KATHMANDU, May 10: Ten vehicles were vandalized and 83 persons were arrested on Thursday as the nationwide banda called by six caste groups against ethnicity-based federalism and strikes called by various organizations in different parts crippled normal life across the country.
The banda enforcers vandalized two taxis and obstructed movement of vehicles used as ambulance, carrying media persons and tourists in Balaju Chowk.
The nationwide banda was called also demanding that Brahmin, Chhetri, Dashnami, Thakuri, Dalit and backward classes be enlisted as indigenous groups.
Police Headquarters said 60 people were arrested from Kathmandu, 11 from Lalitpur, seven from Kaski, two each from Hetauda and Sunsari, and one from Morang for stopping and vandalizing vehicles used for delivery of essential services, pelting stones at security persons and other violence.
Banda enforcers gathered at the major chowks of Kathmandu and obstructed vehicular movement. Police had to intervene in disputes between banda enforcers and those trying to open shops in defiance at some places in the capital.
Public transportation was brought to a standstill while a few private vehicles and those delivering essential services could be seen in the streets. All the educational institutions were closed except for those conducting examinations. Shops in the main roads remained shut but those on the outskirts were open.
CA members, journos thrashed
Maoist Constituent Assembly (CA) members Sudhan Rai and Laxmi Gurung were thrashed by banda enforcers in Koteshwar while going to take part in the CA meeting scheduled for Thursday afternoon.
The banda enforcers also thrashed Rajdhani correspondent Tapendra Karki in Gongabu for riding a motorcycle in defiance of the banda. Karki said he was beaten up despite showing his identity card and lights of his motorcycle were also smashed.
Likewise, banda enforcers also snatched the identity card of Nagarik correspondent KP Dhungana in Chabahil asking him to report on the banda by staying with them.
Clash in Inaruwa leaves two injured (AMAR KHADKA)
Two persons were injured in a scuffle in Inaruwa of Sunsari districts after banda enforcers tried to shut down vegetable stalls.
Shiva Charan Yadav, a caretaker of Shiva temple, and Gayatri Poddar, 50, of Inaruwa-6 were injured in the scuffle between Muslim activists and vegetable farmers. Sunsari Police has arrested Ranchul Mansuri of Jalpapur and Jamil Alam of Bhutaha in connection to the attack.
Normal life in the eastern region has been hit hard by the strikes called by different groups on Thursday. While Brahmin Society and other caste groups have called country-wide strike, Muslim Society announced a general shutdown in Tarai districts.
Meanwhile, the banda enforcers also vandalized a vehicle (Ko 1 Cha 5928) of Republica that was returning after distributing newspapers to area west of Koshi River in Inaruwa.
Industrialists and businessmen at Itahari bazaar have vowed to defy banda after an all party meeting endorsed the decision on Wednesday.
Vehicles stayed off the road in the hill and Tarai districts on Thursday while educational institutions, factories and shops also remained shut.
Strike throws normal life into disarray
POKHARA: In the first day of the general strike called by various ethnic organizations, normal life in Pokhara has been severely affected. Three policemen and two protesters were injured in the scuffle between enforcers of strike and those opposing it.
The police said that the scuffle broke out at 10 in the morning at Chorepatan after strike enforcers tried to close down shops forcibly.
Narendra Karki, 47, of Chorpatan and Rajendra Pathak, 36, of Birauta were injured in the incident. Pathak returned home after treatment, but Karki has been hospitalized at Manipal Teaching Hospital owing to deep head injury. The Police have detained eight people in suspicion of their involvement in the scuffle.
Likewise, situation at Prithivi Chowk grew tense in the afternoon after protesters pelted stones at the police. The police fired 11 teargas shells to take the situation under control.
Three police personnel got injured while trying to take the situation under control. The condition of all injured policemen is said to be normal.
Padam Karki, coordinator of Strike Organizing Committee, accused that they were attacked in a preplanned way. “Some youths attacked us while we were requesting shopkeepers to shut down their shops. The attack was pre-planned,” he said.
Due to the strike, markets, transport, educational institutions remained closed the whole day. Even the Lakeside, the tourist hub of Pokhara, wore a deserted look.
Meanwhile, tourists have been forced to extend their stay in Pokhara due to the banda. Some tourists, however, walked all the way to airport to catch their flight. The strike has also affected the students appearing in this year´s class 12 examinations.