Kathmandu: Nepal police shot and killed two protesters in separate incidents in the Himalayan nation’s restive southern plains as they tried to break up demonstrations against a new constitution, police said on Sunday.
People from ethnic Madhesi groups living along the border with India, began protests saying Nepal’s first republican charter did not accommodate their interests.
Late on Saturday, police fired at two places in Saptari district, 150 km (90 miles) southeast of Kathmandu, where protesters were defying prohibitory orders and blocking a highway, police official Bhim Dhakal said from district capital Rajbiraj.
“One protester was killed at Bhardaha and another at Rupani,” Dhakal said. “We were forced to fire in self-defence after protesters began hurling petrol bombs, empty bottles, stones and sticks at police,” he said. More than 40 people, including 25 police, were injured.
Laxman Lal Karna, a senior leader of the Sadbhavana Party organising the protests, said protesters were shot while sitting peacefully on the road to block vehicular traffic and enforce a strike.
The incident in Saptari came as U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged all sides to resolve their differences in a peaceful and flexible manner.
Protesters say the entire southern plain region, Nepal’s bread basket, must not be split into more than two federal provinces. They now form part of six of the seven provinces dominated by hill dwellers.