Curfew in Letang following death of police constable in a clashThe constable was stabbed in the neck as a mob of locals, gathered at a school in Morang where a girl student had accused a teacher of sexual harassment, clashed with police.
The Morang District Administration Office has issued an indefinite curfew order in and around Kherwa of Letang beginning 7am on Monday following a violent clash that took the life of a police constable on Sunday.
Police constable Urmila Shrestha, who was deployed at Shiksha Bikas Secondary School in Kheruwa on Sunday to arrest a teacher accused of sexually harassing a girl student, was stabbed with a sharp weapon during the clash with an irate mob of locals.
Shrestha, originally from Khotang, succumbed to her injuries. She had joined the police force on July 20, 2019 and is survived by her husband, police constable Navin Shrestha from Triyuga in Udayapur district. Her brother and sister-in-law are also in the police force.
Chief District Officer of Morang Kashiraj Dahal on Sunday informed that Shrestha died of stab injuries to her neck.
“Constable Shrestha died in a mob attack while trying to arrest the accused,” he said. “She was stabbed in the neck with a sharp object, likely a knife.”
“An indefinite curfew order has been issued until further notice,” said Dahal. “Further orders will be issued after reviewing the situation.”
A 12-year-old girl had informed the school administration on Sunday that a 56-year-old Social Studies teacher came to her house on Friday, during the festival of Holi, and sexually assaulted her.
According to former principal of the school Dilli Ojha, this is not the first time the teacher has been accused of sexual harassment. Ojha said the suspect had sexually harassed a school girl six years ago as well. The school management committee had forgiven him after he was asked to refrain from such behaviour in the future.
“The locals are angry since cases of violence against girls have increased in the area of late,” said Ojha. “Only a month ago, a 13-year-old girl was raped and killed in Letang-8.”
Following the victim’s complaint, a meeting between teachers and guardians was called at the school premises. The meeting decided that the accused be handed over to the police for further action. The teachers had called the police to the school premises fearing mob violence against the accused.
According to San Bahadur Angdembe, a school employee, a policeman had reached the school on a motorcycle at around 1pm on Sunday to take the accused to the Area Police Office. “But the policeman returned without taking the accused after sensing trouble on the school premises. A police team arrived at the school soon after,” said Aangdambe.
At around 9pm, the accused teacher was put in a vehicle by the police. Some police personnel were walking ahead of the vehicle to clear the path. “The violent clash erupted as the police personnel attempted to take the accused teacher to the police post. The locals were trying to attack the accused by taking him under control,” said Aangdambe. Shrestha was among those clearing the path when the mob manhandled her and stabbed her.
The police, in an effort to take control of the situation, fired a few shells of tear gas and bullets in the air.
Shrestha was taken to Koshi Hospital for treatment but was pronounced dead on arrival on Sunday, said Province Police Chief DIG Arun Kumar BC.
“The body of the deceased was handed over to her family for final rites on Monday,” BC said “The body was cremated in Udayapur.”
The situation at the school premises and its surrounding areas remained tense throughout the day on Sunday.
According to CDO Dahal, a total of 28 people, including 16 police personnel, have sustained injuries and are receiving treatment at various hospitals across the district.
Meanwhile, nine people were arrested on Monday in connection to the case and investigation is underway, informed Dahal.