Strike by ethnic minority paralyses life in southern Nepal

 Strike by ethnic minority paralyses life in southern Nepal Kathmandu- An indefinite general strike called by the ethnic Tharu community Wednesday paralysed normal life across the southern Nepalese Terai plains.

Protestors attacked vehicles and forced markets to shut down in over a dozen districts to impose the strike, polices said.

As a result, transport along the main highway linking eastern Nepal with the west and from Terai to the capital Kathmandu was interrupted, stranding thousands of passengers.

Markets, industries, educational institutions and offices also remained closed in most Terai districts.

In Chitwan district, about 100 kilometres south-west of Kathmandu, protestors set fire to a truck, accusing the driver of defying their strike, police said.

In Banke district protestors burnt tyres on the road and held demonstrations.

The umbrella body of the Tharu community, the Tharuhut Joint Struggle Committee (TJSC), called the strike to press the government to implement a six-point agreement reached last month.

The TJSC has accused the government of dragging its feet to implement the agreement.

Protests first erupted in February after the government listed Tharu as part of the Madhesi community that is dominant in the region for reserving of seats in government jobs.

The ethnic group has objected to the government classification, saying they did not share similarities with ethnic Madhesis.

The removal from the Madhesi ethnic community would give the Tharu a greater share of reserved jobs and political sway.

The Terai plains are a narrow strip of fertile land that runs along the entire country along the Indian border.

Most of Nepal's industries are based in the region that also produces more than half of country's agricultural products. (dpa)