Citation
The battle for Mahendra highway

Material Information

Title:
The battle for Mahendra highway In Saptari, four Madhesi protesters are killed by the police within 24 hours
Creator:
Paswan, Bhola ( Author, Primary )
Place of Publication:
Kathmandu
Publisher:
The Record
Publication Date:
Copyright Date:
© 2015, The Record
Language:
English

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
एशिया -- नेपाल -- प्रदेश नं २ -- सप्तरी जिल्ला
Asie -- Népal -- Province no. 2 -- Saptari, District de
Blockade of 2015 ( SWAY )
Blockades -- Nepal -- 2015 ( LCSH )
नाकाबन्दी ( SWAY )
२०७२ नेपाल नाकाबन्दी ( SWAY )
नाकाबन्दी ( SWAY )
Constitution ( SWAY )
Constitutions -- Nepal ( LCSH )
Nepal. Saṃvidhāna ( LCNAF )
Saṃvidhāna (Nepal) ( LCSH )
संविधान ( SWAY )
Constitution of 2015 ( SWAY )
Nepal. Saṃvidhāna (2015) ( LCNAF )
Saṃvidhāna (Nepal : 2015) ( LCSH )
संविधान २०७२ ( SWAY )
Violence ( SWAY )
Violence ( LCSH )
हिँसा ( SWAY )
Social inclusion ( SWAY )
Social integration ( LCSH )
सामाजिक समावेशीकरण ( SWAY )
Madhesis ( SWAY )
मधेसी ( SWAY )
Dalits ( SWAY )
Dalits ( LCSH )
दलित ( SWAY )
Genre:
Newspaper report ( SWAY )
Temporal Coverage:
20151123 - 20151123
Spatial Coverage:
Asia -- Nepal -- Province No. 2 -- Saptari District
Coordinates:
26.583333 x 86.75

Notes

General Note:
Funded by GCRF (Global Challenges Research Fund) through AHRC (Arts and Humanities Research Council), Grant number AH/P003648/1, as "After the Earth's Violent Sway: the tangible and intangible legacies of a natural disaster", Dr. Michael Hutt, Principal Investigator.

Record Information

Source Institution:
SOAS University of London
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.

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The battle for Mahervdra Highway I the Record

the Record

25/11/2015 12:24

When the latest rounds of talks between the government and the Madhesi parties five days
ago failed like many others, the protesting Madhesi parties decided to capture the Mahendra
Highway (also called the East West Highway) in addition to die key border transits. Their goal
was to bring die buses and trucks escorted by the security forces to a halt. The police

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The battle for Mahervdra Highway I the Record

25/11/2015 12:24

responded with deadly violence. Between the evening of November 21 and 22, they killed four
protesters and left scores injured.

I live in Kanchanpur in Saptari district. On November 21 I left my house at six in the morning
to meet the education minister, who was speaking to journalists in Bardibas, Mahottari. All
along the way, the roads looked deserted. In Lahan, youth were burning tires on the street.

The boys from Chinnamasta. image: Bhola Pas wan

By 6p.m. I was back in Saptari district. I met these four Dalit youth, each cariying a stick, on
the road in Rupani. They belong to the Musahar community. The boy in the middle with the
backpack is Ram Bilas Sada. He lives in Chinnamasta, a border village 30 kilometers away. He
was cartying warm clothes for the night. The Madhesi parties had called on the villagers to
occupy the streets and donate twenty rupees and a kilo of rice from each household, saying
the protests would carty on for a long time. Their slogan was "rajmarg bharu"—fill the
highway.

Ram Bilas told me that about SO youth from his village had come to protest. Later that day

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The battle for Mahervdra Highway I the Record

two protesters would die, one of them a Dalit man.

25/11/2015 12:24

On the streets, Dalits feel equal. Image: Bhola Paswan

Around eight, I saw a man welcoming the protesters arriving in tractors, announcing that this
would be a decisive movement. Some others were cooking for the protesters. The cook said
they were preparing food for about 3,000 people. Unlike in the outlying villages of the
Madhes, Dalits and non-Dalits eat together in the streets. Here Dalits feel equal to all. The
large number of Dalits in these protests did not sutprise me at all.

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Protesters wanted to set fire to the ambulance for smuggling petrol. Image: Bhola Paswan

By nine, I was back in my home in Kanchanpur, Saptari. I saw protesters stop an ambulance
on its way to Janakpur. Instead of a patient, it was carrying 500 liters of petrol. The driver fled
the scene as soon as the vehicle was stopped. The protesters wanted to burn down the
ambulance for smuggling petrol, but Anuj Yadav, a coordinator of the Morcha, stopped them.
Yadav lived nearby. Several protesters became angry and threw rocks at YadaVs house. In the
end, the protesters seized the jerry cans, poured the petrol out on the street, and lit it. The
cover photo shows the resulting blaze.

Around 10 p.m., the security forces tried to clear the roads by forcing the protesters off the
road. The protesters responded to police laathis by throwing stones. Soon the police opened
fire on the protesters in several locations in Saptari.

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25/11/2015 12:24

The mother of Nageswor Yadav, holding her son. Image: Srawan Dev

The mother of Nageswor Yadav holds the body of her dead son at the Gajendra Narayan Singh
hospital in Rajbiraj, the district headquarters of Saptari, while Yadav's brother looks on.
Nageswor had come from a village 10 kilometers away to join the protest. The next day,
police entered the hospital and assaulted the workers there.

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The spot where Blrendra Ram died. Image: Bhola Paswan

Another protester, Birendra Ram, was killed in Bhardah.

A curfew was declared by the district administration at one the morning. In the morning, irate
protesters burned a police post in Rupani. At around 10 a.m., police and protesters clashed
once again. Clashes also occurred in Rajbiraj and other locations. By evening, two more had
died from police bullets.

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25/11/2015 12:24

Children with bullets they collected. Image: Bhola Paswan

I was in Bhardah in the morning, and found some kids on the street collecting bullets. The
black one is a rubber bullet, one said.

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Police bullets. Image: Bhola Paswan

Rupani in the morning. Image: Bhola Paswan

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Broken glass covers the road. Image: Bhola Paswan

About a 10 kilometer stretch of the road between Kanchanpur and Bhardah is strewn with
broken glass to prevent traffic from moving.

There were no protests in Barmajiya, but security forces caused significant damage around the
village. They vandalized at least one paan pasal, street lights, the kitchens of small vendors,
and assaulted several Madhesi civilians.

The bridge is damaged but still standing. Image: Bhola Paswan

Angry protesters broke parts of a bridge in Barmijhiya, near the camp of Dantakali Battalion of

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The battle for Mahervdra Highway I the Record

25/11/2015 12:24

the Armed Police Force. They thought I was a police spy and tried to seize my camera. Two
trucks full of Armed Police arrived at the scene. After a brief confrontation, the protesters
dispersed. Similar scenes were played out in Rupani where they burned a police post, and in
Kanchanpur, Rajbiraj, and Bhardah, with tragic consequences. The protesters are undeterred
and are assembling along Mahendra Highway in the thousands.

Cover photo: Protesters destroy smuggled petrol. Bhola Pa swan

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