12/07/2009, 00.00
NEPAL
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Kathmandu, Maoists and the landless against the police. Six dead

by Kalpit Parajuli
Landless and Maoists protest the eviction of illegal homes from Dudhejhadi forest engage in gun battles with police. The dead include two policemen. To seek justice Maoists block the entire country.

Kathmandu (AsiaNews) –The death toll is of  six dead and hundreds injured in the armed clashes between police and over 10 thousand landless on December 4 in Kailali district (western Nepal). Supported by the Maoists of the All Nepal Landless Association - Revolutionary, the landless began their protest  3 December against the government decision to evacuate the illegal settlements of Dudhejhadi forest (Kailali), without providing an appropriate transfer plan. Two days after giving notice for the abandonment of the area, the police opened fire on the crowd killing four protesters and sparking rebellion. During the clashes two policemen were killed, others were taken hostage by the protesters. Their fate is still unknown.  

"When the police began firing on the crowd we responded by throwing stones and sticks - says Ram Janan Chaudari, one of the protesters. "We are Nepalese citizens – he continues - the state should give us a home instead of shooting at us”. Harikrishna Pudel, an official in the district of Kailali, confirms that the situation is now under control: "The police dispersed the demonstrators who were still guarding the settlements." He adds that the police have made numerous arrests and other agents are now the patrolling the area.

For the Minister for the Interior, Bhim Rawal, "it is government's responsibility” to stop the illegal settlements inside the forest Dudhejhadi. "We – he continues - notified residents in time, who instead revolted against the police in response”. He maintains that members of the Maoist party incited the protesters against the government, causing the revolt.

Meanwhile, to seek justice, the Maoists yesterday started hundreds of demonstrations around the country. Transport, government offices and schools have been brought to a standstill.

"The government should not use certain methods to control the situation in the country - said the Maoist leader Prachanda - that oppression by the state could trigger renewed bloodshed undermining the peace treaties and respect for the constitution."

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