TANAHUN: At least 12 persons including five police personnel were injured in a clash between locals and the police in Bandipur along Prithivi Highway today. The clash ensued after police attempted to clear the highway, which locals had obstructed to protest the unavailability of drinking water for last 12 days.

The demonstrators retaliated after police fired tear gas shells and resorted to baton charge to open the highway. Five police personnel including Inspector Birendra Thapa were injured after demonstrators hurled stones at them.

From the locals’ side, Purna Kumar Bhattachan, Hitman Gurung, Ram Kumar Gurung, Sundar Dawadi, Laxmi Gurung, Shanti Shrestha and Ashish Gauli were injured. Critically injured Ashish is undergoing treatment at Dumre hospital, Rabiraj Bhattarai, former VDC chairman, Bandipur, said. Sundar Shrestha, a local, said police had baton-charged a peaceful demonstration.

Locals of Bandipur have been reeling under acute water shortage because electricity for running water pumps has been obstructed.

Power supply has been obstructed in 28 VDCs of Tanahu and Gorkha districts after the transformer at Dumre branch caught fire on 28 March.