Kathmandu\'s residents poured out into the streets with a vengenace as a day-and-night on Friday curfew was lifted for three hours at six in the evening.
But that was enough for the political party activists who are still free to launch torch rallies and announce that the mammoth rally they had planned for friday will now be held on Saturday. Question is how how long is the government going to keep on extending the curfew with looking like it is unable to control the situation?
The home ministry confirmed more than 200 party cadre and activists have been detained and held on charge of violating the curfew order and trying to create obstacles in the streets. The government has maintained that the curfew had been imposed fearing infiltration by the Maoists of the parties' demonstrations.
After the rebels attacked Kathmandu valley on 14 January leaving 12 policemen dead, curfew had been imposed every night. The daytime curfew on Friday brought life to standstill within Ring Road of Kathmandu and Lalitpur. Many people trying to enter Kathmandu Valley by bus were stranded at places like Thankot. The government has kept senior leaders of the opposition under house arrest. NC president Girija Prasad Koirala and UML General Secretary Madhab Kumar Nepal were handed over house arrest warrants this morning.
Around half a dozen other leaders of the main parties have also been kept under house arrest. The parties say the government\'s over-reaction shows it is running scared about the growing people's support for the pro-democracy demonstrations. "It has become clear that government has admitted its defeat and we take the curfew as our victory," Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh KC said.
The government has argued that curfew and prohibition on protests are meant to maintain law and order. "We have taken all these measures because we have information that the Maoists have infiltrated the parties' protest programs," Home Minister Kamal Thapa said.