Fuel Smuggling Discouraged in Janakpur

Two days after Nepal Police opened fire on local protesters in Janakpur, the United Democratic Madhesi Front has called for a forceful strike again.

A strike has been imposed in most of the Tarai, including Janakpur since almost four months. There is a strict ban on smuggling of petroluem fuel. Similarly, four wheelers are not allowed to ply on the streets. This strike had been relaxed in Janakpur since the last two days to observe the holy occasion of Bibaha Panchami and allow pilgrims from different parts of Nepal and India to pay homage to famous Janaki Temple.

After the president, a member of UML party that is hostile to Madhesis, visited Janakpur, the protesters pelted stones and hurled a petrol bomb towards her. In return, Nepalese security personnel opened fire and injured almost a hundred people. Since then, the situation in Janakpur has became tense.

To enforce the strict ban on smuggling of petroluem fuel, the local cadres of Terai Madhes Democratic Party (TMLP) have set up ad hoc checkpoints in different parts of the city.

Ramesh Kumar Chaudhary, a member of TMLP told Madhesi Youth, “We stop motorcyclists if they have plastic gallons with fuel to ensure no one is smuggling more than 10 litres of petrol.”

Chaudhary further said, “If a cyclist or motorcyclist is found to transport more than 10 litres of fuel, it is set on fire.” He pointed out in a direction where a fire was burning.

The locals accompanied political cadres in this endeavor. They complained that the fuel is smuggled from Janakpur to Bardibas and then eventually to Kathmandu. This is the main reason for the checkpoints.

Although there is a ban on four wheelers, a local bus was allowed to pass after minor interrogation.

Manoj Mandal, a member of Nepal Communist Party – Marxist Leninist told Madhesi Youth, “Although Sharad Singh Bhandari, a local politician is from Bardibas, Madhesis have been unable to stop smuggling of fuel to Kathmandu via Bardibas. So, we are stopping the smuggling of fuel from Janakpur to Bardibas.”

Some locals confiscated a blue drum filled with petrol and set it on fire on the streets.