Even peaceful Sherpas are now in movement mode, ‘attack’ Phaplu airport

Picture source: Onlinekhabar

They may be renowned for their Buddhism-inspired peaceful way of life and indomitable mountaineering skills, but the current political unrest in Nepal is so contagious that even the otherwise friendly Sherpas are now on the cusp turning violent.

Sherpa protesters today brought six alpine districts of Nepal to a complete standstill and attacked an airport, reports said.

There have been reports protesters tried to ‘attack’ Phaplu airport in Solukhumbu, a district tourists from across the world throng to for the breathtaking beauty of its trekking trails and of course, the majestic Mt Everest.

Protesters demanding a separate ‘Sherpa Province’ under the proposed new constitution of Nepal threw bottles at two Nepal Airlines Twin Otters parked at Phaplu airport, a Nepali-language online media said this afternoon. The planes had earlier landed at the rudimentary airport which sits at an elevation of 2413 metres above mean sea level.

Local media reported that the irate protesters threw bottles at the two planes from a street directly above the airport. It is noteworthy that the remote airport has no fence to keep trespassers away from the planes.

The bottles hurled by the mob, however, did not harm the planes, it is understood.

According to Onlinekhabar, locals were terrified during the protest because there were rumours someone had thrown a petrol bomb at the airport but it was dismissed by police inspector Kundan Dev.

The mountaineering ethnic group has been demanding a separate province made up of six districts – Solukhumbu, Okhaldhunga, Ramechhap, Dolakha, Sindhupalchowk and Sankhuwasabha. They are all high altitude districts of the South Asian nation.

A number of ethnic groups have been agitating in recent weeks resulting in the deaths of dozens of people including the ghastly lynching of 8 police officers and an 18 year old baby last month.

Although rest of the country has been paralysed with various movements demanding ethnicity-based provinces, this is the first time the tourist district has been hit hard by the general unrest that has gripped Nepal lately. Schools, colleges, financial institutions and transport came to a grinding halt today, local media reported.

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