Jhapa (Nepal), Feb 18: Life came to a standstill in Jhapa District in eastern Nepal as the region observed a shutdown called by an ethnic group.
The shutdown was called by the Limbuwan State Council, which is demanding autonomy for their region. The indefinite closure of shops and other commercial establishments left residents high and dry. Transit points to India were closed, leaving hundreds of trucks and buses stranded at the border between the two countries. The council threatened to step up the agitation and even resort to violence if their demands were not met.
"We want our demands to be fulfilled by the constitutional committee and if they don't comply with our demands, then we will not allow electionso be held in the country and will be forced to pick up weapons to make ourselves heard," said Khetri Bhaduse, a leader of the council.
Stranded passengers raised a hue and cry over the inconvenience caused to them by the lack of public transport.
Bhabesh Barua said that he had travelled from Assam and was heading for Nepal capital Kathmandu. He feared that he would run out of money because of the shutdown.
The strike has crippled normal life across nine eastern districts in Nepal.