The Nepal police shot dead four Indian-origin Madhesis blockading a key highway in Terai over the new Constitution as violence returned to the country already reeling under acute shortage of essential
The Nepal police shot dead four Indian-origin Madhesis blockading a key highway in Terai over the new Constitution as violence returned to the country already reeling under acute shortage of essential goods, prompting India to express “distress” at the loss of lives.
The agitating Joint Democratic Madhesi Front claimed that four of its cadres were killed and dozens of protesters suffered injuries in the police firing in Saptari in the volatile southern plains late Saturday night as the Madhesis-led agitation entered its 100th.
However, the police has confirmed only two deaths.The police said they resorted to firing after the nearly 2,500-strong crowd attacked them with petrol bombs and bricks when they tried to forcibly remove cadres of the United Democratic Madhesi Front blocking the nation’s main highway.
The fresh clashes injured as many as 17 protesters and 25 police personnel, of whom five protesters and two policemen are said to be in serious condition.
The protesters started pelting stones at the security personnel which led to the clashes, Saptari district police office chief Bhim Dhakal said.
“We had to use force to disperse the mob of protesters after they inadvertently started attacking the security personnel with homemade weapons,” Mr Dhakal was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.
Expressing concern over the fresh violence, external affairs ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup, who is now in Malaysia accompanying Prime Minister Narendra Modi, tweeted that India was “distressed at loss of lives in police firing in Saptari”.
The violence comes as the Himalayan nation continues to reel under acute shortage of fuels, medicines and other items for over two months now.
Nepalese legislators belonging to Madhes-based parties obstructed proceedings at the Parliament on Sunday over the police firing, following which the meeting was postponed.
Legislators from the agitating Joint Democratic Madhesi Front surrounded the rostrum and shouted slogans after the Speaker, Onsari Gharti Magar, refused to grant time to Terai Madhes Democratic Party legislator Sarbendra Nath Shukla.
They also demanded stern action against security personnel who were involved in the shooting.The Parliament was adjourned and the next meeting has been scheduled for November 26.
Earlier, Madhes-based Nepali Congress legislators refused to take their seats demanding answers from Prime Minister K.P. Oli, whom they blamed for not being serious towards the agitation by the Madhesis.
During Sunday’s Parliament session, Nepali Congress acting President Ram Chandra Poudel alleged that the government was not willing to resolve the ongoing crisis.
He accused the government of not paying heed towards black marketeering, fuel shortage among other problems facing people.
The government has not done anything to ease the import of essentials, he said, also claiming that it is involved in black marketeering of fuel.
Mr Poudel further urged the government to move ahead with the Constitution Amendment Bill to address the demands of the agitating Madhesi parties.
Meanwhile, Madhes-based parties and ethnic groups on Sunday jointly agreed to launch fresh month-long protests in the volatile Terai region beginning Monday to press for more rights and representation in the Constitution. On the first day of the protests, a condolence meeting will be organised in memory of those killed.