Curfew in different cities of southern Nepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 18, 2008 (Xinhua via COMTEX) -- District Administration Offices in different cities of southern Nepal issued curfew orders due to worsening situation as the general strike continued for the sixth day on Monday.

Amidst tense situation, local administration has imposed 13- hour curfew in Bara and Parsa districts, situated some 80 km and 90 km respectively from capital Kathmandu, Monday afternoon to contain possible clashes, reported the local media house's website eKantipur.

The indefinite curfew clamped in Banke district headquarters Nepalgunj, situated some 320 km southwest of Kathmandu, by the district administration since Sunday afternoon is still continuing.

In Siraha district, situated some 150 km south of Kathmandu, educational institutions, industries, bazaars, all remained closed. Protestors torched a passenger bus along the east-west highway for defying strike early Monday morning, reported the leading media house's website THT online.

Life across the Terai districts remains tense for the last six days due to the indefinite strike called by the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) and the Federal Republican National Front. The strike across the southern plains has hit the capital hard with the shutdown of the only route to bring in petrol, diesel, cooking gas and kerosene to the country from the sole supplier India.

Earlier on Feb. 9, three major agitating Madhesi groups- Mahanta Thakur's Terai-Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP), Rajendra Mahato's Sadbhawana Party and Upendra Yadav's Madhesi People's Rights Forum (MPRF) formed a new alliance- United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF)-- and announced to take to the streets to press for its 6-point demand.

Frequent strikes in the restive Terai have thrown the twice- deferred Constituent Assembly (CA) elections into uncertainty.

Madhesi people are the Nepalese mainly living in south Nepal's Terai plains, who are socio-culturally close to the bordering Indians. Madhesi movement is protesting for political interest satisfied before the CA elections slated on April 10.