8 killed in Tikapur clashAt least eight people when demonstrators protesting against proposals for administrative reform clashed with police in Tikapur of Kailali district
At least eight people, mostly security personnel including a Senior Superintendent of Police, and a two-year-old boy died when demonstrators protesting against proposals for administrative reform clashed with police in Tikapur of Kailali district on Monday. Scores of others were injured in the incident.
The death toll could rise as casualties on the protesting side are yet to be ascertained.
SSP Laxman Neupane, the chief at Seti Zonal Police Office, Inspector duo Balaram Bista and Keshav Bohara, head constable Laxman Khadka and constable Lokendra Chanda of Nepal Police were killed in the
incident. Similarly, senior head constable Lalit Saud and constable Ram Bihari Chaudhary of Armed Police Force (APF) died in the clash. Two-year-old Tek Bahadur Saud, the son of APF’s senior head constable, succumbed to bullet injuries.
Forty-three security personnel of Nepal Police and the APF and three protesters are receiving treatment in Tikapur Hospital. According to doctors involved in the treatment, most of the injured policemen have sustained spears, sharp weapons and slingshots.
Dr Narendra Kumar Khanal at Tikapur Hospital said seven of the injured are in critical condition and that preparations are on to airlift them to the Capital.
Chief District Officer (CDO) Raj Kumar Shrestha said the incident occurred as a horde of Tharuhat activists took to the street defying prohibition order.
The local administration has clamped curfew during night and prohibition order at day time for the past four days.
According to witnesses, the violent clashes ensued as the security personnel tried to stop the enraged protesters marching towards Tikapur defying the prohibition order. Thousands of protesters, wielding axes, spears, khukuris, sickles, catapults, from various villages gathered in Tikapur where they encircled the security personnel and assaulted them.
“About 4,000 demonstrators were marching towards Tikapur from Manuwa VDC where the incident took place,” CDO Shrestha said, adding that security had been stepped up in the area for the past few days. “But the tragic incident took place as the huge mass beyond our expectations attacked the security personnel.”
The protesters were dispersed after 5pm and curfew have been clamped in the area, according to CDO Shrestha.
A huge number of security personnel, including Nepal Army, have been deployed in the area and the situation is under control now.
The clashes ensued at Pashuhat Bazaar in Tikapur and Durgauli Bazaar in Durgauli at around 2:30pm. The protesters thronged into the area from three sides.
The security personnel, however, dispersed the demonstrators coming from the north.
According to the locals who witnessed the incident, thousands of protesters gathered in Tikapur.
Tension escalated in the area as the supporters of Tharuhat and undivided Far-West clashed in Durgauli on Friday. Some shops and office of Tharu Kalyankarini Sabha were vandalised.
According to CDO Shrestha, an agreement was reached between the rival groups on Sunday to exercise restraint and not to threaten social harmony. “But the agreement was breached,” he said.
The Tharuhat Struggle Committee has enforced banda in various places of western Tarai districts, including Kailali, Kanchanpur, Banke, Bardiya, Dang, Kapilvastu, Rupandehi for the past two weeks protesting the six-state federal setup. They have been further dissatisfied as their demand was not addressed by the seven-state federal model.
Tharuhat activists have been demanding a province comprising areas with sizable Tharu population.
The protesters want to include Kailali and Kanchanpur districts in the proposed Province 5 from Province 7.