Ethnic groups up in arms against Maoist declaration

TANAHUN: Kumal, Darai and Bote communities today protested the UCPN-Maoist declaration of autonomous republican states, arguing that such a move would divide the country into different ethical groups resulting in serious conflict.

The activists blocked the Prithvi Highway for half an hour today demanding the former rebels to immediately stop their autonomous state declaration programme.

An estimated 300 people belonging to Sage, Patenitar, Kalesti, Bhadgaun, Bigyanchaur, Benipatan,and Bairani areas gathered at Bhorletar and obstructed the highway.

Agitating activists informed that they blocked the highway as a symbolic protest against the UCPN-Maoist unilateral move to declare the autonomous states in blatant disregard for the Constituent Assembly. They also said that the Constituent Assembly was the only legitimate authority to decide on the matter, not the Maoists.

In a joint-press statement, chairman of Nepal Kumal Sudhar Committee Rajendra Kumal, chairman of Darai community Dik Bahadur Darai and Chairman of Bote Community Dan Bahadur Bote urged the UCPN-Maoist to immediately put an

end to the ongoing declaration of autonomous states in the country. Meanwhile, organising a press meet, representatives of the three communities warned of intensifying their protest should the Maoists continue with their declaration.