DHANGADHI, May 13: As the general strike in far-west region enters eighteenth consecutive day on Monday, the Tharu Joint Struggle Committee and various other organizations against the proposal for an undivided far-west have announced general strike in Tarai region for five days starting Monday.
Taking out a torch rally in Dhangadhi Sunday evening, they announced protest programs to counter the protests staged by the supporters of undivided far-west.
Local chapters of Tharu Joint Struggle Committee, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Joint Tharu Democratic Front, Rana Tharu Joint Struggle Committee and Kathariya Tharu Joint Struggle Committee, issued a joint statement announcing the protests.
The statement said they will enforce a five-day general strike starting Monday. They plan to mobilize youths from their organizations to enforce strike and convene a massive gathering at Bauniya on the fifth day.
They have also announced to hold continuous mass gatherings and demonstrations at various places until May 27 and put on banners and billboards inscribing Tharuhat/Tharuwan autonomous province at public squares.
The agitating groups denouncing suppression of demonstrations, demanded that the government ensure treatment of those injured during the protests and compensate those who suffered material losses.
Meanwhile, issuing a joint statement, local representatives of 15 political parties including NC, UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-UML have expressed solidarity with the protests announced by Tharu organizations.
Man dies due to far-west banda (DIL BAHADUR CHHATYAL/PUSHPA RAJ JOSHI)
DHANGADHI/DOTI: Keshar Singh Bam, 50, of Doti fell ill 15 days ago and was taken to Satfari Sub-Health Post a week later with stomach problems. He was referred to a bigger hospital for further treatment.
But his family could not take him to Dhangadi for treatment due to the ongoing indefinite strike demanding undivided Far West, and Bam died on Saturday waiting for the banda to end. "I was waiting for the banda to end and to take him to Dhangadi for treatment. But this strike has come as a curse for me and he has left me alone," Bam´s wife Dharu Devi said unable to hold back tears.
Assistant Health Worker (AHW) at the Satfari Sub Health Post Dharma Bam said Keshar Singh would have survived if he had been taken to a better hospital on time. "He had complex stomach problem and I had referred him to either Nepalgunj or Dhangadi," Dharma said.
Ten-month-old son of Kalpana Bista from Sripur-6, Kailali has been sick for the past eight days. The kid´s health has deteriorated and has not been able to suckle while the worried 22-year-old mother herself has been ill for the past three days. "He has high fever and been coughing regularly. We have not been able to take him to hospital due to the strike," said Kalpana who has not eaten anything for the past three days.
She said her son had recovered after taking medicines for pneumonia and typhoid prescribed by Dhangadi Hospital when he had similar problems a month ago. "We couldn´t find the medicines in the nearby pharmacy and there is no way we can take him to hospital when my husband is out of country," she rued.
Her husband works as a labor in Mumbai and she lives with her elderly mother-in-law. "We don´t even have money at home as we are unable to withdraw the money sent by husband from bank as even the ATM service has been shut down," she added. Her husband had promised to return after the banda ends but she does not know when that will be.
Many patients have been forced to stay at home while a few like Bam have died in lack of treatment due to the ongoing indefinite strike that completed 17th day Sunday. Hospitals and health centers in Doti, Achham, Bajura, Bajhang and other hilly districts are running short of medicines.