Forest guards beat up three women for entering forest to collect grassThe local women had entered Madhuban Forest in Kolhabi Municipality-8 in Bara on Sunday to collect grass when five forest guards assaulted them.
Three women from Kolhabi Municipality-8 in Bara were brutally beaten by forest guards on Sunday. The women had entered the Madhuban Forest to collect grass for fodder.
30-year-old Harka Maya Khadka, 28-year-old Hem Kumari Shrestha and 33-year-old Sita Shrestha have accused five forest guards of manhandling them and beating them.
On Monday, the victims’ families and locals protested outside the District Police Office and the District Administration Office in Kalaiya demanding action against the guards.
“We had gone to cut grass in the forest two kilometres from our settlement, Naya Basti,” Harka Maya told the Post. “When the forest guards found us, they started attacking me.”
“I was brutally beaten for entering the forest,” said Harka Maya. “My friends—Hem Kumari and Sita—came to save me. They too were beaten by the guards.”
The District Forest Office admits that the guards beat up the women on Sunday for entering the forest. “The locals are banned from entering the forest area but the three women did not comply with the rules. They were caught cutting saplings inside the forest,” Binod Singh, chief of the district forest office, told the Post.
According to Harka Maya, when the victims approached the Area Police Office in Kolhabi to file an FIR, the police refused to lodge the FIR. “They instead asked us to settle the matter amicably with the forest administration. That’s why we had to go to Kalaiya to protest in front of the authorities,” she said.
The District Forest Office and the local administration have, however, only promised to take departmental action against the forest guards. “But we want the police to initiate legal action against the guards for the physical abuse they inflicted on us,” she said. “We want to file an FIR for an attempt to murder charge against the guards but the police say that the case is that of harassment.”
Anup Subedi, ward chair of Kolhabi-8, said that he is aware of the Sunday incident. The guards used batons to beat up the women, he said. “They have suffered injuries from the beating. The police must take action against the guards.”
According to him, the forest guards were from the Forest Sector Unit Office located north of Bodhban Machhagaon, which falls under the Madhuban Forest Sector Office in Ward 5.
“The victims told me that the forest guards were in a group of five—three in civil dress with a face cover and two in uniform,” Subedi said. “Those in civil dress were forest guards Ram Tapasya Sah, Pradeep Sharma and Dhal Bahadur Karki. They were the ones who manhandled the women.”
The guards fled the incident site soon after, he added.
Singh, chief of the district forest office, says that the guards resorted to physical abuse because the women were flouting the rules. “The guards have made a mistake. I have recommended departmental action against them.”