Demonstrators have blocked two of the main border crossings from India, shutting off vital supply lines

Demonstrators have blocked two of the main border crossings from India, shutting off vital supply lines

Demonstrators had blocked two of the main border crossings from India, shutting off vital supply lines.

The protesters, who belong to ethnic groups from the southern lowlands, say the new constitution marginalises them.

Clashes between police and protesters have seen more than 40 people killed since August.

Five protesters were detained when police removed them and the tents they had pitched on the bridge between custom check points of the two countries, police official Hobindra Bogati told the Associated Press news agency.

He said more than 200 trucks and other vehicles had crossed from Birgunj in Nepal to Raxaul in India and more were lining up.

But, on the Indian side, thousands of trucks have not been able to cross over to Nepal for almost two months.

There were conflicting reports on the police crackdown on the protesters.

One report said the police raided the protesters’ camp early on Monday when they were still sleeping, removed their tents, and lined up the trucks to leave Nepal. There were no reports of any clashes or violence, police said.

However, some protesters said the police had baton charged them and used force to remove the blockade.

“Police beat up demonstrators this morning and burned down our tents, forcibly opening the border to allow trucks to move across,” Shiva Patel, general secretary of a regional party participating in the blockade told the AFP news agency.

Reports said the trucks bringing fuel and other goods to Nepal were still blocked by Indian custom officials.

The NDTV news channel said that there “is no word so far on whether trucks from India will be able to cross into Nepal”.

Some minority ethnic groups are unhappy with the new constitution, which creates a federal system they fear will see them under represented in parliament.

BBC

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