Three Madhesi protesters, including a woman, were killed in police firing and eight more injured as fresh clashes erupted over Nepal’s new constitution in Morang district on Thursday.
The clashes, which followed a lull of almost two months, occurred at Rangeli Bazaar and Dahaniya Chowk in the eastern district when Madhesi protesters clashed with police.
The protesters, under the banner of the United Democratic Madhesi Front, were trying to disrupt a programme by the youth wing of the ruling Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist.
District officials confirmed the deaths of Draupadi Devi Chaudhary, Shibu Majhi and Mahadev Rishi. The condition of some of the injured was described by officials as critical.
“We have confirmed reports of three deaths and eight injured in the clashes. The situation in the area, located 25 km from the district headquarters, is under control now,” chief district official Toyam Raya told Hindustan Times.
Local reports said police used tear gas and fired blanks in an attempt to disperse the protesters. They resorted to firing when that failed.
“It seems instead of resolving the issue through ongoing talks, the government is trying to disrupt the process by unleashing violent measures against protesters,” said Upendra Yadav of the Federal Socialist Forum-Nepal, one of the four constituents of the UDMF.
This is the first time Madhesi protesters have died in clashes with police since last November, when two persons were killed in Saptari district.
Madhesis, the residents of the Terai region bordering India, have been protesting against Nepal’s new constitution since August. Violent clashes with police have claimed nearly 55 lives so far.
The protesters have been demanding changes in the statute related to proportional representation, delimitation of constituencies and fresh demarcation of federal boundaries.
They have blocked Nepal’s main trade point with India at Birganj since September, resulting in a severe shortage of essential goods and fuel. Several rounds of talks between the government and the UDMF have failed to resolve the deadlock.