DHANGADHI, April 28: Locals of the far western region have stepped up protest against the Maoist state restructuring proposal that seeks to fragmentize the region.
The general strike enforced for the second day on Saturday left all academic institutions, businesses and industries closed while vehicles stayed off the roads.
The protest threw normal life out of gear in various places, including Dhangadhi, Attariya and Tikapur. The strike enforcers even forced closure of medical stores.
Agitators affiliated to Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, UCPN (Maoist) burnt tyres and obstructed vehicular movement in all the major cities in the region. The protestors chanted strong slogans like “long live integrated far west” and down with secessionists. They also demanded immediate resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai.
Earlier, protestors had formed a 51-member Far Western Unity Society under the chair of Nrip Bahadur Khadka in Tikapur, Kailali to step up protests.
Coordinator Khadka said they have decided to enforce indefinite transport strike in the region to push demand for an integrated far-western region.
Issuing a press statement, a separate organization called Samyukta Loktantrik Paribesh has announced an indefinite strike in the region demanding an integrated far western region.
Likewise, Far Western Awareness Forum has called for strikes on April 28 and 29 against the Maoist proposal. Another organization called Manaskhanda Kranti Dal has also expressed solidarity with the protests.
While Nepali Congress (NC) senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba, UML leader Bhim Rawal and UCPN (Maoist) leader Lekha Raj Bhatta are in favor of integrated far west, Tharu leaders and some NC leaders have argued that Kailali and Kanchanpur should be a part of the Tharuhat state.
Meanwhile, various ethnic Tharu organizations including Tharu Kalyankari Sabha have protested the indefinite strike. They have also warned of stringent protests if Kailali and Kanchanpur are not included in the proposed Tharuhat state.