Bandh cripples life in Valley

Kathmandu, August 22:

The Valley bandh called by the Joint Republican Dalit Front Nepal (JRDFN) and the Maoist-affiliated Tamang National Liberation Front (TNLF) crippled life in the Kathmandu Valley today.

Police rounded up over 33 activists of both the organisations while they were trying to close the market and transportation in various parts of the Valley, including New Road, Baneswor, Bagbazar, Thapathali, Koteswor and Ratnapark. They were released later in the evening. Those arrested include Buddhi Nepali, Raj Kumar Hingmang, Kranti and Hari Thapa, among others.

The agitators set ablaze a motorbike belonging to an armyman at Lagankhel.

All the educational institutions and business houses remained closed. Very few motorbikes were seen plying on city streets besides ambulances, vehicles of the press and diplomatic missions.

A joint press release signed by the convener of the JRDFN Tilak Pariyar and president of the TNLF Surya Man Dong Tamang stated that Gyanu Tamang and Karuna Tamang were injured during a scuffle with security men at Lagankhel in Lalitpur. They are receiving treatment at the Patan Hospital.

They also threatened to go for the second phase of protest programmes if the government failed to meet their demands.

Very few vehicles plied on the roads even after the bandh was over at 5 pm.

The JRDFN has been agitating for the last one month demanding a guarantee of proportional election system and representation of 20 per cent Dalits in the constituent assembly. The TNLF has demanded that the interim parliament declare Nepal a federal democratic republic. It has also demanded ethnic autonomy with rights of self-determination, among others.