Irate locals protest Maoist action

Sarlahi, October 25:

Locals today set on fire wodden barriers placed by Maoists for collecting tax at Ranigunj Chowk in Sarlahi’s Lalbandi-Fuljor section of the highway. Shouting anti-Maoist slogans, the locals also blocked traffic for three hours after that.

The locals were enraged after Maoists beat up 23-year-old Bijay Shrestha of Ranigunj VDC–2, 45 km north of the district headquarters, Malangwa, yesterday. Shrestha was playing deusi when the incident occurred.

Shrestha was later released on the condition that he report to the Maoists the next morning, a local Ram Chandra Baiba said.

Shrestha had done nothing to provoke the Maoists, who were collecting taxes by placing barriers on the highway since mid-July, said Ganesh Shrestha of Ranigunj VDC-3. “My son had come home from India this Tihar thinking that peace was restored in the country,” Shrestha’s father Purnaman said. He demanded legal action against the guilty.

Stating that having bad relations with the locals is not good for the party, Maoists’ in-charge of the Sarlahi Prabhat told journalists: “We will sort out the problem through dialogue.”