Monday, April 17, 2006

DAY 17 IN NEPAL


It has just been reported from Nepal in the Himalayan Times that, "One protestor was killed and over a dozen injured when security forces opened fire at protesters at Nijghad, Bara this afternoon. The deceased has been identified as Hira Lal Gautam. Security forces fired at the protesters when more than 10,000 pro democracy protesters clashed with the them at around 3 pm. The injured have been shifted to hospital in Bara and Birgunj."

On Sunday, the alliance of seven major political parties called on citizens to halt tax and utility bill payments and avoid patronising businesses run by the royal family, ahead of a mass protest in Kathmandu set for Thursday.

The parties also asked countries to stop all aid to the kingdom and Nepalis working overseas to delay sending money home to their families - an important source of income in Nepal, where annual per capita income is US$240.


Here is what is going on from around the country.

The report below is from Kantipur Report.


Mass protests continue across the country

KATHMANDU, April 17 - As the general strike called by the seven party alliance (SPA) entered its 12th consecutive day there was no let up in people taking to the streets across the country Monday.
More than twenty thousand people took part in pro-democracy protest demonstrations in Chitwan today.

People from various parts of the district participated in the demonstration led by family members of the security forces, police and former RNA men to express solidarity with the ongoing movement. Protesters from the neighbouring Nawalparasi district also turned up in larger numbers to aid the demonstration.

Likewise, law professionals in Chitwan showed their support for the movement by taking out a lantern rally. Various singers of the National Dohori Academy also showed their active participation by singing pro-democracy songs in various parts of the district.

Another important metropolis of the country Pokhara also saw a series of protests throughout the day as professionals from nearby districts joined hands with the locals to take out a rally from Chipledhunga finally assembling at the place where fellow protester Bhimeshen Dahal was killed on April 8.

In separate demonstrations landless people, laborers and mothers' groups urged the protestors to continue with the agitation until "total democracy" is achieved.

Employees of the Pokhara sub-metropolis also expressed solidarity with the ongoing movement in the country by locking up offices to join the pro-democracy rallies while the Bar Association, Workers Union and Trade Union members also took to the streets.

According to our correspondent, women in Gulariya of the Bardiya district also conducted an anti-monarchy demonstration, which turned into a huge mass meeting at the municipality premises.

Employees of the District Education Office in Bardiya also expressed solidarity with the ongoing movement by donating more than seven thousand rupees from their salary to the PHECT while Nepal Bar Association has formed a nine members fund raising committee under Uma Nath Gyawali for the same reason.

Meanwhile, the effects of the ongoing agitation also showed up in Bardiya in the form of shortage of petroleum products. According to local petrol pump owner Ikwal Ahmed, the shortage of petrol was due to the lack of transportation.

Locals in Bardiya are also facing a scarcity of cooking gas.

Likewise, more than eight thousand women in Dhankuta headquarters staged a rally against autocracy in the country while more women in neighboring Hile Bazar and Rajarani Bazar also conducted separate rallies.

According to our correspondent, Lila Ballav Ghimire, normal life and order have taken a blow in Dhankuta where the employees in all the government offices have brought all work to a standstill and the Dhankura District Hospital is only providing OPD services.

There was no transaction by Birjung Bank Limited as all private banks stopped services. Thirteen banks and three finance companies have stopped all banking operations for an unlimited period, said our correspondent.

SPA cadres in Beltar and Katari of the Udaypur conducted protest rallies in favour of the ongoing movement. Employees of the Udaypur Triyuga municipality Federation of Consumers' Community Forest and Udaypur district Technical Office donated seven thousand, three thousand and four thousand rupees respectively to PHECT.

According to our correspondent, Bharat Jargha Magar, employees of the Siraha district court also donated about six thousand for PHECT.

Indigenous people and the SPA in Lahan of Siraha also separately took out protest rallies vowing to continue until "complete democracy" is attained.

Meanwhile employees of the Lahan hospital sported black armbands during work and those of the Technical school continued with their sit-in Monday also.

Dhading also saw a demonstration from the journalists condemning the nationwide crackdown on journalists while the SPA continued demonstrations in various parts of the district.

All government employees in Dhading interrupted office for two hours with a "pen down" protest.

Likewise, the victims of the security force's crackdown on Sunday's peaceful demonstration in Bhairahawa claimed that the security forces had opened fire indiscriminately.

"Forces fired bullets from the rooftops of the district post office and the district development office," said injured Niraj Dawase.

The home ministry had said that the gunshots were fire by the Maoists.