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Political shutdowns across Nepal affect life
Publication Date : 03-05-2012
Daily life in various parts of Nepal was affected yesterday due to shutdowns called by different political and ethnic groups.
In the Far-Western Region, the banda, a form of protest to close the markets of a city called by various political parties -- excepting the Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) -- student unions, civil society and professionals entered its sixth day. They have been demanding an "undivided" Far-Western Region. The shutdown has mainly hit the hill districts of the region. With transport services coming to a grinding halt for six days in a row, the hill districts are reeling under a shortage of daily commodities.
In view of the inconvenience caused due to the banda, an all-party meeting was called at the Kanchanpur District Administration Office. The meeting agreed to mobilise security personnel to resume transport services from yesterday evening.
The banda organisers have been protesting a Maoist proposal to incorporate the two Tarai districts of Kailali and Kanchanpur in the proposed Tharuhat state.
Meanwhile, organisations representing the Tharu community staged demonstrations in Kailali and Kanchanpur, demanding a separate Tharu state. Supporters of both the "undivided" Far-Western Region and the Tharuhat state came out on the streets in droves in the two districts on Wednesday afternoon. The two sides, however, staged their protests in a peaceful manner. They also pledged not to commit any activity that could incite any form of communal violence.
The Tharu Unified Struggle Committee, which consists of 12 Tharu organisations, also enforced banda in districts like Chitwan, Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Banke, Bardiya and Dang, demanding a separate Tharu state. The shutdown had partial impact on the daily life in these districts. Transportation was affected by the shutdown. Banda supporters staged demonstrations in various parts of the districts and blocked traffic.
Protesting Monday's bomb explosion in Janakpur, the Mithila State Struggle Committee clamped a banda in the districts of Dhanusha, Saptari and Siraha. Marketplaces and educational institutions were shut, while vehicles stayed off the roads. Banda supporters staged protest rallies in various parts of the districts and burned effigies of Home Minister Bijay Kumar Gachhadar and Rajan Mukti, leader of an armed outfit responsible for the Janakpur blast. The demonstrators also demanded a separate Mithila state.
The eastern districts of Panchthar, Ilam, Jhapa, Morang and Sunsari came under the purview of a shutdown called by the Brahman Samaj Nepal. The banda was called against caste-based federalism and to press for classifying the Brahmin community under the janajati group.