DHANGADHI, May 11: At least 32 people were injured, three of them seriously, when cadres of Tharuhat State Struggle Committee (TSSC) and supporters of an undivided Far West clashed in two separate places of Kailali district.
The clashes were the most serious violence since supporters of undivided Far West imposed their crippling strike across the region for the past 15 days.
The TSSC has been demanding a Tharuhat state that includes Kailali and Kanchanpur district which are within the Far west region.
In Dhangadhi, hundreds of the TSSC cadres, coming from different villages of Kanchanpur district to participate in a mass gathering, clashed with supporters of the Far West state at Milanchowk.
Altogether 26 protestors from the both sides were injured. Three of them -- Rajkumar Rana, Lalmani Rana and Janak Awasthi were in critical condition and undergoing treatment at the zonal hospital. Sporadic clashes continued for almost four hours and Milanchowk was tense till Friday evening.
The police fired four rounds of tear-gas shells to disperse agitating crowds in Dhangadhi. "Had we failed to mobilize heavy security forces, the outcomes of the clashes would have been worse," said Kailash Kumar Bajimaya, Chief District Officer of Kailali . "We prevented the situation from spiraling out of control."
A mass gathering of the TSSC against the autonomous Far West state was scheduled to take place in Chauraha chowk of Dhangadhi on Friday. However, following the clashes, the venue was moved to Park Mod -- one kilometer east of Chauraha chowok and organizers were forced to hold smaller gathering.
In Dododhara, six people were injured in clashes between the two sides. The injured were admitted to Godhagodhi hospital and Lalratna hospital for treatment.
Meanwhile, Laxman Tharu, a leader of the TSSC, was also hurt when the police tried to disperse a crowd gathered around the zonal hospital following two clashes.
According to Mahendranagar-based Republica correspondent Bikram Giri, passengers stranded due to the ongoing Far West strike on Friday encircled District Administration Office of Kanchanpur demanding safe passage to their destinations. They have demanded the local government to either provide police escort to travel on to their home-towns or arrange lodging and fooding as long as the strike continues.