Dipayal High Court upholds life imprisonment verdict of seven of 11 individuals implicated in the Tikapur incidentThe high court overturned the life imprisonment term of four individuals to a 5-year prison sentence while Laxman Tharu, who was sentenced to a 3-year prison term, will now serve a life imprisonment sentence.
Dipayal High Court on Thursday upheld the verdict of life imprisonment given by Kailali District Court to seven individuals including Resham Lal Chaudhary in connection with the 2015 Tikapur incident in which nine people were killed in a violent clash.
While the high court overturned the sentences of four individuals, it issued a life imprisonment sentence to one Laxman Tharu, who was earlier given a three-year prison term by the district court.
Resham Lal Chaudhary is the main accused in the Tikapur incident that erupted on August 17, 2015 after a decision to put Kailali district in one province along with other seven hill districts. Tharus of Kailali opposed the decision. The protest, largely branded the Tharuhat movement, led by Resham Lal Chaudhary in Kailali was part of a larger movement that was going on for months in several districts along the plains against what they called Kathmandu’s conspiracy to discriminate a large section of the population of the Tharus, Madhesis and Janajatis.
As the Tharuhat protest continued, the local administration issued a prohibitory order.
On August 24, 2015, the Tharuhat group called for breaching the prohibitory orders. Protesters and police clashed, and nine people including a senior police official and a child were killed.
On September 15, 2015, police filed murder charges against Resham Lal Chaudhary and others.
Resham Lal Chaudhary went into hiding. But when elections took place in 2017, the Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal fielded him from Kailali-1. He won with a huge margin despite being in hiding.
On 3 January, 2019, he was sworn in as a member of the federal parliament. He is currently in Dilli Bazaar Prison in Kathmandu.
The Kailali District Court on March 6 handed down a life sentence to 11 people including Resham Lal Chaudhary.
On Thursday, a division bench of the high court senior judges Tek Narayan Kunwar and Sitaram Mandal upheld the life imprisonment sentence issued by the district court in March 2019 of seven of the 11 individuals.
As per the verdict, now, along with Tharu, Resham Lal Chaudhary, Hari Narayan Chaudhary, Pradip Chaudhary, Bir Bahadur Chaudhary, Rajesh Chaudhary, Sitaram Chaudhary and Gangaram Chaudhary will serve a life imprisonment sentence.
Meanwhile, the life imprisonment sentence of Sundarlal Kathariya, Brij Mohan Chaudhary, Rajesh Chaudhary, and Raj Kumar Kathariya given by the district court was overturned by the high court. They will now serve a five-year prison term, as per the latest verdict.
Likewise, the high court also overturned the district court’s three-year sentence of Sangam Chaudhary, Dil Bahadur Chaudhary and Jit Bahadur Chaudhary and issued a 10-year prison sentence to them. The trio had pleaded guilty to wielding weapons during the Tikapur incident.
Also, the high court has added a two-year prison term on top of the three-year prison sentence issued by the district court to Ram Prasad Chaudhary, Santaram Chaudhary, Kisanlal Chaudhary and Prem Bahadur Chaudhary.
The high court also upheld the three-year prison sentence of Chunniram Chaudhary, Lahuram Chaudhary and Ram Kumar Kathariya and the six-months sentence of Karan Chaudhary, a juvenile implicated for the crime.
Bishram Chaudhary, who was sentenced to serve a three-year prison term by the district court, has been cleared of charges.