KATHMANDU, March 6: The main opposition party CPN-UML has decided to put off its ongoing Mechi-Mahakali campaign for three days in the aftermath of Saptari incident in which at least three protesters were killed and several others injured in police action.
An emergency Standing Committee meeting of the UML held on Monday evening decided to put off the campaign, based on information that there were conspiracies being hatched to thwart the UML's rallies.
Issuing a press statement on Monday evening, chief of UML's Publicity Department Yogesh Bhattarai said the incident in Rajbiraj has made the party sad. The UML has alleged that the cadres of United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) had demonstrated anarchic and violent activities such as making physical assault against ordinary public, planting explosives in their program venue, and hurling stones and petrol bombs against security personnel on duty.
"Our party had already concluded that conspiracies are being made to push the country toward a fresh confrontation to foil election and eventually fail the constitution. The incident today orchestrated in the guise of Madhesi Front has justified these kinds of plots and destructive activities," said the statement.
Deputy chief of UML's Publicity Department Surya Thapa said the decision was also taken as per the request of the government to help normalize the situation in the aftermath of the killings of agitating UDMF cadres in Saptari on Monday. At least three protesters were killed in police firing and over two dozen others were injured as protesters tried to attack UML's rally in Gajendra Narayan Singh Industrial Area.
Sources said Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had talked to UML Chairman K P Sharma Oli over phone after the Saptari incident. Prime Minister Dahal had asked the UML to put off the campaign considering the grave situation that may arise in the aftermath of the killing of the UDMF cadres and the possible moves of the UDMF against UML's planned rallies in various places in the Province 2.
"Acknowledging the sensitivity of the situation and request from various sides including the government, the party has decided to put off the campaign for three days," the statement added.
The UML said its rallies as a part of the Mechi-Mahakali National Campaign would resume as originally planned from March 10. The UML had launched a 15-day Mechi-Mahakali Campaign from Jhapa on Saturday with the objectives of exerting pressure on the government to hold local-level poll and strengthen what it called national unity.