Team formed to hold talks with government regarding Tikapur incidentTharuwan/Tharuhat Rashtriya Morcha says it will continue their movement until the government releases all prisoners connected to Tikapur incident and withdraws false cases filed against them.
A meeting of the families of convicts and other accused of the Tikapur incident held under the chairmanship of Tharuwan/Tharuhat Rashtriya Morcha’s coordinator Laxman Tharu has formed a team to hold talks with the government regarding the 2015 Tikapur incident and its repercussions.
Organising a press meet at Hasuliya in Kailali district on Friday, Laxman Tharu, the central coordinator of the front, informed of the formation of a six-member talk team led by Resham Chaudhary, who is serving his term in Dilli Bazaar Prison in Kathmandu. Other members of the team are Laxman Tharu, Ram Prasad Tharu, Chuniram Tharu, Bina Chaudhary and Yamuna Chaudhary. All of them are convicted by the court in connection with the Tikapur incident in which nine people were killed in a violent clash.
“We have formed a talk team as the government seems willing to sit down for discussions with the Tharu community. However, we have one condition—the talks should be held outside the prison with the participation of Resham Chaudhary,” said Laxman. He said the front is ready to hold discussions regarding the release of the prisoners and that the government should withdraw “false” cases filed against Tharu people in connection with the Tikapur incident. The meeting held on Friday also decided to appeal at the Supreme Court by April 2.
Resham Chaudhary was the main accused in the August 17, 2015 Tikapur (Kailali) incident that took place following the government’s decision to put Kailali district in one province along with seven other hill districts. The Tharus of Kailali opposed the decision and took to the streets to protest.
The protest, largely branded the Tharuhat movement, led by Resham Chaudhary in Kailali was part of a larger movement that was going on for months in several Tarai districts against what they called Kathmandu’s conspiracy to discriminate against a large section of the Tharu, Madhesi and Janajati population.
As the Tharuhat protest continued, the local administration in Kailali 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.
Resham Chaudhary went into hiding after the Tikapur incident. But when elections took place in 2017, the then Rastriya Janata Party-Nepal fielded him from Kailali-1. He was elected to the House of Representatives with a huge margin despite being in hiding. In January last year, he was sworn in as a member of the federal parliament.
Seven people, including Resham Chaudhary, are now serving jail terms in connection with the Tikapur incident. The High Court in Sudurpaschim Province convicted 18 people guilty regarding the incident.
“The verdicts of the Kailali District Court and the High Court were injustice to the Tharus. We have now decided to go to the Supreme Court,” said Laxman Tharu, adding that the meeting also issued a month-long ultimatum to the government to release the prisoners and withdraw false cases filed against them. “We are seeking a solution through talks, legal process and political pressure. But the government should face the consequences if it is not sincere about the issue.”
Tharu said they would continue with their movement until all the cases in connection to the Tikapur incident were withdrawn.
“We want Nepali Congress, Janata Samajbadi Party and CPN (Maoist Centre) to take initiatives to release Resham Chaudhary and others from the prison and withdraw the false cases. But we don’t want any party to take the issue as a ladder to join the government,” said Laxman Tharu. He asked the parties not to link the Tikapur incident to form or topple the government.