Protests, clashes mar President’s Janakpur visit

Janakpurdham, December 16

Tension ran high in Janakpur throughout the day today due to demonstrations staged by the United Democratic Madhesi Front over President Bidhya Devi Bhandari’s visit to the Janaki temple in the holy city.


More than 60 agitators and 12 police personnel were injured when the protesters clashed with police personnel upon the arrival of President Bhandari.

Keeping in view Bidhya Bhandari’s slated visit, UDMF cadres and agitators descended on the streets early in the morning and staged rallies to protest the head of state’s visit. Bhandari reached the temple after landing at Janakpur Zonal Police Office in a helicopter before noon.

She was greeted with black flags at several places along the route.

UDMF cadres pelted the President’s motorcade with stones while she was returning after offering prayers at the temple. The protesters also broke the security cordon and stormed the temple and resorted to vandalism inside the temple.

They even hurled petrol bombs at the temple.

After offering prayers at the temple, President Bhandari said, “My mother was born in Janakpur and I’ll be more than happy if Janakpur is incorporated into Mithila state in the new federal set-up.”

She was accompanied by Land Reform Minister Ram Kumar Subba, Deputy Speaker Ganga Prasad Yadav, NC lawmaker Kiran Yadav, Chief of the Army Staff Rajendra Kshetri, among others.

Immediately after President left the temple around 12:45pm, the temple premises turned into a battlefield. A large number of protesters encircled the temple and hurled stones and bricks, disrupting Ramjanaki Bibaha Panchami programme.

Dhanusha SP Ramdutta Joshi said the police had to fire 11 tear gas shells to bring the situation under control. “As many as 12 police personnel were injured in the attack, while some protesters were also injured in the stampede and by the stones hurled by their fellow protesters,” SP Joshi said.

Dr Pramod Yadav at Janakpur Zonal Hospital said more than 60 persons were treated at the hospital.

United Democratic Madhesi Front Dhanusha Coordinator Sesh Narayan Yadav claimed that more than 60 agitators were hurt when police charged with baton at them and fired tear gas shells indiscriminately.

“We had warned anti-Madhesi President from visiting Janakpur. Her arrival ruined the festive atmosphere,” Yadav added.

After normalcy returned in the evening, Ramjanaki Bibaha Panchami programme was formally concluded.

Amid tight security, palanquins of Ram and Janaki were ferried to Barhabigaha at 6:00pm before they were taken to the Janaki temple.

Late in the evening, wedding ceremony was performed on the temple premises.


Probe sought

KATHMANDU: The Tarai Human Rights Defenders’ Alliance issued a press release on Wednesday demanding probe into Janakpur violence and free treatment for those who were injured in clashes between the agitators and the police.

The alliance said some pilgrims were also injured in the fracas. The alliance accused the police of dragging people out of their houses and medical clinics and beating them up.

It said a petrol bomb landed in the temple while President Bidhya Devi Bhandari was returning from Janaki temple, causing damage to the temple.

The alliance claimed that its human rights defender Birendra Karna was injured when police also resorted to throwing stones at protesters.