Madhesi protesters targeted President Vidhya Bhandari during her visit to a temple at Janakpur on Wednesday, sparking tension in the area and prompting police to fire in the air and use teargas to disperse demonstrators.
Protesters greeted Bhandari’s motorcade with black flags and slogans. They pelted stones while she was in the Janaki Temple and hurled a petrol bomb at the shrine soon after she left.
Police fired several rounds in the air and used batons and teargas to disperse the protesters at Janakpur, the birthplace of Goddess Sita. Nearly a dozen people were reportedly injured.
Bhandari was in Janakpur, 380 km southeast of Kathmandu, to attend Vibaha Panchami, the symbolic marriage of Lord Ram and Goddess Sita conducted at the temple every year.
She spent nearly 10 minutes in the temple but authorities called off the ceremony due to the protests.
Protesters had announced their decision to oppose her visit as Bhandari was vice-chairman of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist before assuming the top post.
Madhesis have been protesting against the new constitution for four months and have blocked key border points with India, resulting in a severe scarcity of essential goods and petroleum products.