A Nepal bandh (shutdown strike) called by various communal organisations representing Brahmins, Chettris, Thakuris, and Dalits on Thursday partially affected normal life in different parts of the country including capital Kathmandu.
The bandh has been enforced by the Joint Struggle Committee comprising Chettri Samaj Nepal, Brahman Samaj Nepal, Thakuri Samaj Nepal, Nepal Dashnami Samaj and Dalit Samaj Sewa, among others, protesting against moves to federate the country along ethnic lines and demanding that Brahmin and Khas communites of the country be granted "janjati status" (indigenous status) so that they can enjoy reservations enjoyed by indigenous nationalities.
In capital Kathmandu, the bandh appears to have minimal effect as shops and businesses in markets are doing brisk business while industries, government and private offices also remain open. Although in the morning both public and private vehicles were plying on the road without any kind of obstructions (thus making it easier for office goers to commute to work), the streets appear to be almost deserted with the movement of very few private vehicles (mostly motorcycles).
The board examinations of class 12 was also affected due to the bandh as students had tough time reaching their exam centers today due to less number of public vehicles operating today.
Reports coming in say that the Bandh organisers organised protest demonstrations in few parts of the country and blocked vehicular movement.
But other than that, the bandh has largely been peaceful.
The bandh called by the Samaj seems to have very little effect in other parts of the country as various political, ethnic and professional groups have already been continuing with their strike in mid-western, far-western and eastern terai region by making various demands.
Bahuns and Chettris have intensified their protests across the country against plans to federate the country along ethnic lines and demanding that the government also award them indigenous status.
The two communities have been arguing that ethnicity-based federalism will disintegrate the country and damage communal harmony. nepalnews.com