DAILEKH, Feb 19: Life throughout the country come to a grinding halt due to the shutdown or banda organized by the CPN-Maoist to protest the arrest of their cadres in the Dekendra Raj Thapa murder case in Dailekh as well as to protest the major political parties agreeing to a CJ-led election government.
In the course of enforcing the banda, CPN-M activists forcibly shut down shops, schools and colleges and market places including at Jajarkot district headquarters. CPN-M activists had threatened to set the shops on fire if anyone defied the banda in the district.
Out of fear of vandalism, schools and businesses remained closed throughout the day. Some business people were found to have supported the banda. According to Devendra Sharma, a businessman supporting the Rastriya Prajatantra Party, he voluntarily closed his shop to protest the four big parties insulting the people by coming to terms with a chief justice-led poll government.
Likewise, banda enforcers vandalized a tourist jeep (GA 1 YA 402) in Pokhara. CPN-M activists also thrashed driver Nabin Thapa Magar, who was driving back to the hotel after dropping tourists off at the airport. According to Deputy Superintendent of Police Shyam Krishna Adhikari, the search for the vandalisers is underway.
Thapa Magar informed that protestors pulled him out of the jeep and thrashed him mercilessly. “They hurdled stones at the jeep to force me to stop and then started raining fists on me. They did not spare me even when I said that it was a tourist vehicle,” said Thapa Magar. The masked protestors broke all the glass in the jeep with stones. Tourism entrepreneurs condemned the attack on the tourist vehicle.
“It is a grave atrocity to attack the tourist vehicle. The loss should be compensated,” said Kedar Nath Sharma, chairman of Nepal Association of Tour and Travel Agents (NATTA).
Similarly, banda enforcers vandalized five shops in Dharan. CPN-M activists with sticks vandalized property worth around Rs 70 thousand. Businessmen in the district condemned the forced strike as hooliganism.
Offices and marketplaces in Dharan closed immediately after they opened in the morning as CPN-M activists warned of dire consequences if the banda was flouted.
“We found banda enforcers carrying sticks like hooligans to force the shutdown of the marketplace. We strongly condemn the way of they created terror among people and the business community,” said Sunsari chapter chairman of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Mohan Kaji Shrestha.
In the same way, life in Dhaulagiri Zone was severely affected by the banda called by the CPN-M. Passengers could not head for their destinations as transportation remain halted throughout the day. All offices, schools and marketplaces remain closed.