Protestor shot dead as Nepalis angered by contentious proposals to split country into six states
By Deepak Adhikari
KATHMANDU, Nepal – Nepal’s police on Tuesday shot dead a protester during a demonstration against contentious proposals to divide the country into six federal states.
Protests have erupted across the country since Nepal’s politicians last month struck a deal to divide the country into six provinces in a new constitution that has been delayed by years of political deadlock.
But there have been complaints from sections of the country’s diverse population that they have not been consulted enough for the new constitution, which after a decade of delay has been rushed through since the country was jolted by deadly earthquakes in April and May.
Angered citizens mostly from Nepal’s western hills and southwestern plains have protested against the manner of division but Tuesday’s killing in the eastern part of the country saw the agitation spread.
“One person in his thirties was killed today morning when more than 500 protesters attacked a police post in Bhardah [village of Saptari],” said Birendra Kumar Yadav, the administrative head of the southeastern district of Saptari.
Yadav said protesters had blocked the highway with boulders and logs and pelted stones at a vehicle belonging to the Armed Police Force, an official paramilitary.
“At around 10 a.m. [4.15 a.m. GMT], they attacked the police post with stones and even tried to seize the communication system. So police were forced to open fire,” Yadav told Anadolu Agency.
A dozen protesters were injured in a clash in the Kapilbastu district in south-central Nepal and a man was seriously wounded during the protest in Saptari, according to pressure group Terai Human Rights Defenders Alliance.
The Madhesi Morcha, a coalition of plains-based regional parties, has organized a shutdown in Saptari against the division of province, which has lasted for three days.
Last week, two protesters were killed in Surkhet, a district in the country’s midwest. Similar clashes have broken out in Jumla district in the northern part of the country.