Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who recently quit the UCPN-Maoist and went to Janakpur to address a mass assembly, had to witness a stern protest from cadres of Madhesi parties on Tuesday afternoon.
The protesters vandalised the stage and set it on fire after Bhattarai cut short his speech and was escorted out from the stage amid hullabaloo. He, however, addressed the gathering at Gopal Dharmashala for about 10 minutes amid protests. Black flags were planted at the stage also.
The protesters beat up leader Ram Chandra Jha and manhandled with UCPN-Maoist leader Ram Kumar Sharma. Both are Bhattarai’s supporters.
It has been said that Bhattarai was protested as he did not show readiness to burn the new Constitution despite his alleged commitment to do so.
The protesters forced Bhattarai to flee the venue and chased him up to Janakpur Airport. Security personnel had to struggle hard to escort him to the airport.
Several tear gas shells were lobbed to disperse the protesters outside the airport, while at least seven protesters were injured in lathi charge.
As he was greeted with booing for addressing in Nepali, Bhattarai switched to Hindi.
In his speech, Bhattarai said he came to Janakpur to bridge the gap between Kathmandu and Madhes region.
Making it clear that he did not come to Janakpur to burn the Constitution, he said the amendments should be made in the new charter to ensure the Madhesh’s rights. “I am of the opinion that the rights of Madhesis, Tharus and Janajati that are amiss should be included in the Constitution.”
He criticised his former party UCPN-Maoist and its Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal saying they have betrayed the Madhesi, Janajatis and Tharus.
He expressed his solidarity to the ongoing agitation in the Tarai-Madhes region.
Bhattarai, who arrived in Janakpur, has returned to Kathmandu.