Nepal protesters burn homes over new law book| MENAFN.COM

Tuesday, 28 June 2022 08:51 GMT

Nepal protesters burn homes over new law book

(MENAFN- The Peninsula) Protesters torched homes and clashed with police in western Nepal yesterday, a day after an 18-month-old boy and seven police died in violent demonstrations against a new constitution. Hundreds of demonstrators vandalised buildings in the town of Tikapur, 420km west of Kathmandu, defying an indefinite curfew imposed after protestors attacked police with spears, axes and knives.

"Small clashes occurred yesterday with a few groups defying the curfew," said Dhan Bahadur Kathayat, deputy superintendent of Tikapur police.

"They torched a couple of houses, but our teams have put out the fires," Kathayat said.

Police said they were taken by surprise by the scale of the violence last Monday, when demonstrators turned on security forces, killing seven and prompting the government to send troops to the area.

The 18-month-old son of paramilitary officer Netra Bahadur Saud was also killed when protesters opened fire at his home in Tikapur, but police said there were no casualties among the demonstrators.

"My son was playing in front of me, all of a sudden I heard bullet fire," Saud said. "Within seconds my son fell to the ground with head injuries... I rushed him to hospital but he was already dead.

A new constitution was meant to cement peace after a 10-year insurgency led by former Maoist rebels.

Work on the new constitution began in 2008, but plans laid out in the draft charter to divide the country into seven provinces sparked fury among historically marginalised communities, who say new borders will limit their political representation.

The latest clashes broke out when activists from the Tharu minority protested for their own separate province bordering India.

Puspa Raj KC, spokesman for the Armed Police Force, said the demonstrators outnumbered security personnel and encircled senior officers as the protest turned violent.

"During this time, it was difficult for the commanders to communicate properly with the force and no decision was made to use firearms," he said.

By the time police fired tear gas to disperse the crowd, more than 40 officers had sustained injuries according to KC, who said there were no casualties among the demonstrators.

"Security forces failed to assess the threat... no one expected an attack using such a huge number of home-made weapons," he said.

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