Two protestors killed, 10 injured in southern Nepal protests

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Two protestors were killed in a midnight clash with police in southern Nepal, local officials confirmed Sunday.

“Clashes occurred at four different places when police tried to keep the protestors out of cordoned-off areas. They didn’t back out and attacked the police so we had to open fire,” Saptari’s district chief officer Anil Kumar Thakur told dpa.

“Two protestors were killed and 10 were injured. Twenty-two armed police force officers were also injured.”

Thakur said the injured had been sent to hospitals and an indefinite curfew had been imposed in most places in the district where the situation remained tense.

Protests have been raging in southern Nepal for the last three months over a constitutional reorganization of political borders that many say will leave them without a voice.

Fifty people have died in the clashes in the Terai region during the last three months.

Protesters from the Madheshi community – which has cultural and historical ties with northern India – say they want a separate state. Their opponents argue that a state dedicdtaed to the Madheshi would make it too powerful and undermine other ethnic groups in the plains.

Imports from India to Nepal, notably fuel, have been blocked for the last three months, with the border effectively closed due to what India has called security concerns.

The closure had caused a severe shortage of cooking gas and medicines in Nepal, which depends on India for its essential supplies.

On Friday, Nepal’s central bank said the country’s economic growth rate could turn to negative for the first time in 33 years.

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