Nepal

Disqualified Maoist combatants continue bandh pressure tactics; eastern districts affected

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Normal life in large parts of eastern Nepal was badly hit since early Monday morning due to a bandh (shutdown) enforced by former Maoist combatants enraged after being disqualified in the verification conducted last year and discharged from Maoist PLA cantonments without any compensation or rehabilitation package.

Most of the shops, businesses, educational institutions and factories in Ilam, Jhapa and districts east of Koshi remain closed. Similarly, transportation has come to a grinding halt in the affected districts due to fear of attacks by the bandh enforcers.

The combatants in exclusion had enforced shutdown in Chitwan, Dhadhing and Makwanpur on Sunday. Similarly, they had imposed bandh in large parts of Pyuthan, Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Dailekh and Surkhet on Friday last week.

The disqualified Maoist ex-combatants, who had also enforced shutdown in nine districts of far-western Nepal on December 29, have been agitating since the past many weeks to exert pressure on the government to remove the tag of 'disqualified' to describe them including financial package comparable to those who have chosen voluntary retirement in the recent regrouping of the combatants.

4008 disqualified combatants were discharged from the cantonment sites last year. The government had only provided bus fares to them while discharging them.

Since then, they have protesting against both the state and their former party UCPN (Maoist) party for categorizing them as 'disqualified' and 'depriving' them of any benefit or rights.