Maoist strike cripples Nepal
A nationwide strike on Sunday called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in protest against police action on squatters on government land disrupted life across the country, reports Utpal Parashar.
A nationwide strike on Sunday called by the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) in protest against police action on squatters on government land disrupted life across the country.
Offices, schools and colleges and business establishments were closed and public transport remained off roads.
Nepal’s weekly holiday is on Saturday.
Protesters clashed with shopkeepers and motorists in Kathmandu and other towns. They also damaged vehicles and vandalised property.
Four squatters and a policeman were killed in clashes between police and 23,000 landless people who had grabbed forest land in Dudejhari in Kailali district of west Nepal, bordering India, on Friday.
Terming the incident an act of government highhandedness and an attempt to derail the peace process, the Maoists and allied organisations declared the bandh on Sunday.
“If the government continues to use excessive force against the landless, we will come up with appropriate answers,” said Netra Bikram Chand, general-secretary of the UCPN (Maoist).
Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal “Prachanda” termed the police action a violation of the three-year-old Comprehensive Peace Agreement and assured support to the landless.
Home Minister Bhim Rawal denied allegations, saying the squatters had been warned to leave and police had to resort to firing in self-defence.
The Maoist leaders deny involvement in “settling” the people in the forest land, as some reports suggested.