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Continuation of A Fresh Report from Biratnagar: Madhesi Movement

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A Report by Ramesh Bhattarai 

 

Today also in Biratnagar, remained tense. People heard two different notices from miking in some parts of Biratnagar, one of from the CDO office about the curfew and the next about the invitation for the participation for the rally of madhesi people. Today the madhesi people had planed to violate the order of curfew, to enter the Biratnagar jail and then release Mr. Badri Mandal, one of the ministers of the time of king’s direct ruling period.  

More than 3000 people had reached to the bridge of Singhiya River at Hatkhola with swords, bamboo sticks, rods and hashiya linked in a long stick  on their hands as their weapons at 2: 30 pm. Police tried to  stop all of them  beyond the bridge, beyond the curfew area. But it becomes very futile and all of them entered the curfew area in front of the Biratnagar jail. It seemed that as if the police had applied very little force to control the movement. They damaged some public Buses parking in the side of the road, near hatkhola bus park. Then, police started firing the tear gas. After few minutes the mass was driven towards across the bridge. More than 2000 pahadhe people including women and children of Madhumara, Saraswoti Tole and Hatakhola were seen gathering in the sides of streets to view the crash between police and the madhesi people. They did not respond towards the madhesi people; neither the madhesi people attacked them. Still the madhesi people keep on attacking police with stone, catapult and bow & arrow. Now the police started firing tear gas to the madhesi people, but they returned the cells of the tear gas towards the police. This like crash continued till 7 pm. So the local administration has increased the time of curfew two hours more, till 8 pm. More than twenty people are told to have been wounded in that crash including the police and the demonstrationists. Three ambulances were seen standby near the hatkhola bus park. All of these were seen carrying the wounded people both police and the demonstrationists to the hospital. 

The madhesi workers who had been working (dish washing) in the pahade peoples houses at hatkhola, madhuramara have started to say that they could continue their works only in the morning because they have to join the rally in the noon and evening. One of the dish washing madhesi old women in my friend’s home told, she would get Rs 200 by joining the rally. Today my uncle came to my house Biratnagar form Karsiya in rickshaw. Karshiya is 15 KM east from Bitatnagar. He had to pay Rs 200 as rikshaw fare, as it was of Rs 20 in the bus. The rikashaw driver told he refused to join the rally although one of the local madhesi leaders had proposed him to give Rs 500 if he stayed in the front row and Rs 200 if he stayed in the middle or the last row of rally at the time of crash with the police. My uncle asked “why you denied that amount?” “It is risky. I could be killed or at least wounded in rally. Rather I can earn more than 500 a day with this rickshaw with out any risk” he replied.                                                                                                                                                                                                            Life style in biratnagar has been worsening. Pahade people have been entrapped in their own houses. It is heard that the madeshi leaders have assured their innocent activists to chase all the pahade people and accommodate the poor madheshi people in their big and beautiful houses.  

A Fresh Report from Biratnagar: Madhesi Movement

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A Report By: Ramesh Bhattarai 

 

The madheshi movements have been diverted towards the violence and anarchy in biratnagar since 15 th of magh as they destroyed a motorbike of an employee of biratnagar custom office and beat him inhumanly in a brute manner. From the same day people of biratnagar have been entrapped in curfew.  

The next day; ie; 16 th of magh a group of 30 madheshi people came with some domestic weapons to puspalal chowk and threatened the local inhabitants to close the windows and doors of their houses and stay inside the houses. When the pahade people denied doing so; they threatened to attack them. But before they attacked them the pahade people including the old men, women and the child beat them and make them to escape away from there.  After few hours madheshi people in around 500 of numbers came to burn the houses of pahadhe people, to loot them and to kill them. according to the one of the arm police in duty that time most of them were in intoxicated condition. As the gang across the ghinaghat bridge and almost reached the puspalal chowk, all the pahade people including women and children came out of their houses with the stones and sticks, attacked them, wounded them and make them escape away from their country ward. In this crash three madheshi and one pahade people were wounded. Later the pahade people themselves provided one critically wounded madheshi man primary health service and carry him in to the hospital. In spite of informing the police in the time, the force reached there only after so long time when the situation was in temporally peaceful condition. Biratnagar city also remained disturbed this day. More than thousand madheshi people with iron and bamboo stick in their hands were seen moving in the streets of biratnagar core city. 

The same day this like crashes had been held in different parts of biratnagar. Katahari, duhabi, banswari, mills area and bargachhi as well. One died in Rani area and many others wounded in the crashes. 

The next day ; i.e.; 17th of magh , around one thousand madheshi people came to puspalal chowk with domestic weapons like, sword , iron rod, bamboo sticks and bow and arrow as well. This time the armed police force came in the right time and dispersed the mass with high firing  and tear gas . The intoxicated madheshi men were badly irritated for not being able to take revenge over the pahadhe community .In course of escaping away towards their houses they looted the Japanese parents chicken kept for reproduction of hatchery from Mr. Kesher bd. Shrestha’s chicken farm situated at baijanathpur VDC, 2 km east from puspalal chowk. Before that they had entered to loot the chickens from the hatchery of Mr. Bishnu sigdel situated in the same place. But one of the madheshe women employee of this hatchery tactfully suggested that it was madheshe’s hatchery and they should loot the hatchery of pahadhe man; i.e.; of keshar bd. bistas hatchery, next to that one. 

This mass had been led by Mr. Mohan Sardar , the president of ‘Batar central committee’ and  ex pradhan pancha of jhorahat VCD ; Bab Bahadur Khawas , the elected president of bijnathpur VCD from UML ;Bhuwaneshowr kr mandal, the ex pradana pancha  of tankisinuwari; babu Prasad yadav,  district leader of nepali congress  , Shyam Lal Tawedar  district leader of nepali congress ;  Umesh Yadav , leader of congress who was sent to prision few years ago  accusing of murder of gore lama , an ANNFSU leader in mahendra morang campus  and who had also publically misbehaved Sher bahadur Deuba in Biratnagar is also  seen in the front line of this movement. 

In the evening of 18th magh two diverse rumors spread in puspalal chowk; the pahade habitant and in ghinaghat ; the madheshi habitant. Pahade people heard that around 2000 madheshe people had been coming to attack nepali people, burn their homes and loot them towards puspalal chowk .  But the madheshi people heard that more than 30 trucks of pahade people from biratnagar, ithari and dharan have acrossed the ghinaghat bridge and started killing madheshe people. It was around 7:30 pm. curfew was spread all over Biratnagar . Both party informed the police. The police told that they alone could do nothing; the community also had to be alert for their self protection. Both parties were amazed to hear that like non responsible answer from the police. 

In such an ambiguous situation the madheshi people escape away to rescue themselves from ghinaghat and baijanathpur towards jhorahat and the Pahade people came out of their house to face the attack of madheshi people in their roads and country wards with sticks and stones. Later when they knew that it was nothing than a rumor they came back home and slept down but the madheshei people could not sleep with terror.  

From 19th of magh some peace loving civilians suggested for ending this like dual and suggested for   harmony really in different places of biratnagar. In puspalal chowk, such rally was held the same day. It was very small in number so the local civil society declared to manage it the next day with attendance of large mass of both pahade and madheshe community. But because of lack of proper co-ordination between these two communities it has been dismissed till the day. But the rally has been successfully done in 9, 11 and 13 wards of biratnagar.  

In spite of the promise of government to change the interim constitution as per the demands of madheshi people and invitation of government to them for the negotiation they have not modified the manner of their movement. Neither the violence has been stopped. In 20th of magh the demonstrationists have destroyed an ambulance and few motorbikes in biratnagar. And today; 21st magh they have attacked the journalists and destroyed their motorbikes and accessories in Tankisinuwari.  

The movement has made the life style of whole nation very tormenting. Short and long root passengers have been disturbed very much. People have to travel 2o km distance of ithari and biratnagar paying up to Rs.200, as it was of Rs20 fare in bus. People have to pay up to Rs.6700 for chartered aero plane fare of per person to ktm as it is of 3605 in regular flight. The daily wage holding people have been suffering for their lively hood, and the students have been loosing their academic for three weeks. Who will understand the agony of all these people?