Normal life resumes after weeks of protests in Nepal | india | Hindustan Times
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Normal life resumes after weeks of protests in Nepal

india Updated: Feb 09, 2007 12:14 IST
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Trucks began hauling fuel and food and buses transported stranded passengers across southern Nepal on Friday, as life resumed following weeks of violent protests in the Himalayan country.

Most of the cargo and passengers coming to landlocked Nepal from neighbouring India have to pass through the southern region where violent protests since January 19 has claimed more than 21 lives.

A group that has been organising the protests, however, said it was temporarily suspending demonstrations and would begin talks with the government.

On Friday, hundreds of trucks loaded with cargo headed toward the major cities on the north including the capital Kathmandu, where authorities were forced to ration fuel to drivers and there has been shortage of cooking oil.

Bhola Siwakoti, a government administrator in southern Nepal, said Friday was the first day in three weeks that the key highways have been opened for traffic in the area.

He said life was returning to normal, with markets and schools reopening on Friday. There have been curfews imposed almost daily in the area for the past three weeks.

Upendra Yadav, chief of the Tarai People's Rights Forum, made an announcement on Thursday that it was halting the protests after the government said it had accepted key demands of the group and would allocate allow more political representation for the southern region.

He warned, however, that protests would resume if the government fails to "create conducive environment" to resolve the problem.

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said on Wednesday that the constitution would be immediately amended to accommodate the changes.

The forum and some smaller groups in the southern Nepal have been demanding more autonomy and greater representation for the region in the legislature and administration.

They say the south has been sidelined in favor of the more populated mountainous areas in the country's north.

There were also no reports of curfew in any towns in the region on Friday.

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