No let-up in petroleum price hike protests

Dhangadhi/Kathmandu, August 25:

To go on till hike is rolled back: ANNFSU.

Over ten students were hurt today when policemen rained batons on students who were staging a rally against the government decision to hike the price of petroleum products, a report from Dhangadhi said. Eight student unions had organised the rally. A member of the All Nepal National Free Students’ Union (United), Baburam Acharya, was among the injured in the police action. In Kathmandu, the agitating students obstructed roads in front of valley campuses today, chanted slogans against the price hike, and clashed with policemen in front of the Bishwo Bhasham Campus, Ratna Rajya Laxmi Campus, and the Nepal Law Campus. Thakur Gaire, the general secretary of the ANNFSU, said the movement would continue unless the government rescinded the decision to hike the price of petroleum products.

In the morning, the police fired nine shells of tear gas to disperse the students, who had gathered in front of the Bishwo Bhasha Campus. The students burnt tyres, chanted slogans, and stoned the policemen. However, no one was hurt during the clashes. The students took out a rally from Patan Multiple Campus in the afternoon against the price hike. Demanding that action be taken against policemen who shot at innocent students in Rajbiraj yesterday, the eight student unions urged the government to provide compensation to the injured. Meanwhile, the student bodies demanded today that Prakash Bam and Aashish Shah, whom the police had arrested from the Amrit Science College (ASCOL) hostel last night, be released immediately.

Condemning the police intervention in the students’ protest, the Tribhuvan University Teachers’ Association also demanded that the decision to hike the price of petroleum products be rescinded. According to our Chitwan correspondent, protesting against the decision to hike the price of petroleum products, workers of four parties, including the NC and the CPN-UML, staged a protest rally in the Narayangadh chowk today. The rally, after passing through the main thoroughfares of Narayangadh, converged into a corner meeting at the Putalibazaar mainroad chowk. Addressing the meeting, leaders of four parties vent ire against the price hike and demanded that the Nepali Congress -Democratic (NC-D) president, Sher Bahadur Deuba, be released immediately. All educational institutions remained closed in Rajbiraj today, a report said. The eight student unions had announced the closure of educational institutions to protest against yesterday’s incident, in which a civilian was hurt when police charged batons on a rally taken out by the students. Ram Kumar Chaudhary, the NC district president, Dinesh Kumar Yadav, the district president of the NC-D, and district-based organisations condemned the police action. Chanting slogans against the RCCC, workers of the NC-D staged a protest rally in Birgunj today, a report said.