Indian envoy meets Nepal prime minister over Terai riots
Kathmandu | January 28, 2007 1:15:06 PM IST
As the violence in Nepal's Terai plains claimed one more life, Indian Ambassador to Nepal Shiv Shankar Mukherjee called on Nepal Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala to discuss the situation.
The Indian envoy, who a day earlier had been asked about the possible hand of India's pro-Hindu opposition party Bharatiya Janata Party in the violence engulfing southern Nepal, met Koirala Saturday at the latter's official residence in the capital to express concern.
India's alarm has been rising with looting, arson and vandalism spreading through the towns adjoining the Indian border.
Bara district, that last year hit the headlines as the place where an incarnation of the Buddha had surfaced, began simmering since Saturday, after a demonstrator was killed in police firing.
The Madhesi Janadhikar Forum, an ethnic group that says it is fighting against the discrimination shown to Madehsis - people of Indian origin living in the southern plains - have called an indefinite shutdown of the district after 25-year-old, Ashraf Ansari, was killed in police firing.
Bhola Prasad Siwakoti, chief district officer, said curfew has been imposed in Kalaiya town, where the death occurred, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
With Ansari's death, the toll climbed up to six, the other five having been killed last week in Lahan town in Siraha district, where the trouble started after the Forum called a transport strike.
From Siraha, the turbulence since then has spread to Rautahat, Dhanusha, Bara and Parsa districts.
In Birgunj city in Parsa, southern Nepal's commercial hub where the Indian government has a consulate, curfew has been imposed from 11 a.m. to 6p.m.
At the entry point to Nepal from India's Raxaul, the major route taken by trucks transporting essential goods to Nepal from India, including fuel, hundreds of vehicles have been lying stranded for a week.
Every day, about 100-150 Nepal Oil Corporation tankers bringing petro products enter Birgunj from Raxaul. Due to the unrest, they have been halted for a week now.
Though the Forum called the first closures, since then the violence has gone out of its control, becoming a free for all.
Nepal's government and the Maoists say the protests have been infiltrated by royalists who are trying to create anarchy and prevent elections since the polls could sound the death knell for Nepal's 238-year-old monarchy.
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