Stir-happy Tharus’ writ runs large

Itahari, March 7:

People in the Tarai districts had no respite from bandh today as well. The indefinite bandh called by the Tharu community has been paralysing normal life in different Tarai districts for the last six days.

Around 500 industries on Morang-Sunsari Industrial Corridor have been closed for the past six days because of the bandh. Nearly 1,000 vehicles have been stranded at different parts of the district because of numerous obstructions along the East-West Highway. The death of two agitators in Chitwan yesterday further fuelled the Tharus’ protest in the district. Though the local administration had relaxed the curfew orders last night, markets remained closed today. Vehicles stayed off the roads. The agitators closed Narayangarh and Bharatpur. Many tourists, who were forced to stay in Sauraha because of the traffic obstruction, returned to Kathmandu, after completing the 18-km journey from Sauraha to Bharatpur airport on carts.

According to tourism entrepreneurs, the bandh has hit the tourism industry in the district very hard.

Meanwhile, Khadak Chaudhari, Kailali district secretary of the Tharuhat Swayetta Parishad, said they would allow the stranded passengers to leave for their destinations. “We have lifted the bandh for 12 hours tonight to facilitate the stranded passengers. We also allowed markets to open from 7-9 pm today,” he added. The agitators also disrupted air services in Geta airport in the district.

Different organisations have urged the agitators to withdraw the bandh, keeping in view the upcoming Hindu festival of Holi and Warawafat of the Muslims.

The bandh also affected transportation of petroleum products from Amlekhgunj in Bara. The agitators clashed with Armed Police Force personnel at Kolvi in Bara. Five agitators were hurt in the clash. Likewise, three agitators were hurt when they clashed with police in Nawalparasi district. They also vandalised four ambulances and three trucks in Rupandehi district.

Meanwhile, the Chure Bhavar Ekata Party closed Hariwan Bazaar in Sarlahi for two hours today to express solidarity with the Tharus’ protests. The bandh also affected normal life in Parsa, Rautahat, Dang, Kanchanpur and other Tarai districts.