Nepal parties mull changes in charter to end protests

(From dpa)

Nepal’s political parties agreed to consider amending the new constitutional boundaries of states, in an effort to defuse escalating violence in the southern plains, officials said Monday, but could not make a decision as to the way forward for the amendment.

Nepalese ethnic Madhesi leader Upendra Yadav (center) and supporters observe a minute of silence honouring those killed in protests over the new constitution

Nepalese ethnic Madhesi leader Upendra Yadav (center) and supporters observe a minute of silence honouring those killed in protests over the new constitution

The proposed amendment would be aimed at appeasing the demands for more autonomy of the ethnic Madheshi community who live in the plains area.

The news comes as the country continues to be struck by protests and violence, including the death of a three-month-old child whose ambulance was purposely halted by protesters in south-eastern Nepal.

Relatives of the infant stated that the child died before arriving at the hospital.

Fresh clashes erupted between police and protesters in south-eastern Nepal on Monday, leaving at least a dozen people injured.

Police said demonstrators had also been forcing markets shut in Saptari district since early in the morning.

Uprisings by the Madeshi in the south and India’s decision to effectively close the border have crippled the country because most of import-dependant Nepal’s trade comes from its southern neighbour.

On Sunday, three protesters were reportedly killed after overnight clashes, leading to a curfew being imposed in the area. One resident died after being hit by a stray bullet.

Violence first erupted in August when protesters opposed to the new constitution rose up against police. About 50 people have died since then.

At the heart of the conflict is the constitutional reorganization of political borders that many in the south say will leave them without proper representation. The Madeshi share close ethnic, cultural and historical ties with India.

Imports from India, notably fuel, cooking gas and medicines have been blocked since September 24, with the border effectively closed due to what India has called security concerns related to the protests.



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