OLDER ARTICLE FROM 14 FEB 2015! To read about the current situation please see this article .On the sixth day of agitation, protesters and police clashed for the second consecutive day in Kalaiya.While the agitating mob of locals, business persons and party cadres lobbed stones, police resorted to baton-charge and fired tear-gas shells. Violence flared up as the police tried to secure Pashupati Library, Drinking Water Supply Division Office and the Nepali Congress party office.
BEFORE YOU PROCEED TO READ, PLEASE BE AWARE THAT THIS ARTICLE DEALS WITH A SITUATION HAPPENING ON THE 14 FEBRUARY, 2015, NOT NOW! FOR CURRENT SITUATION PLEASE REFER TO NEWER ARTICLES.
BARA, FEB 14 – On the sixth day of agitation, protesters and police clashed for the second consecutive day in Kalaiya. The district headquarters of Bara remained tense throughout Saturday.
While the agitating mob of locals, business persons and party cadres lobbed stones, police resorted to baton-charge and fired tear-gas shells. Violence flared up as the police tried to secure Pashupati Library, Drinking Water Supply Division Office and the Nepali Congress party office.
The Bara Chamber of Commerce and Industry has been against the government’s move to shift the land revenue, land survey, and land reforms offices to Simara. With business establishments shut and vehicles remaining off the road, local residents have been hit hard. “Police had to fire more than 50 tear-gas canisters to keep the protesters off the NC office,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police Rabindra Regmi. More than two dozen people on both sides have been reported injured.
While Jitendra Sonal, joint general secretary of the Tarai-Madhes Loktantrik Party, was injured in the head, protesters beat up a plain-clothed ASI, Upendra Sah, at Bharat Chowk. Hit in the face, Sah was referred to National Medical College, Birgunj from Kalaiya Hospital.
The protesters had tried to attack a team of rights activists from Janakpur who had reached there to gather information. Police held two demonstrators. Protesters continued to clash with police and vandalise property despite requests from the chairperson of the Bara Chamber, who leads the protest. The agitation is feared to have gone out of hand since Friday.
The agitating locals have refused to sit for talks with the team of government representatives from Kathmandu. According to former lawmaker Pramod Gupta, the agitators left the District Administration Office without dialogue.
Posted on: 2015-02-15 09:09
As many of the readers know, Kalaiya is the unfortunately chosen District capital of Bara District. Unfortunate, as it is very far for most of the rest of the district, which extends much more to the North,East and West then it would be comfortable. A District Center should be more or less in the center of the district, or at least in junctions of frequented communications. This is not the case of the Madeshi town Kalaiya, which also does not remind one of a district capital, lacking in all facilities which other district captials have. Kalaiya looks like one typical Terai village with narrow dust roads on which is a permanent traffic craze of buses, trucks, tractors, rikshaws and cows, while Bara District has a few much more developed towns, like Simara and Birganj. Simara has one of the oldest airports of Nepal, still functioning, as well as tens of industries, factories and schools.
My memories of Kalaiya are as a bigger village covered in dust, where I could not sit in a decent “chia-pasal” even for a second without being harassed by men looking like cut out from a historical film about a most abandoned Nepali village…While Simara has its own style, a healthy mixture of all castes and religions, Mandirs and Gompas, Muslims and secular factory workers, and also some intelligentsia.
On this map it is easy to see that while Kalaiya lies in the middle of nowhere (connected from surrounding villages by dust roads or gravel roads), Simara, the city of the airport for the whole area, lies along the very most frequented highway connecting Kathmandu, through Hetauda, with the border town of Birganj, and thus with India. As most industrial goods in Nepal originate in India, this would be a very strategic position for a District Headquarters. The smaller circle above Simara is the similarly important junction of Pathlaiya, the twin-town of Simara, which is connecting the Kathmandu road with Nijgadh (East-West Highway), Nepal’s longest Highway ending in Kakarbhitta, the Eastern Indian border. Kalaiya is a rather sleepy town which is very difficult to access to most distant villages and towns of Bara District…
The red X shows the area of Halkhoria Jungle, so as to understand that those who had been deciding about how to deal with Ram Bomjon’s violence and witch-hunting tortures, must have been simply “geographically incompetent”, due to the distance and inaccesibility…
The never-ending story of caste problems in Nepal is as well crystallized in the case of Kalaiya as nearly single-ethnic District Headquarters of the mixed-ethnic Bara District. While the majority of Bara District has an evenly distributed representation of all basic castes, including “Paharis” who came down from the hills, Tamangs, Chhetris, Bahuns, Magars,Sonars etc.: Kalaiya is in an area mostly inhabited by Madeshis. That is not a very fortunate situation when it comes to decisions about the rest of the District, everyone in Nepal knows. The cultural and historical background, the presence of religions and even the terrain are so much distinct from the rest of Bara District, that for years people were telling me that to have a district capital in Kalaiya is nearly like not having any…Due to the dangerous area and distance from the rest of civilization in Bara, for example it was always extremely difficult for women and young girls to arrange anything alone in Kalaiya’s offices, when even bus transport is not sufficiently covered to the rest of the land.
The current violence is just a culmination of the disbalanced state that Bara District was for many years in. In connection with my main topic on this website, Kalaiya was also the place where most police reports against Ram Bahadur Bomjon had been filed and soon “miraculously” ended… If Kalaiya is also responsible for granting Bomjon the permission to return to Halkhoria in 2014 and enabling him to continie in his violent activity, with two new collective attacks on local villagers in Sep 2, 2014 and December 2014, I am not sure.
Amnesty International had reported that the Terai districts have the highest amount of impunity. Bara is especially excelling in crimes against women. There is surely a need for change, and maybe a reorganization of the headquarters of the district could bring solution to the prevailing problems with crimes, undevelopment or corruption.