A spate of protests in different parts of Nepal — mainly to press for according Hindu status to the country — turned violent in the Surkhet area, around 500 km from the capital, resulting in the deaths of at least two people in police firing. Around eight people have been injured, five of whom are in serious condition, officials said.
The government has ordered the immediate deployment of army personnel and imposed curfew in the area, but reports said locals numbering in the hundreds gathered in Birendra Nagar to defy the curfew. Police opened fire on a few demonstrators after they vandalised the house of former home minister Purna Bahadur Khadka.
The protesters are also opposing the composition of federal units as proposed in the new draft constitution. They said the inclusion of Mid-west Nepal in the remotest province was wrong, and that it must be declared a separate Mid-west province instead.
In Parsa, around 200 km from Kathmandu, locals observed a bandh demanding that Nepal’s Hindu status be restored and the cow be declared the ‘National animal’ with a provision that its slaughter may carry strict punishment. Lakshman Lal Karna, a prominent leader of the Forum Loktantrik, had said in a seminar on Sunday that cow slaughter should be allowed “since there are beef eaters in this country”.
As the protests intensified, Maoists Party Chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal said that the issue of demarcation of boundaries of the proposed six provinces was not final. He did not comment on the demand for a Hindu nation.