1. Main
  2. Learn
  3. Incidents
  4. Unrest

Nepal appeals for calm after deadly clashes over constitution

Nepal appeals for calm after deadly clashes over constitution Nepal appeals for calm after deadly clashes over constitution

Nepali politicians including Prime Minister Sushil Koirala appealed for calm Tuesday as hundreds protested against a new constitution for a second day after police shot dead two people during a demonstration, AFP reports.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at hundreds of protestors amassing in the country's troubled midwest, the day after two demonstrators were shot dead by security forces in a bid to fend off an attack on the home of a local lawmaker.

"Police were forced to fire tear gas and rubber bullets to stop demonstrators from entering restricted areas and vandalising buildings," said Rajesh Lal Karna, police chief of Surkhet district in midwestern Nepal.

Schools, shops and factories were also closed in the district, where demonstrators protested plans to divide the midwestern region into two provinces under a draft constitution that seeks to restructure Nepal as a federal state.

"Hundreds of security forces have been deployed in Surkhet and surrounding areas in case the situation turns hostile," said national police spokesman Kamal Singh Bam.

Koirala called for restraint, saying negotiations over the new long-awaited constitution were ongoing.

"We appeal for the public to exercise restraint and help us with suggestions, stopping all protests," Koirala said in a joint statement with other political leaders. 

"We will attempt to find solutions to the issues that have risen, keeping in mind the people's aspirations, and the country's need and interests," the statement added. 

Bam said police had opened fire on Monday after the protests in Surkhet had turned violent.

"After crowds started attacking the house of a local MP and tried to vandalise offices yesterday, we were forced to use firepower and two protesters were killed in the firing," he told AFP.

Under the proposed constitution, which has been held up for years by political wrangling, Nepal will be divided into six provinces.

An agreement on the borders of the new provinces was struck at the weekend, after April's devastating earthquake helped bring a halt to the seemingly endless bickering between rival parties.

But the proposals have caused consternation in several parts of the country, including in the southern plains and the midwest.

In the capital Kathmandu, dozens of demonstrators representing the historically marginalised Tharu community from Nepal's western plains staged a torch rally, pushing for a separate province.

Lawmaker Ganga Tharu, who participated in the rally, accused the country's top parties of exploiting the community, which has struggled to cast off the shackles of decades spent as bonded slaves and indebted serfs to high-caste landowners.

"They made us slaves and ruled over us for decades. Now they are trying to divide us with an intention to enslave us politically," said Tharu.

"We will struggle until our demands are met," she told AFP.  

Lawmakers began work on a new national constitution in 2008 following a decade-long Maoist insurgency that left an estimated 16,000 people dead and brought down the monarchy.

But parties were unable to reach agreement and the resulting uncertainty left Nepal -- one of the world's poorest countries -- in political limbo.


Nobel prizewinner proposes a new city in KZ
New abnormal snowfalls expected in Kazakhstan
Huge glacier retreat triggered in 1940s
Hyperloop construction begins in Las Vegas
"Moonlight" to top Spirit Awards nominations
Oil prices fall due to investors uncertainty
New dwarf galaxy discovered around Milky Way
Kanat Islam becomes a top ten WBO boxer
World oil prices continue to rise
Kazakhstan expects warming - Kazhydromet
Merkel to seek fourth term as chancellor
Sale of Tintin drawings set to break records
US, EU stocks fall as markets focus on dollar
Pacific leaders urged to defend free trade
EU warns eight nations on budget deficit
Universiade-2017: Athletic Village is ready
Bob Dylan can't make Nobel ceremony
Messi will never leave Barca - club president
Google, Facebook take aim at 'fake' news
Aerosmith announces Europe 'farewell' tour
Putin, Trump to normalise US-Russia ties
At least 10 hurt in southern Turkey blast
6.2 quake hits western Japan
OPEC agrees shock oil output cut
Israeli ex-president and Nobel laureate Peres dies
Germany blocks WhatsApp data transfers to Facebook
32,000 arrested in Turkey coup probe
Youth to the fore as Milan fashion week opens
Xenophobia threatening peace in eastern Germany
Four-in-10 Japanese are virgins: poll
Sweden re-militarises Baltic island of Gotland
China to launch second space laboratory: Xinhua
More than a billion stars mapped in Milky Way: ESA
Boxing: Golovkin eyes Saunders after stopping Brook
Kazakhstan shifts PM to security chief
Oil prices gain despite rising OPEC supply forecast
US to give Philippines military planes
Singapore wages war on Zika-bearing mosquitoes
Italy quake death toll nears 250
Viral photos add fuel to French burkini debate
18 dead as Italy struck by powerful quake
Japan's first lady visits Pearl Harbor
Pokemon's a no-go on Bangkok's roads
July was Earth's hottest month in modern times
Pakistan rock climbers scale new heights