THRDA monitoring found that Federal Alliance’s ‘Picket Singha Durbar’ protest  remained peaceful on the second consecutive day on May 16, 2016, despite a scuffle between protesters and security personnel.

Three demonstrators injured during a scuffle

At around 10:15 am, a clash between demonstrators and police had erupted at Maitighar Mandala when the latter tried to seize flags and banner during demonstrations, according to agitating Federal Alliance leaders. Three demonstrators — Santosh Tumbuhamfe, Sona Hang Rai and Aman Dhimal — got severely injured during the scuffle. They were taken to Trauma Center of Kathmandu for treatment.

Some youths infiltrate demonstration

Two youths — Ram Prasad Paudel, 23, of Pali-8 in Arghakhanchi and  Prakash Adhikari, a B. Sc. student at Tri-Chandra College — suspected to have infiltrated the demonstration of May 16. Demonstrators thrashed Paudel, who sustained serious injuries to his eyes, and was admitted to Tripureshwor-based Nepal Eye Hospital. Likewise, protesters caught Adhikari and handed over to police.

Heavy deployment of security personnel; security personnel outnumbers demonstrators

Security personnel deployed to control the mob of protesters outnumbered demonstrators of Federal Alliance gathered on the second day’s ‘Picket Singha Durbar’ protest program. This, however, created a sense of fear among the demonstrators.

Likewise, Federal Alliance, issuing a press release, accused the government of barring the protesters from entering capital. Some of the protesters having face of Madhesi and Limbu were reported to be unduly profiled by security personnel at Nagdhunga entry point.

British national arrested citing participation in protest

On May 16, Nepal Police arrested Martin Travers, 44, a British national citing his participation in the protest organized by Federal Alliance. Police took him into custody while he was taking photographs in Singha Durbar areas.

The British national, who is a mural painter and also paints people’s face, was arrested a day after some of medias reported the first day’s demonstration with his photographs with band of red clothes on his forehead.

According to the friends of the British artist, he was not participating in the protest.  Somebody approached him and put the band on his face as his interest grew in taking photographs.

Govt. to investigate use of foreign funds for organizing protest

Media reports say that the government suspect that foreign aid agencies for sponsoring the protest. (See the end part of news report of RSS). Hence, the government is also investigating into this matter.

Federal Alliance decides to picket PM residence in Baluwatar on May 17, and assembly on May 18

In a meeting held in evening of May 17, Federal Alliance, an alliance of 29 political parties consisting of Madhesi, Tharu, and Janjatis, decided protest programs for two more days: Picket Prime Minister’s official residence in Baluwatar from 10 am on May 17, and organize a protest assembly at Shanti Batika in Ratnapark at 1 pm on May 18.

Analysis and Conclusion

The Kathmandu-centric protest by Federal Alliance for the second consecutive day on May 16 also obstructed transportation in the Capital. The obstruction of vehicles has inflicted suffering on people. This will continue on May 17 as well with the Alliance’s shifting protest in Baluwatar area.

In response to the situation, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, while addressing a program in Kathmandu on May 16, said that the government would not tolerate the obstruction of transportation due to the protest. Likewise, more security personnel have been deployed in the PM’s official residence area and the  area has been declared as ‘restricted area’ with the announcement of Baluwatar-centric protest for May 17.

Against the backdrop, security personnel are likely to use of force to crackdown the protest on May 17, 2016. Hence, human rights organizations, including National Human Rights Commission, need to continue their monitor the protests so that the law enforcement agencies could also respect and ensure the constitutional right to peaceful protest, and remain restraint to use force, and the agitating force could also continue protest in a peaceful manner.