For the record (22 Jan): The Banda continued. Two boys killed in Lahan.
Normal life in the city was disrupted and people had to walk, like these women with a kid in Koteshwor, because of banda. Pics by Wagle
In an IM conversation yesterday afternoon, an American girl who was here in Kathmandu a few weeks ago had asked me the latest from the city. “Everything is fine,” I had replied. “Traffic is okay. No rallies.” I went to New Baneswor half an hour after that and saw a protest rally of Madhesis. Traffic was disturbed but not as badly as today. Yes, after posting these lines, I will have to walk to office, a job that I don’t really like though I love walking.
The National Federation of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs have called an indefinite traffic strike (chakka jam) today to protest the torching of public vehicles in Lahan on Friday (19 Jan). Once journalist Bijay Kumar talked about difficulties in predicting Nepali politics. As the editor of Nepal Magazine that had to be in press almost a week ahead of publication date, he faced a peculiar challenge: to make the magazine seemed like produced just a day before by writing in such a way that even if the context is changed, the write-up remains fresh and up to date. He became successful in almost all issues but it’s indeed hard to predict the political and other developments in today’s Nepal. The trend of creating anarchy and take advantage of such situation has increased over the past several months. There is a kind of planned competition to exploit the situation. You never know what’s going to happen when. Anyone can call a Nepal banda any time. General public has to face the difficulties caused by such prompt and unnecessary decisions. Public have always become the victim of such bandas in the past. What can they do other than quietly suffer? –Wagle
There were hardly any four wheelers on the street today but I saw several motorcycles. Bikers faced assault and foul words from arrogant drivers and other staffs of buses who were supporting the banda and were active in disrupting the vehicular movement in key sections of different streets. Bus staffs, like the man on right, were particularly unhappy with young motorcycle riders. “You guys ask too much money if our bus hits you,” said an angry man. “And now you are disobeying our call for banda and riding bike? Return to where you came form or I will blow the tires of your bikes.”
The organizers/supporters of today’s traffic banda were rude and assaulted the motorbike wallas. Here is what I saw in Koteshwor. After all, every dog has his day.
In previous Nepal bandas, these transport entrepreneurs and bus staffs were one of the most affacted groups. Today, they were one who were stopping vehicles from playing on the street.