Tarai longs for normal life

Itahari, March 10:

• Holi brings relief in some places

• Curfew in Banke, Nawalparasi

The agitating Tharuhat activists last night vandalised 42 trucks in front of Jaya Syarsekali and Syarsekali petrol pumps along the East-West Highway at Hasposa-8 in Sunsari district. The trucks were stranded there for the past nine days.

Some 50 agitators vandalised the trucks last night, the Pakali Area Police Office said. Transport workers said the trucks suffered no major damage, as the police arrived at the scene on time. Protesting the vandalism, the workers today protested on the East-West Highway, saying that the incident was aimed at terrorising them.

In Rautahat, the Tharu Welfare Council (TWC) today called off the bandh on the Chandranigahpur section of the East-West Highway for two days, keeping in view with the Holi festival. The withdrawal came into effect from today. Following the withdrawal, the vehicles stranded on the highway left for their destinations.

However, shopkeepers in Udaypur closed their shops, protesting the TWC’s decision to allow shops and markets to open for only two days. Issuing a press statement last night, the TWC said that they would allow shops and markets to open but would not allow vehicular movement. Led by the Udaypur Chamber of Commerce and Industries, the businessmen closed the shops and obstructed the roads by burning tyres. The agitators also withdrew the bandh in Kanchanpur for two days, coinciding with the Holi festival. A joint meeting of 14 different organisations, including the Kanchanpur chapter of Tharu Civil Society, decided to call off the bandh. However, they said they would not allow the operation of public transport.

In Panchthar, activists of Loktantrik Rastriya Manch, affiliated with the Federal Limbuan State Council, today vandalised a motorbike belonging to Kantipur daily’s district correspondent Lavdev Dhungana.

In Rupandehi, life returned to normalcy after the agitating Tharus withdrew the bandh for two days.

In Dang, hundreds of passengers were left stranded after the agitators seized the vehicles that were being escorted from Banke yesterday. The passengers arrived in Lamahi this morning, after walking for 10 hours.

Meanwhile, the locals administrations in Banke and Nawalparasi issued night curfew (8pm to 5am) on the highway to escort the stranded vehicles and passengers to reach their destinations.