Maoists Call Bandh After Police Attack Landless Dalits
Posted by Ka Frank on December 6, 2009
Times of India, December 5, 2009
Maoists call Nepal bandh tomorrow after clashes leave 6 dead
KATHMANDU: Nepal’s Maoist leadership has announced a Nepal bandh Sunday after clashes between security forces and homeless Dalits in the far west killed at least six, including a woman and a policeman.
“Our party has always mooted land reforms to enable the landless possess land,” said Maoist lawmaker Netra Bikram Chand Biplab, announcing the general strike in Kathmandu at an impromptu press conference at the party headquarters after an eviction drive by security forces in remote Kailali district Friday resulted in violence, arson and death.
“We condemn the barbaric attack on the unarmed and homeless and demand action against the Home Minister (Bhim Rawal) and guilty policemen,” Biplab said.
Police said they had been ordered to remove a squatters’ colony from Dudhejhari forest in Baliya village in Kailali after nearly 15,000 Dalits encroached on the forest and began cutting down trees. They also said that the eviction had been approved by all major parties, including the Maoists. The demolition was fiercely opposed by the settlers who fought back with bricks, bamboo poles and even knives and axes. While police constable Padam Er was killed on the spot, three more policemen were injured seriously after being hit with axes.The Maoists, whose Dalit organisations had called an anti-government protest on Friday nationwide with a chakka jam, jumped on the Kailali bandwagon, expressing solidarity with the settlers. They called a bandh Saturday in Kailali and its neighbouring districts as well as an indefinite general strike in the affected district.
The state rushed additional police and armed police personnel to the area as protesters began to set fire to cars and blocked part of the East-West highway that connects Nepal with India and is the main route for the supply of essential goods, including fuel. Police said protesters have taken two security personnel under their control: a sub-inspector of the Armed Police Force Dipendra Pandey and a constable Ram Bahadur Roka.
The Maoists have called four more strikes this month. On Wednesday, their trade union has called a trade and transport strike while the parent party has declared a three-day general strike from Dec 20.