Birgunj/Rautahat, September 21
With the promulgation of a new statute, United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) has intensified its agitation in the plains.
UDMF cadres vandalised and torched the houses of Constituent Assembly members and NC leaders Radhe Chandra Yadav and Lalbabu Singh in Kalaiya today. The agitators threw out furniture and TVs out of the house and set them ablaze. They vandalised the shutters and windowpanes.
Police personnel clashed with protesters when the latter tried to vandalise the house of NC CA member Farmullah Mansur and the party offices of NC and UML in Kalaiya today. Police had to fire dozen rounds of tear gas shells and fire in the air to contain the situation. Some leaders and cadres including Tarai Madhes Democratic Party central member Jitendra Singh were injured.
Bharat Chowk, Pannabag, Motiwaga, Machharahata Chowk witnessed clashes between police personnel and agitators in Bara. Protesters vandalied the offices of Land Revenue and Land Survey, among others.
Protesters set fire to the house of UML CA member Raj Kumar Gupta at Ranighat of Birgunj today. House belongings were thrown out of the house and set ablaze. UDMF cadres torched a motorbike. The agitating people vandalised a statue of martyr Tej Bahadur Amatya at Gandak. People from villages defied the curfew and staged a rally at Ashokbatika, Ranighat, Omashram, Shreepur, Bus park, Itiyahi, among other places in Birgunj.
Likewise, agitators sprinkled petrol and set the house of CPN-UML CA member Kamala Devi Mahato on at Malangawa of Sarlahi. Sarlahi CDO Meghnath Kafle said five agitators were injured after police opened fire when protesters tried to pelt stones at a fire engine that was heading to douse the fire at Mahato’s house.
Of the injured, the condition of Bikram Ray Yadav, son of senior Vice-chairman of Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic Rameswor Ray Yadav, is said to be critical. CDO Kafle said Yadav was airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment after a bullet fired by police hit his neck. The other injured are being treated at District Hospital Sarlahi.
An unidentified group set ablaze the house of NC lawmaker Sitaram Bhandari in Bharatpur VDC, Mahottari yesterday night. A group of around ten people riding motorbikes had set the house on fire at around 8:00pm, an eyewitness said. As Bhandari and his family are living in the Capital, the house was empty when it was torched. Police said they had identified the people involved in the incident.
Six protesters were injured when police clashed with them while agitators were burning copies of the statute in Garuda bazaar, Rautahat. Rautahat DAO imposed a curfew in Garuda area from 5:00pm until further notice. The clash erupted when police intervened as agitators were trying to burn the effigies of Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML Chairman KP Oli, UCPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, among others, in addition to copies of statute. All the injured are being treated at DK Clinic, Garuda.
Rautahat CDO Madan Bhujel said the DAO imposed the curfew at Garuda municipality area for indefinite period. Three locals were injured when police opened fire to disperse a mob in Biratnagar. Police had to open blank fire in the air after agitators clashed with them at Mahabir Chowk, Biratnagar. The injured are Pinki Keshari, Bishal Keshari and Ajay Sahani. Pinki, Bishal and Ajay have received rubber bullets on the right abdomen, cheek and back respectively. They are being treated at local Golden Hospital, police said.
Police said that they had to open fire after agitators pelted stones at them. Police constable Sanjay Mandal was injured.
UDMF cadres burnt copies of new constitution in Gauragunj and Khajuragachhi of Jhapa. Police opened few rounds of blank fire when the agitators were preparing to burn copies of the constitution in Birtamode. Police have arrested four persons including Tarai Madhes Party’s Jhapa Chairman Trinarayan Rajbanshi from Birtamode.
A version of this article appears in print on September 22, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.