Kathmandu: Normal life was severely hit in eastern Nepal on Thursday as an ethnic group called a separate two- day general strike in nine districts of the region, demanding that the districts be merged into one federal province in the draft constitution.
The Limbuwan Joint Struggle Committee (LJSC) called the strike in Taplejung, Panchthar, Ilam, Jhapa, Sunsari, Morang, Dhankuta, Terhahthum and Sankhuwasabha districts.
The strike, which began today, has compounded the trouble in Nepal as the Joint Madhesi Front has already been staging street protests in the southern plains over a seven-provinces demarcation model proposed in the draft constitution.
The LJSC, which brings together breakaway Maoist faction CPN-Maoist, Social Democratic Party and Federal Lumbuwan Party and other smaller ethnic groups, demands that the new charter makes provision to merge the nine eastern districts into one Limbuwan Province.
As a result of the strike, transportation services have come to a halt while trade and commerce remained suspended in the region. Schools and colleges were also shutdown.
In view of the shutdown, local authorities have tightened security arrangements in the districts.
Meanwhile, tension continued in southern Terai districts of Jaleshwor, Mahottari, Saptari and Rautahat districts, where Madhesi protesters have been agitating for nearly a month over the seven-provinces demarcation model proposed in the charter.
Local authorities have issued curfew orders and deployed army in some of the districts to maintain calm in the region.
The Madhesi front's indefinte strike has hit life hard, and also led to violence in some parts.
Thirty three people, including eight security personnel, have been killed over the past nearly one month in violent clashes in southern and western Nepal.
A shortage of necessary goods, medicines and LPG cylinders have worsened the already difficult situation for the public.