Curfew clamped, tensions run high in Nepal’s Madhes region

Madhesi Morcha activists staged protests and vandalised government offices in southern Nepal after three Madhesi activists were killed in police firing.

world Updated: Mar 08, 2017 01:07 IST
Anil Giri
Anil Giri
Hindustan Times, Kathmandu
Nepal,Madhesi Morcha,political violence
Nepalese riot police run for cover as Madhesi activists hurl stones at them in Saptari district on March 6, 2017. (Reuters)

Nepal’s southern Madhes region was tense on Tuesday following the death of three Madhesi Morcha cadres during a clash with security forces, with political parties calling a two-day strike and organising protests at several places.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” met home minister Bimalendra Nidhi and top security officials and asked them to maintain restraint while tackling the unrest. Nidhi summoned chief district officers and security officials of Saptari district, where the clash occurred on Monday, to the capital for an explanation.

“I am really saddened by the tragic incident that took place in Saptari. The government will pay compensation to the deceased and will bear all costs incurred for treatment of the injured,” said Prachanda.

Transport services, factories, industries and educational institutes were affected by the strike called by an alliance of Madhes-based parties. Following the spike in tensions, the administration clamped curfew in Rajbiraj, the headquarters of Saptari district.

Irate Madhesi Morcha cadres joined protests and burnt tyres in Rajbiraj and at markets in Bhardaha, Kanchanpur, Rupani and Kalyanpur. Hundreds of protesters took to the streets and shouted slogans for compensation to be paid to the families of the dead activists. They also demanded treatment for the injured and action against those responsible for firing at Madhesi Morcha activists.

The cadres surrounded the district administration office in Saptari and vandalised the Rajbiraj Municipality and Nepal Telecom office, police said. A vehicle of the National Human Rights Commission was damaged.

Following the protests, security was beefed up at government offices in Rajbiraj, police said.

A Madhesi protester looks at a burning motorcycle during a clash between police and protestors at Rajbiraj in Saptari district, 240 km southeast of Kathmandu, on March 6, 2017. (AFP)

Three Madhesi Morcha cadres were killed and dozens more injured when police opened fire after the Madhesi activists attempted to disrupt the Mechi-Mahakali campaign of the opposition CPN-UML party in Rajbiraj on Monday. The Morcha said seven of the injured were in critical condition.

The CPN-UML said a conspiracy was hatched in Saptari to kill all its top leaders. The party said Prachanda and the home minister were responsible for the incident.

First Published: Mar 07, 2017 19:24 IST