In fresh violence in Nepal, three persons, including a woman, were killed today when police opened fire to quell clashes between agitating Madhesis and ruling CPN-UML youth wing cadres in a town bordering India, forcing Prime Minister K P Oli to cancel his visit there.
Violence erupted in Rangeli Municipality of southern Morang district after hundreds of activists of Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) armed with batons, knives and petrol bombs tried to disrupt an event hosted by Youth Association of Nepal (YAN) to honour the Prime Minister.
Police tried to stop the clashes with batons, tear gas and blank shots, but as the protest became violent they were forced to fire at the crowd, Home Ministry spokesman Yadav Koirala said.
Morang Chief District Officer Swayam Raya said three persons were killed during the clashes and eight others were also injured.
The deceased have been identified as Draupadi Devi Chaudhary, 60, Shivu Majhi and Mahadev Hrishi.
DIG Madhav Joshi said the injured have been rushed to a local hospital.
Prime Minister Oli cancelled his visit after the tension in the area.
CPN-UML general secretary Ishwor Pokharel and other senior leaders had reached the venue to address the gathering.
The Madhesi Front had earlier issued warning asking the YAN not to organise the programme, saying that it would foil any attempt to honour the prime minister.
Madhesis, largely of Indian-origin, are agitating for the last five months in southern Nepal districts to oppose the new Constitution that divides the country into six federal provinces, claiming the federal structure incorporated in the new charter does not satisfy their demands.
Meanwhile, the talks between the protesting Madhesi groups and the government continued today with the agitating leaders and the Prime Minister holding a meeting here. But no agreement was reached at the meeting.
A top leader of the United Democratic Madhesi Front, the main group leading the protests, said that the two sides were at the same position they were earlier and no progress was made.
Madhesis, who share strong cultural and family bonds with Indians, demand demarcation of provinces, fixing of electoral constituencies on the basis of population and proportional representation. So far, over 50 people have died in the agitation.