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Nepal witnessed massive anti- government protests today for the second consecutive day against the Constitution amendment bill aimed at carving out a new province to meet the demands of agitating Madhesis and other ethnic groups.
An indefinite district-wide general strike has been called in Arghakhanchi district in protest against the changes to the province borders introduced in the constitution amendment bill in parliament, according to the RSS, National News Agency of Nepal.
People of these districts have termed the bill "impractical" as it has proposed to disintegrate the hilly region within the earlier proposed Province No 5 with the Tarai.
Pyuthan-Rolpa Struggle Committee coordinator Mukti Prasad Sharma said protests would continue until the government withdrew the bill.
As per the provision in the constitution amendment bill, Arghakhanchu, Palpa, Gulmi, Rolpa and Pyuthan would be split from Province 5 and placed under Province 4.
Protests have erupted in Butwal and Pyuthan where transportation was completely put on halt and all the shops while educational institutions remained shut.
Meanwhile, an indefinite strike has been called in Gulmi district for the same reason while protests in Palpa continue.
The district was shut following a joint statement issued by sister wings of various political parties, calling for protests against the changes in the boundaries of the province in the Constitution amendment proposal.
The shutdown has adversely affected the people in the districts as most educational institutions, factories, market, and transport are closed since yesterday.
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who reached his home district Rolpa for personal work, was intercepted while returning to Kathmandu by locals of Rolpa and Pyuthan who have come to the streets against the Constitution amendment proposal registered in Parliament.
Although Mahara was asked to address the demonstrations to be launched by the protesters, he declined the request and returned to Kathmandu, Himalayan Times reported.
Locals of both Rolpa and Pyuthan accused Mahara of keeping mum about the Constitution amendment proposal.
The government had on Tuesday taken the step a day after the 15-day ultimatum served by the Federal Alliance for implementing the three-point deal expired.
The amendment bill aims to accommodate the demands of the agitating Madhesi and ethnic groups that include citizenship and boundary demarcation issues among others.
Federal Alliance is a grouping of Madhesi parties and ethnic groups that have been launching agitation demanding more rights and representation for the marginalised people.
Re-demarcation of the provincial boundary and citizenship issue are the two major demands put forth by the agitating Madhesi parties.
Madhesis, mostly Indian-origin, launched a six-month-long agitation from September last year to February this year in which more than 50 people were killed. The agitation had also crippled the landlocked country's economy as supplies from India were blocked.
The government has proposed to include parts of Nawalparasi, Rupandehi, Kapilvastu, Banke, Dang and Bardiya in another Tarai province that will be known as Province five.