Police shoot protester while clearing Nepal fuel blockade
Police cleared a protest blockade across the Nepalese-Indian border today, when protesters attacked them near the city of Birgunj. The blockade had been cutting off supplies of fuel and other goods since August.
An Indian protester was shot in the head and subsequently died according to the BBC. The dead protester was was Ashish Kumar Ram, from Raxaul in the Indian state of Bihar, local officials said.
The protesters were mainly ethnic Madhesis from the country's south. They believe Nepal's new constitution discriminates against them and denies them equal standing with other Nepalis.
Earlier on Monday the police burned tents and charged protesters in an effort to move the blockade from a bridge near Birgunj. It's believed that four police and 11 protesters sustained injuries from the clashes.
The Home Ministry spokesman Laxmi Dhakal said two Indian nationalists had been arrested after attacking police, who were removing tents.
The ongoing fuel crisis in Nepal has been escalating since August. The blockades have stopped tanks, cars, and trucks from attempting to cross the border, causing major traffic cues that extend for miles and exacerbating reconstruction efforts after Nepal's deadly earthquakes. Restaurants and homes are running out of fuel to cook with and there's a scarcity of medical supplies.
The crisis has prompted authorities in Kathmandu to accuse Indian officials of backing the demonstrators. New Delhi has denied any backing and encouraged the Nepalese government to enter into negotiations with protesters who have close ties to Indians living across the border.