Jhapa bandh affects life; 34 held, freed

Damak, October 10:

Demonstrators vandalised some 18 vehicles in Damak during a Jhapa bandh called by the Federal Republic Forum (FRF) today. Police intervened in the demonstrations and arrested 34 persons. The demonstrators gathered at the Chiya Bagaan Chowk and vandalised the vehicles bound for Damak from Urlabari at around 7:30 am, police inspector Narayan Prasad Chimoriya said.

Police arrested 16 demonstrators from Damak, 14 from Birtamod and four from Kakarvitta. The general secretary of the FRF, Kumar Lingden, was among those arrested. The FRF called the bandh demanding constituent assembly elections and a federal set-up in the country. The bandh crippled normal life with the main bazaars, including Birtamod, Bhadrapur, Kakarvitta and Dhulabari, remaining closed. Private and public academic institutions and factories also remained closed, while public transport vehicles remained off the roads. Four passengers Tulsi Shrestha, Dharma Raj Acharya, Krishna Tamang and Tara Devi Brahmin, were injured when demonstrators pelted the buses with stones. They have returned home after treatment, police said.

Some 50 vehicles were sent towards Birtamod with police escorts early in the morning today. However, the same could not be done during the day time due to the tense situation. The FRF later organised corner meetings in Damak, Birtamod, Budhabare, Jhiljhile and Kakarvitta, demanding the police release its activists. Police inspector of the Area Police Office, Birtamod, Dilip Jha, said all those arrested were released in the evening.

Meanwhile, the ad hoc committee of the Indigenous Nationalities Civic Forum on Tuesday condemned the arrests made during the Jhapa bandh called by the Federal Republic Forum (FRF). The FRF had called a Jhapa bandh demanding restructuring of the state in terms of ethnicity and announcing the date for elections to a Constituent Assembly. Convener of the INCF Dr Ganesh Yonjan and secretary Bal Krishna Mabuhang has also welcomed the resumption of the summit talks.