Kathmandu, Aug 25: One person was killed today as thousands of Nepalese protesting against the proposed new Constitution clashed with police, taking the death toll in the violence to at least nine and prompting the government to deploy army in a district bordering India.
A curfew was imposed in Tikapur in Kailali district, where an infant and seven security personnel, including a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), were killed yesterday by agitators protesting against dividing the country in seven provinces.
Yesterday the police had said eight security personnel were killed in the violence but later revised the toll to 7. Police opened fire at protesters in Gaur in southern Nepal today after they hurled stones defying ban on demonstrations, killing a person.
The local administration decided to deploy army in parts of Kailali district, worst hit by violence, after a meeting of District Security Committee declared the area as riot zone, according to Home Ministry sources. Besides Tikapur Municipality and Trishakti Municipality, eight villages of the district including Pathariya, Durgauli, Dansinhapur, Manowa, Narayanipur, Joshipur, Khailad, Bahauniya have been declared as riot zones.
Earlier in the morning, the protesters set ablaze some houses in the area. In Kathmandu, hundreds of students staged peace rally today to protest against the killing of policemen in a heinous manner in Kailali. Two of the policemen were burnt to death by the mob in the incident, which sparked widespread criticism in Nepal.
Concerned over the violence in neighbouring Nepal, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked the political leadership in the country to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue among all stakeholders through widest possible consultations.
Modi, who called up Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, also expressed sorrow at the loss of lives in the violence and extended his condolences to the families of the deceased.
A new national Constitution presented in the Constituent Assembly, the national parliament, aims to restructure Nepal as a federal state made up of seven provinces. Demonstrators have been protesting against the draft charter, saying the proposed provinces fail to ensure political representation for marginalised communities.
The protesters from the Tharu ethnic group are demanding a separate state in the new Constitution. Since the last two weeks, Tharuhat United Struggle Committee has been staging agitation in the western Terai region demanding autonomous Tharuhat province including Kanchanpur and Kailai districts in the new federal structure.
The agitating group has rejected the seven province model of federal system announced by the major political parties in June after April's devastating earthquake.
The main political parties agree that there should be seven federal states, but smaller political parties and ethnic groups oppose either the number or the structure of the states.