Kathmandu: At least two persons were killed and several others injured in police firing in southern Nepal when security personnel tried to forcibly remove Madhesi protesters blocking a key highway, police said on Sunday.
Police resorted to firing late last night after they were attacked with petrol bombs and bricks when they tried to evict cadres of United Democratic Madhesi Front from blocking the East-West Highway of Saptari district, they said.
Following the violent clashes, the authorities imposed an indefinite curfew in the area to safeguard vehicular movement along the East-West highway.
As many as 17 protesters and 25 police personnel were also injured in the clashes. Five protesters and two policemen are reported to be in serious condition.
The nearly 2500-strong protesters started pelting stones at the security personnel which led to the clashes, Saptari District Police Office Chief Bhim Dhakal said.
"We had to use force to disperse the mob of protesters after they inadvertently started attacking the security personnel with homemade weapons," Dhakal was quoted as saying by the Kathmandu Post.
Madhesis, Indian-origin inhabitants of Nepal's Terai region, are protesting against division of their ancestral homeland into seven provinces in the new Constitution.
More than 40 people have died in the violent agitation that has also overwhelmed Indo-Nepal ties as transit of goods and fuel to the Himalayan nation has been badly affected.
The agitation by Madhesi groups has paralysed normal life across Nepal while the dearth of medicines has put lives of patients at stake.