Bardiya residents continue protest following death of teenager in clash with policeAn 18-year-old girl died of bullet wounds on Monday when police opened fire at protesters seeking protection from wildlife attacks.
Residents of Madhuban Municipality in Bardiya continued their protest for the second consecutive day on Tuesday after an 18-year-old girl died of bullet wounds during Monday’s clash with the police.
On Monday, Madhuban locals obstructed the Gulariya-Rajapur road section of the Postal Highway demanding protection from wild animals after Asmita Tharu, 41, of Sonaha in Madhuwan-2 of the district got injured in a tiger attack while collecting firewood the same day.
During their protest on Monday, the locals demanded commitment from the forest chief and the chief district officer to control wildlife menace in the area. A clash occurred between security personnel and the local residents during the protest, following which police personnel lobbed tear gas shells and opened fire. Nabina Tharu, 18, of Madhuwan-2 got hit by a bullet and died during the course of treatment at a hospital.
As many as 20 security personnel and one civilian, Rakesh Chaudhary, were also injured in the clash. The injured are currently receiving treatment at Nepalgunj Nursing Home.
On Tuesday, scores of people from different villages arrived at Orali Bazaar in Madhuban Municipality to protest the teenager’s death and underscore their demand for protection from wild animal attacks.
Bastola informed that security personnel were not present in the protest site on Tuesday to avoid untoward incidents.
“We, however, deployed police personnel in the neighbouring areas to maintain peace and security,” said Bastola.
Following the incident, the Home Ministry on Tuesday formed a committee to probe into the teenager’s death. According to a statement from the ministry, the committee is headed by Joint Secretary Hari Prasad Ghimire.
The Ghimire-led committee has been asked to submit its report within seven days.
Incidents of wildlife attacks along the Khata Bio-Corridor in Madhuban Municipality have been on a rise for the past few years. Tiger attacks alone have claimed the lives of nine people along the bio-corridor in the last three years.
According to local residents, 13 days prior to the attack on Asmita Tharu, Kaushika Pal, another local woman, had also sustained injuries in a tiger attack in the bio-corridor. The 49-year-old woman was grazing her goats in the Janajagriti Community Forest when the tiger attacked her.
An all-party meeting held at Madhuban Municipality on Tuesday concluded serious negligence on the part of the police administration in dealing with Monday’s protest. Participants in the meeting accused the police of blindly firing at the protesters.
CPN (Maoist Centre) leader Suresh Panth, who was at the meeting, said that action will be taken against those who gave orders to open fire at the protesters.
“We have urged the government to compensate the family of Nabina Tharu, who was killed during the protest,” said Panth, “Likewise, the government will bear all treatment costs of Chaudhary, the civilian who sustained bullet injuries in Monday’s protest.”
The meeting also decided that the government will bear the treatment cost of Asmita Tharu, who was injured in the tiger attack on Monday.
Likewise, the meeting has decided to manage the human-wildlife conflict, monitor tiger movements and secure human settlements, among other long term solutions to the crisis, by coordinating with the province, centre, national park and forest division office, among other stakeholders.