Itahari, February 21:

Koshi flood victims in Sunsari district continued with their protest for the fourth day today by obstructing traffic on the Inaruwa-Koshi Barrage section of the East-West Highway. The victims obstructed traffic by burning tyres and placing boulders on the section.

However, the victims’ attempts to disrupt the reconstruction of embankment along the Koshi River couldn’t materialise, as the local administration had mobilised a large number of police personnel.

“We are ready to sacrifice our lives but we won’t give up until our 13-point charter of demands were addressed,” Pancha Narayan Mandal, chairman of Koshi Flood Victim Struggle Committee, said.

The traffic obstruction along the highway also affected Vice-President Paramananda Jha’s scheduled programme in the district. VP Jha was scheduled to attend a programme organised by Madhes Media Mission in Sunsari at 10 am today. However, the programme was postponed by nearly seven hours to 5 pm after the Chief District Officer Durga Prasad Bhandari declined to manage security for the vice president.

The members of the Madhes Media Association and the police personnel exchanged heated arguments following the local administration’s refusal to arrange security for VP Jha. However, the local administration later bowed down to the pressures of the organisers and local mediapersons. Led by CDO Bhandari, the police escorted VP Jha to the programme venue amidst heavy security arrangements.

Meanwhile, around 500 stranded passengers gheraoed the District Police Office, Sunsari, this afternoon, saying that they were starving to death because of the traffic obstruction on the East-West Highway. The passengers also clashed with the members of Madhes Media Mission who were pressuring the police to arrange security arrangement for VP Jha. However, the police took the situation under control.

Saying that their news was not covered, Koshi victims of Haripur vandalised a vehicle

of Kantipur Publications today, according to the District Police Office, Sunsari. Sunsari chapter of Federation of Nepali Journalists has condemned the incident.

Over 36,000 flood victims from four VDCs in the district are taking part in the protest.