Maoists postpone Kailali bandh

DHANGADHI: The UCPN-Maoist postponed the bandh, which was called in Tharuwan districts until December 18. The bandh was called protesting the Kailali’s Dudhejhari incident where five Maoists-aligned ‘squatters’ were killed in police action on Friday.

The party’s district committee, however, announced fresh protest programmes beginning December 11.

Speaking at a press meet organised by the Maoists at their district office in Dhangadhi today, district in-charge Hari Gyawali ‘Akhanda’ said that they postponed the bandh considering the Sudurpaschim Mahotsav (Far-Western festival) and due to the requests of civil society leaders.

The Maoists have put forth various demands, including declaring those killed in the Dudhejhari incident martyrs, providing compensation to the victims’ families, managing permanent settlement for the squatters, among others. Relocation of the recently established base camps of the security personnel from the forest areas is their another demand.

“We can withdraw the protest programmes if our demands are met immediately,” said Akhanda.

As part of the fresh protests, the former rebels will effect an indefinite Kailali district bandh from December 19.

In the wake of the bloody anti-encroachment drive, political parties here in the district have been holding various rounds of talks, but to no avail. A similar all-party meeting held today too concluded inconclusively.

Although today’s meeting made 13-point agreement, CDO Hari Krishna Poudel expressed his disagreement with the parties’ decision. CDO Poudel said that the administration had no sympathy to the forest encroachers.

“How can we declare the encroachers the martyrs of the nation?’’ he asked, adding, “The administration was not bound to give the expenses for their funeral as well.’’

Meanwhile, students of different educational institutions in Dhangadhi demonstrated here today demanding to resume the classes.

Normal life in the Far-western Region has been hugely affected on the straight fourth day due to the tension prompted by the Dudhejhari clashes.