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Nepal to probe death of Madhesi protesters in police firing

Over 50 people have died the last five months in the agitation by Madhesi people demanding more representation.

Kathmandu: Nepal government Friday formed a panel to probe the death of three protesters in police firing in a town bordering India amid continued protests by Madhesis over the new Constitution that has already claimed more than 50 lives.

An all-party meeting decided to form the 10-member committee under the CPN-UML lawmaker Shiva Kumar Mandal to probe the violence in Rangeli Municipality of southern Morang district.

Over 50 people have died the last five months in the agitation by Madhesi people demanding more representation.

According to Chief District Officer of Morang District Toyam Raya the committee will find out the reasons behind the incident.

"The committee will make a field-based study and come up with solution to the problem," he said.

Violence erupted in Rangeli after hundreds of activists of Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) armed with batons, knives and petrol bombs tried to disrupt an event hosted by Youth Association of Nepal (YAN) to honour the Prime Minister.

Madhesi Morcha leaders dubbed the probe committee as "pretentious" one. Morcha leaders refused to recognise the committee formed under the leaders of the ruling parties excluding the Morcha.

Meanwhile, the situation remained tense in Rangeli. The markets in Morang remained shut to protest the killings. As a result, transportation on the Rangeli-Biratnagar road has come to a halt. A large number of security forces have been deployed in the area.

The irate cadres of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) vandalised under-construction Armed Police Base Camp at Rangelli Chokraha.

Sadbhawana Party Chairman Rajendra Mahato during a rally said that the government is provoking the agitating Madhesi Morcha to turn their peaceful protest into a violent one.

Mahato hinted at yesterday's Rangeli incident and said, "Why should the police open shots targeting to kill the people during Morcha's peaceful protest? The government is bent on harassing the protesters."

Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, are opposed to the new Constitution that divides the country into six federal provinces, claiming the federal structure incorporated in the new charter does not satisfy their demands.

The talks between the protesting Madhesi groups and the government have not yielded any results.

Madhesis, who share strong cultural and family bonds with Indians, demand demarcation of provinces, fixing of electoral constituencies on the basis of population and proportional representation.