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KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Violent protests against a proposed new constitution intensified in Nepal's southern plains on Wednesday with demonstrators attacking police who shot dead at least four people, officers said.
Nepal, which emerged from civil war in 2006, is in the final stages of preparing a new constitution that would carve the country of 28 million people into seven federal provinces.
Many people in Nepal's southern plains bordering India oppose the plan which would split their narrow region and merge the pieces into larger provinces with other ethnic groups.
Thirty people have now been killed since the draft constitution was unveiled last month.
Three demonstrators were shot in the town of Jaleswor in Mahottari district, 100 km (60 miles) southeast of Kathmandu, after a police post was attacked by thousands of protesters armed with sticks and stones, police official Saurav Rana said.
Hundreds of demonstrators armed with catapults clashed with police in the nearby Saptari district, where a fourth protester was shot dead, police official Sisir Karmacharya said.
Proponents of the new constitution say it is needed to increase political stability and boost economic development in the Himalayan nation, still reeling from two devastating earthquakes that killed 8,900 people this year.
Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Robin Pomeroy