Bandh cripples life nationwide

Kathmandu/Rupandehi, June 1:

The bandh called by the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) crippled life in the valley and other parts of the country today, reports said.

Educational institutions, private offices and business houses remained closed.

We asked drivers of vehicles hitting the roads to disembark and walk some distance as a sign of support for the bandh, the NEFIN said. Even cyclists were asked to get off at places where the agitators gathered to block the vehicular movement.

However, shops located in alleys of the valley remained open. A few vehicles were plying the roads throughout the day.

Pedestrians outnumbered agitators at some places. Baneshwor, Ratnapark, Lainchaur, Maharajgunj, Gongabu and Kalanki — the places where clashes usually occur during bandhs — remained peaceful. No vehicles cruised along these areas though there was no presence of the agitators.

“The bandh was a huge success as people from all quarters supported us,” Pasang Sherpa, president of the NEFIN, said, adding, “People extended support for the movement because our demands are genuine.”

No untoward incident has been reported in the capital so far, police said.

Sherpa said the bandh was called to put pressure on the government to ensure proportional representation in the constituent assembly on the basis of population of ethnicities and to annul all discriminating provisions in the interim constitution.

Life in Butwal and adjoining areas was affected due to the nationwide one-day bandh called by the NEFIN, a report from Rupandehi said.

Markets, shops, industries, schools remained shut, while vehicles, save rickshaws and bicycles, stayed off the roads.

The agitators seized vans carrying copies of Annapurna Post and Nepal Samacharpatra near the Lumbini Zonal Hospital for an hour at 8 am.

They also seized a motorbike belonging to a journalist, Damodar Khanal, but returned it later.

Markets, industries, educational institutions and transport service remained closed in Baglung, Parbat and Myagdi districts. A report from Chitwan said long and short-route vehicles did not ply there.

Educational institutions and industries in different parts of Chitwan, including Narayangarh, remained closed. Though some shops were open in Narayangarh, only a few people were seen in the markets due to scorching heat.

A report from Rajbiraj said no private or public vehicle plied there. Industries, educational institutions and markets remained closed.

A report from Pyuthan said the commercial centre in the district, Bijuwa bazaar, was closed. Shops in district headquarters Khalanga also remained closed. A report from Pokhara said no long or short-route vehicles plied. Markets, industries and educational institutions remained closed. Agitators stopped tourist vehicles at different places.

Markets, shops, industries, schools stayed shut and transport services came to a halt in Tahanun. Hundreds of passengers were stranded after the agitators stopped over two dozen vehicles at Damuli, Satrasaya and Dulegauda.

A report from Lamjung said no long or short-route vehicle plied. Work in the mid-Marsyangadhi Hydro Electricity Project was also disrupted.

A report from Bara said a traffic strike was called at Amlekhgunj from 10 am to 4:30 pm today. The bandh had impact in areas adjoining the East-West Highway. The bandh had impact in Palpa, Gulmi, Arghakhanchi, Panchthar, Dhankuta, Morang, Sunsari, Dhading and Syangja, too.

Meanwhile, a report from Siraha said Babita Thakur, daughter of Gangaram Thakur of Neemchowk of Phulkahatti-9 VDC, died of snakebite as she could not be taken to hospital due to the bandh, said a local Smita Khatiwada.