Three dead, 10 injured in Nepal clash

Indo Asian News Service

Kathmandu, March 6 (IANS) At least three persons were killed and 10 others injured in a clash between agitating Madhesi Morcha protestors and security personnel in southern Saptari district, officials said on Monday.

According to Nepal's Home Ministry spokesperson Bal Krishna Panthi, three persons died in the clash and 10 were injured, among them a critically injured member of the Madhesi Morcha. They were undergoing treatment at a local hospital.

Among those killed, Ranjan Mehata has been identified by Madhesi Morcha as their member. He was shot in the head and died on the spot.

The police are yet to identify the other two.

The Home Ministry claimed that at least two dozen police personnel were injured in the violent clash.

Security personnel resorted to firing after Madhesi Morcha activists attempted to foil a mass gathering organised by the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxists-Leninists) [CPN-UML] at Gajendra Narayan Singh Industrial Corridor in Rajbiraj municipality under the Mechi-Mahakali campaign.

Security was beefed up in and around the area by the ministry after the Madhesi Morcha announced it would obstruct the campaign organised by the CPN-UML. Several parts of the districts were tense since then.

The CPN-UML has started a 15-day east-west campaign from Saturday across the Terai/Madhes areas of Nepal. The agitating Madhesi Morcha has opposed this.

Madhesi Morcha, an alliance of Madhes-based parties of Nepal, has acrimonious ties with CPN-UML after top CPN-UML leaders repeatedly called them "anti-national" and "political force run by foreign powers".

After CPN-UML decided to launch the campaign, the Morcha has been telling it to stop it or face disruption. The Morcha cadres clashed with the police while CPN-UML Chairman K.P. Sharma Oli was addressing the mass meeting.

Earlier, six Morcha cadres were injured in a clash that occurred before Oli reached the venue. Two persons were reported to be in critical condition.

The Morcha leaders and cadres burnt tyres and staged demonstrations with black flags and sticks since early morning on Monday, aimed at foiling the CPN-UML mass meeting.