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Nepali police remove protestors from key border crossing with India

Officials have said the standoff has ended, allowing trucks to enter India to bring supplies back to Nepal. The protests have caused major fuel shortages in the country for over a month.

More than 200 trucks were allowed to cross the border into India on Monday after Nepali authorities cleared a protest site that had left the vehicles stranded since September 24.

Police officials said five protestors had been arrested in the border region that also serves as the key transit point linking the Nepali capital of Kathmandu with neighboring India. While the empty trucks were finally allowed to cross into India, authorities said trucks carrying fuel and other supplies are still being prevented from entering Nepal.

Historically, Nepal has gotten most of its fuel from India, but ongoing protests in Nepal - which have left more than 40 people dead - brought a halt to trade between the two countries, plunging Nepal into a major fuel crisis and forcing its government

to turn to China for assistance

.

Fueling tension

Behind the protests are the Madhesi and other ethnic groups, who have cried out against the country's newly adopted constitution, which they claim deprives them of a significant role in the government. Some Nepalese have accused India, which has close cultural ties with the Madhesi, of playing a role in the blockade, though New Delhi has denied such claims.

The conflict has frayed relations between India and Nepal, though on Sunday Nepali authorities said they had made some headway with representatives of the Madhesi.

The ethnic group has lashed out at a proposal to divide the Himalayan country into seven states or provinces, believing such a move will further disempower its people. The violence began in August, well before the constitution was formally adopted in late September, and has continued virtually unabated since.

blc/kms (AP, Reuters, AFP)

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