Kathmandu, May 11:
Normal life across the nation was affected on the second day of general strike called by Brahman Chhetri Samaj protesting against ethnicity-based federalism on Friday.
The United Struggle Committee comprising the Chhetri Samaj, Brahman Samaj, Thakuri Samaj, Dashnami Samaj, Dalit Janajagaran Sewa Sangh, Bibidh Mukti Pragatishil Samaj, Khas Chhetri Ekata Samaj and Federation of Marginalised Group called the two-day strike.
The strikers took out a protest rally at Kalanki, Gongabu, Satdobato, Putalisadak, Koteshwor and other areas of the capital from early morning.
The irate demonstrators torched a taxi with registration No. Ba 1 Ja 5101 at Baneswar for defying the strike at around 5:30 a.m. The front part of the taxi was burnt completely. Demonstrators torched the vehicle by pouring petrol.
Several leaders of the joint struggle committee blamed some NGOs, INGOs and political leaders of hatching conspiracy by floating proposal of ethnicity-based federalism.
Like on the first day of the strike, entire academic institutions and market were shut while transportation came to a grinding halt. According to the Metropolitan Police Range, Hanumandhoka, nine persons were arrested till Friday evening. Nine of the protestors were arrested in Kathmandu and two in Lalitpur district.
According to a statement issued by the Home Ministry, twelve persons were arrested in the Kathmandu valley for their involvement in violent activities. Similarly, 22 persons were injured in a clash between Tharu joint struggle committee and the group demanding undivided far-western region. The clashes took place at Tulsipur, Dhangadhi and Trinagar.
According to news bulletin section of Nepal Police Headquarters, three protestors were detained by the police for forcing locals to close shops. Similarly, the protestors vandalized Public Health Office in Tansen Municipality at around 9:30 am. A group of eight to 10 persons entered the office and vandalized its window panes, tables and fans. Police arrested three of the protestors from the spot.
Meanwhile, two groups of strikers clashed at Mudhabazaar of Kailali district at around 1:30 pm on Friday.
Eight protestors were injured in the clash. The demonstrators turned violent and torched a taxi with registration No. Se 1 Ta 4244. Police fired tear gas shells to quell the mob.
The joint struggle committee has threatened to intensify its protests if their demands are not met.
Kumar Khadka, general secretary of the Chhetri Samaj, said they are not against the rights of any specific community. "We would like to urge the government to give equal rights to all communities," he said.
Khadka said the communities were forced to take to the streets after their demands were ignored for five years. A constitution that discriminates won’t be acceptable," he said.
Chairman of Chhetri Samaj Prof Dil Bahadur Chhetri said their protest is for a logical cause.
"We also want dignified place like all other communities," he said.
Meanwhile, demonstrators protesting against ethnic-federalism intensified their protest at Prithvi Chowk of Pokhara on Friday. People of Pokhara are demanding undivided Western region.
Rallies were taken out from various parts of the city chanting slogans against ethnicity-based federalism.
A large numbers of security forces were deployed in the area as the demonstrators tried to display a banner reading ‘Undivided’ Western Region’ near a banner of ‘Tamuwan Autonomous State’.
In Sunsari district in east Nepal, normal life was affected by the two-day strike called by ten groups including Brahmin Samaj.
Transportation, industries, educational institutions and the market was completely closed due to the strike. The protestors were blowing conch shells, chiming bells and dancing as part of unique protests at Radhakrishna temple of Inaruwa.
Sunsari district president of Brahmin Samaj Balkrishna Niraula said that they are demanding geographical demarcation of federal provinces extending from south to north.
Bandha defied in Kirtipur
Locals of Kirtipur protested against the general strike called by Brahmins, Khas, Chhetris and other communities.
A large number of locals attended the anti-strike protests after the bandha enforcers encircled the historical city and took out rallies.
The anti-strike protesters chanted slogans for Newa Autonomous State and federalism with ethnic identity.
Despite demonstration of opposing groups, no untoward incident happened in Kirtipur, police said.