We haven’t been sharing this news with anyone since we were not sure how things were going to turn out (nor did we want to worry anybody). But since we heard about the latest terrorist attacks in India, our minds and thoughts have been distracted lately.
Since we have arrived in Nepal, the country has experienced three large-scale public bandas (protests), mostly centered in the capital city of Kathmandu. These protests are in response to the two separate kidnappings and eventual murders of 3 Nepali students and 2 youths.
Online link: Nepalese strike against killing (BBC)
Bandh’s have also resulted in various major road blocks and interruptions throughout the city in hopes to pressure the government to act and to punish those that were responsible. However, it seems like there has been little progress and it feels like there will be more bandh’s (and related events) to come.
All businesses are to respect the Banda and thus must close for the day. Any businesses that do not comply are reprimanded which sometimes includes boycotts, forced closures or even violence by protesters. I heard one story about a local bus that continued to operate and was pulled over by protesters. All occupants were forced to vacate and the bus was eventually toppled over and torched. I have also heard about various vehicles being damaged (including a UN vehicle) and various brawls between youth groups.
Regarding our safety, we were strongly encouraged to stay within our neighbourhood and to avoid major roads. Personally, I think it is unlikely that anything will happen to us even if we decide to venture outside our zone (which we often did). However, during any unpredictable situations, anything can happen.