Kathmandu: Normal life in 20 districts in Terai region along the Indo-Nepal border was affected today in response to a strike call mainly by the Madhesi parties who are opposing the draft of the country's new constitution.
In Jhapa, vehicles remained off the road. The vehicles of both long and short routes to and from the district were not plying during the day.
The Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Terai-Madhes Democratic Party, Sadbhawana Party and Terai-Madhes Sadbhawana party had called for a one day general strike across 20 districts of the Terai alleging that the major parties did not listen to their demands of providing more rights and representation to the Madhesi people living in Nepal's southern plains bordering India.
The Madhes-based parties have also asked the big parties to delineate the provincial units and fix their names before promulgating the constitution.
However, the big four parties have said that they will handover the responsibility of delineating the naming of the federal units to a commission. The protesting parties had opposed the process of collecting feedback from the people during the first draft of the constitution. The draft was approved recently after months of negotiations between Nepal's main political parties.
In Biratnagar, normal life was affected due to the strike called by the Madhesi parties from early morning. Thousands of passengers stood stranded in the highways as the vehicles could not ply to their destinations. Similarly, markets, academic institutions and industries also remained closed in Siraha district.
The central Terai town, Janakpurdham, also remained closed due to the shutdown. The Madhes Rights Struggle Committee had called the two-day Janakpur shutdown, yesterday and today citing that the preliminary draft of new constitution was anti-Madhesi and discriminatory.
Meanwhile, the feedback collection task on the preliminary draft of the new constitution was cancelled in Dhanusha district due to the protests by the Madhesi parties.
However, in Kathmandu the collection of people's feedback on the new constitution continued without obstruction in the capital on the second consecutive day despite the protests by the Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) demanding reinstatement of Nepal as a Hindu state.
Nepal was declared a secular state after its centuries-old monarchy was abolished in 2008 and was declared a republic. Earlier, Nepal was the world's only Hindu nation, where 80 per cent of the population believed in Hinduism.