Date
20 January 2017
Nepalese troops stand outside parliament during a protest against administrative reform. Photo: AFP
Nepalese troops stand outside parliament during a protest against administrative reform. Photo: AFP

Nine killed in Nepal protests against charter reform

At least nine people were killed in Nepal on Monday when demonstrators armed with spears, knives, axes and scythes clashed with police.

The demonstrators were protesting proposals for administrative reform in the Himalayan country, Reuters reports. 

One policeman died when protesters surrounded him and set him ablaze, Home Minister Bam Dev Gautam told parliament.

A district official put the death toll at nine, but media reports said as many as 20 people — most of them policemen — may have died.

State television reported that the army was mobilized to quell the protests in the low-lying far west of the country close to the border with India.

Thousands of people were protesting in the town of Tikapur against a government-backed plan to include their area in a hilly province, part of a regional overhaul envisaged in a new federal constitution expected to be finalised this month.

The protesters, mainly from ethnic Tharu community, are demanding a separate province comprising eight districts in the southwestern plains for themselves.

The government and major political parties hope that the new constitution, which divides the nation into seven federal states, will boost economic development in Nepal, which is still reeling from two devastating earthquakes that killed 8,900 people this year.

But different ethnic groups have been protesting against the plan and demanding regional autonomy.

Four demonstrators have died in the past two weeks in violent protests across Nepal.

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