Fear, uncertainty grip Rangeli

- ABDhESH KUMAR JHA, Kathmandu/Gorkha
Deaths in Rangeli first in eastern Tarai in protests that have raged for more than five months

Jan 23, 2016-A day after three persons were killed in police firing in Rangeli Bazaar and Dayaniya in Morang district, the whole area remained tense throughout the day on Friday, as enraged activists of the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha took to the streets, burnt tyres at Katahari, Naya Bazaar and Dadarberiya among other places and obstructed vehicular movement along the Biratnagar-Rangeli road.

Security forces in large number have been deployed in the area. The deaths 

in Rangeli on Thursday were first in the eastern Tarai in the protests that have been going on for more than last five months. 

The violence in the area has stoked fear among local residents who said they were not expecting the protests in such large proportions and that police would open fire on demonstrators. 

“Police have started thrashing us,” said Sunil Mahat, a local, adding that Thursday’s incident has unleashed panic among locals. Draupadi Devi Chaudhary, 60, of Rangeli-4, Mahadev Rishidev of Bardanga-2 and Shivu Majhi of Dayaniya-9 of Morang were killed in police firing on Thursday. Eyewitnesses said police had opened fired from Bhotebabu Chowk, Kali Temple, hospital and Pani Tanki areas after clashes between police and SLMM protesters.  On Friday, protesters also vandalised an under-construction building of the Armed Police Force 

at Rangeli-3. Inspector Abhichandra Rijal said Morcha supporters also set 100 cement sacks on fire. 

Though the authorities have not clamped curfew in the region, locals said security forces have been restricting locals from gathering in bazaar area. “Police start inquiring whenever they see people in front of their houses,” said local Sanu Kumar Sah. Families of those deceased have refused to receive the bodies. Morcha leader Raj Kumar Yadav said they will not receive bodies until the government compensates the families and declares them martyrs. 

SLMM leaders have also demanded formation of a judicial probe committee to investigate into the incident.

The Youth Association of Nepal (YAN), youth wing of the ruling CPN-UML, against which the Morcha activists were rallying before the police opened fire on Thursday, claimed that SLMM supporters had thrashed its activists. But Morcha leaders accused security personnel of highhanded treatment in Rangeli Bazaar and Dayaniya after Thursday’s incident.  

On Friday, a probe committee was formed to investigate into the incident.

Chief District Officer Toyam Raya informed that an all-party meeting, excluding leaders from the Madhesi Morcha, held at Morang District Administration Office decided to form a probe committee under the coordination of UCPN (Maoist) Morang constituency-4 lawmaker Shiva Kumar Mandal. The committee comprises UML district chairman Mahesh Regmi and Nepali Congress’ Yadu Bista among other representatives.

Madhesi Morcha leaders, however, said they “do not recognise the probe committee which does not have Morcha representatives”.

Published: 23-01-2016 08:55

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