the curfew orders. The protesters torched a police van that was carrying the injured security personnel to the hospital. They survived the incident by fleeing from the burning vehicle.

The security personnel entered the hospital in pursuit of the protesters. Some hospital staff and attendants of the patients were injured when police charged indiscriminately baton.  

Meanwhile, locals in the Barmajhiya Bazaar area took out a protest rally, claiming that the security personnel beat up the local shopkeepers accusing them of throwing stones at the moving vehicles. A clash ensued as police tried to stop the protesters from destroying bridge across the Sundari stream.

Condemning the use of “indiscriminate force” by the security forces, Madhes-centric parties have accused the government of orchestrating a campaign to muzzle Madhesi people who demanding a greater autonomy in the Tarai.

“This incident proves that the government is trying to push the country towards further crisis instead of resolving it through dialogue,” Chairman of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal Upendra Yadav said in a statement. “We fear the government is deliberately fuelling violence to bring in more security forces to suppress the protest,” said Yadav.

SLMM activists vent ire against leadership

RAJBIRAJ: Local SLMM leaders on Sunday staged a demonstration in Bhardaha against their party leaders, accusing them of enjoying a luxurious life in the Capital while pushing party activities into battlefield.

Shambhu Jha, a central member of Sanghiya Samajbadi Forum-Nepal in Bhardaha, said party’s top leaders issued orders from “the comfort of the couch” in the Capital, putting lives of activists at risk. “However, they are enjoying luxurious life in the Capital with some pretexts,” Jha said. The enraged protesters chanted slogans against their party leaders at Bhardaha and Rupani in the district.

Chief district officer recalled

Kathmandu: The Home Ministry on Sunday recalled Saptari Chief District Officer Anil Thakur for failing to perform his duties effectively.

Highly-placed sources at the ministry said CDO Thakur had failed to coordinate the security forces in his command, resume the blocked East-West Highway and contain protests in the district with minimal damage. His replacement has not been named. Police said three persons had died when they fired at protesters to resume vehicular movement on the highway at Bhardaha and Rupani of Saptari district. The agitating Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha has, however, claimed that four persons died from bullets fired by police at their peaceful agitation.

Published: 23-11-2015 08:38

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