Tarai banda on; Tharu supporters, cops clash

KATHMANDU, MAY 16 – A shutdown called by the Tharuhat Struggle Committee in various Tarai districts continued for the third consecutive day on Wednesday, making life difficult for the general public.

Eastern Tarai districts like Jhapa, Morang, Sunsari, Saptari and Siraha remained shut. Marketpalces and academic institutions are closed, while transportation has come to a grinding halt, leaving many passengers stranded.

A man in need of immediate medical attention died in a bus that was stopped by Tharuhat activists in Sunsari on Wednesday. The man has been identified as 62-year-old Gambhirman Nepali of Taplejung.

Banda supporters stopped more than 50 buses headed for various eastern districts on the Jhumka stretch of the East-West Highway. They also vandalised some buses at Jhumka in Sunsari and at Dulari in Morang for defying the shutdown.

The Tharu banda was also felt in other districts like Chitwan, Rupandehi, Banke and Nawalparasi.

Supporters of the Tharuhat Struggle Committee set three vehicles on fire along the Butwal-Narayangad section of the East-West Highway. A brief skirmish broke out between banda supporters and security personnel. At least 15 people were hurt in the incident. Security personnel fired 12 rounds in the air and lobbed 30 tear gas shells to disperse the demonstrators.

The shutdown has caused a huge loss to the business and industrial sector in Chitwan. The Chitwan Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the district is suffering a daily loss of over Rs 60 million. The tourism industry in Chitwan has also been hit.

Similarly, Banke district is incurring a daily revenue loss of Rs 8 million. Owing to the banda, dozens of trucks carrying imported goods to Nepal are stranded along the Nepal-India border.source ekantipur

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