Itahari, August 8:
Agitators set ablaze a motorcycle at the Itahari chowk and vandalised 10 other motorcycles on the second day of the Limbuwan Khumbuwan bandh today. The agitators said they torched the motorcycle, heading from Dharan to Biratnagar, as it defied the bandh. Before torching the motorbike, they vandalised at least 10 other motorbikes.
They also seized the keys of over three dozen motorcycles. Six truckloads of security personnel â€” three each of the Armed Police Force (APF) and civil police â€” were deployed to control the situation.
Traffic was disrupted on the Itahari, Jhumka, Tarahara, Belbari, Pathari, Urlabari, Damak, and Birtamod sections of the East-West highway. Only rickshaws and cycles were seen plying in Itahari while some motorbikes plied in Dharan.
A few passenger buses managed to arrive at Biratnagar from Inaruwa. The bandh organisers had said it was a highway bandh, but they were seen obstructing traffic on link roads as well. Prices of consumer items have soared in Itahari due to the bandh. Green vegetables have become expensive, people said. â€œWe will allow school buses to ply from tomorrow,â€ a central member of the Sanghiya Limbuwan Rajyaparisad (SLR) Janak Chemjong said.
Vehicular movement came to a halt in Phidim, the district headquarters of Panchthar, and other parts of the district.
Traffic came to a halt in Ilam as well. The SLR had organised a corner meet at the Lankuri Chautara in the district headquarters yesterday. On the occasion, speakers said they launched the agitation as the government ignored their demands.
Vehicles remained off the road in Damak and adjoining areas. Although schools and shops opened, only a few vehicles belonging to diplomatic missions, ambulances and media organisations were seen plying. Jeeps and tractors operated in Gauradaha, Topgachhi, Gaurigunj and Korobari VDCs. The bandh had no impact in these areas, locals said.
Members of the SLR
obstructed traffic throughout the day and held meetings. No vehicles plied on the Dhankuta-Dharan road section of the Koshi highway. The SLR has
demanded that nine districts lying east of the Arun river â€” Panchthar, Taplejung, Terhathum, Sankhusabha, Ilam, Jhapa, Dhankuta, Sunsari and Morang â€” be declared the Limbuwan state.
The Khumbuwan Rastriya Morcha (KRM) has demanded the formation of a Khumbuwan state comprising seven districts lying west of the Arun river, namely Okhaldhunga, Khotang, Bhojpur, Udaypur, Siraha, Saptari and Solukhumbu. No vehicles headed towards the east from Gaighat due to the bandh called by the KRM.