Two dead in violence in southern Nepal

February 25th, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by admin  

Kathmandu, Feb 25 (DPA) At least two people, including a police officer, were killed and dozens injured during violence in southern Nepal Monday as groups opposed to election tried to prevent politicians from filing nomination papers, reports said. A police officer died after being struck by baton-wielding protestors in Itahari, about 400 km southeast of Kathmandu, independent Radio Kantipur reported.

He was attacked as police tried to contain mobs of ethnic United Democratic Madhesi Front supporters from attacking government offices in the town.

A protestor was killed in the neighbouring town of Rajbiraj where police arrested over 100 people. The town has been the centre of the disturbances in the past days.

The local administration imposed an indefinite curfew on the town following the violence, which had come on the last day for filing nomination papers for the election due April 10.

The ethnic UDMF, which has expressed opposition to the elections, barricaded several election offices across the southern Nepalese plains known as Terai, to prevent candidates from registering.

The UDMF cadres also attacked telecommunication towers and electricity supply lines to prevent candidates from sending their nomination papers per fax.

There were also reports of clashes between the police and protestors in parts of southern Nepal.

In Nawalparasi district, over 50 people, including police officers were injured in clashes prompting the authorities to impose a curfew.

Similar protests were also reported in Bara, about 90 km south of Kathmandul.

UDMF has been spearheading a campaign to establish Terai as an autonomous state and has imposed an indefinite strike across the region now in its 13th day.

The government has rejected the demand saying only an elected constituent assembly can decide on the issue.

Earlier Monday, talks between the government and the UDMF were stalled over the group’s latest demand to postpone the election.

The strike has badly affected the people across the region with many towns and cities remaining shut for the 13th day with several reporting shortage of essential items, including food, medicine and fuel.

The strike has also paralysed transport as there is a shortage of fuel across the Himalayan nation. Most of Nepal’s imports including petroleum products have to pass through the southern border with India.

The latest deaths bring the toll during violence over the past two weeks to four.

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