New protests erupt in Nepal following new constitution

Violent protests flared over new administrative division plan, police kill two protesters and wound a dozen more

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

Anger sparked in Nepal over police killing two protesters and wounding 12 others during protests that were held on Monday in the mid-western Surkhet district against a historical new constitution.

The protestations in the town of Surkhet were prompted by protesters who opposed plans to divide the mid-west region into two provinces a day after confirmation of the agreement which redrew Nepal's internal boundaries under a new constitution.

The new constitution that was signed on Sunday by Nepal’s four rival parties, Nepali Congress, Communist Party of Nepal, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the Madhesi Jana Adhikar Forum-Loktantrik, will divide the country into six provinces.

However the plan has caused dismay among the nation, particularly in the southern plains and mid-west.

"Our demand for an undivided mid-west remains strong," said Tej Bikram Basnet, a teacher who joined the latest protest in Surkhet on Tuesday.

"We want to keep today's protest peaceful and don't want things to get out of hand like yesterday," he added.

During Monday’s protest, police forces shot and killed two protesters and wounded others in a bid to fend off an attack on the home of a local lawmaker.

Hundreds of police forces arrived in the region after protesters declared that they would not obey the curfew in the mid-western state. Schools, shops and factories have remained closed as well.

"Hundreds of security forces have been deployed in Surkhet and surrounding areas in case the situation turns hostile,"National police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam told AFP.

Bam said that protesters forced Nepalese police to use their weapons as they vandalized political parties and government offices, as well as the houses of lawmakers in Surkhet.

"After crowds started attacking the house of a local MP and tried to vandalise offices yesterday, we were forced to use firepower and two protesters were killed in the firing," he said.

Since 2008, lawmakers have been working on a new constitution, as the country has been governed under an interim constitution on account of the Maoist insurgency turning down the monarch after they had claimed 16,000 victims’ lives in a decade long clash between security forces and the rebels.

During this term disagreement among Nepalese political parties had hindered to reach a final agreement. In the end the main political parties agreed on a draft constitution in June, but the internal administrative division had remained undefined.

TRTWorld and agencies