Murder of VDC secy shuts local bodies in eastern region

Biratnagar, July 18:

Municipalities, VDCs and the DDCs in 16 districts of the eastern region were shut today to protest the murder of Targena Govindpur VDC secretary Ramhari Pokhrel by cadres of the Jwala Singh-led Janatantrik Tarai Mukti Morcha (JTMM-J) in Siraha district today.

The local bodies in Mechi, Koshi and Sagarmatha zones were closed at the call of the VDC Workers’ Rights Protection Centre, said its central member Hari Prasad Pokhrel.

Responding to the call, workers in the VDCs, municipalities and the DDCs left their offices and warned that they will halt work until a conducive atmosphere was created and their security guaranteed.

The centre also warned that work in local bodies’ offices countrywide would be halted from July 21. They said the workers would start a national-level agitation against the growing insecurity and rising violence in the Tarai.

Central member Pokhrel said they have sought security guarantee from the administration in for more than 35 VDC secretaries, Rs 10 lakh life insurance and a standby substitute for each.

VDC officials said each group in the Tarai is demanding a 40 per cent cut of the VDCs’ revenue income and Rs 2 lakh from each VDC secretary’s own pocket.

After the JTMM-J issued a recent threat saying all Pahadi origin workers and officials must leave the district, VDC secretaries in Sunsari and Morang districts have shifted to their respective district headquarters.

A report from Rajbiraj said civil servants in Saptari struck work to protest Pokhrel’s murder. They urged the government to declare Pokhrel a martyr, compensate his family and provide free education to his children.